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Work better on your auto repair business with this checklist

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 09:00
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Many shop owners truly have an issue with spending time daily alone in their office to work on their business. They are seemingly consumed with working in their business. I believe one reason for that is that they truly don’t know what to do with their time in the office. Therefore, they perceive it to be a waste of their time.

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Consider that “office time” should be all about “How do I make our business better and more productive than what it is today?” Consider that in order to answer that question fully, one must have another series of questions that help guide them to that ultimate answer(s).

Think about these questions to get you started. You may skim the questions and answer “No, that doesn’t apply to us,” but rethink each question in terms of one year from now; could the answer be “yes?” These are not questions that can be knocked off in one office session but may in fact take a couple of months to actually think about each one of them, one at a time and determine an answer that will truly move your business forward. Maybe even consider this list as your business “audit” to ensure the future will be prosperous for the company and everyone working with you in the company. Determine which questions could become a great staff meeting with the team so that there are encompassing solutions that everyone believes in and wants to be part of.

  1. We face increased competition and/or shrinking margins. What should we do and what will be the effect on the business?
     
  2. We need to better understand our target clients — who they are, why do they buy and what do they really want? What is our internal game plan to build a long-lasting, trustworthy relationship?
     
  3. We need to do a better job of creating and delivering compelling client value and experiences that will grab our target clients, clearly differentiate us and grow our bottom line. What do we need to fortify and how will we do it?
     
  4. We need to do more business with existing clients and attract new and profitable clients. Are we only measuring sales and car count or are we measuring billed hours per client?
     
  5. Some of our current and target clients may not be aware of all the value we offer. What do we need to bring to their attention?
     
  6. We don’t charge as much as we should, because of a lack of confidence in our value, or for some other reason. Define what is our specific problem — how are we going to fix that?
     
  7. We need to communicate our value story more effectively in a marketplace suffering from increased competition, consumer confusion, cynicism and communication overload.  How will we express ourselves to show we truly bring value to the table?
     
  8. We need to find innovative and affordable ways to promote our business in a market where traditional advertising is too expensive. What is the right plan for our business?
     
  9. We need to increase bottom-line profitability by at least __%.  What must become our key focus to achieve the result we desire?
     
  10. Our industry faces trust and image issues that we must overcome to create client confidence. What is our internal game plan?
     
  11. We’re under attack from offshore competitors, private label, or by new technologies that threaten our business. How do they affect the business and what would be the correct solution?
     
  12. We face regulatory or environmental restrictions or over-sight that make operating our business a challenge. How do we build additional costs into the business to overcome things we cannot control?
     
  13. We serve a shrinking or declining market and need to reinvent or relocate ourselves. What plan must we build?
     
  14. We need to find, motivate and retain top performers at every level of our shop. How are we going to do that and what are the results we expect?
     
  15. There’s a need to improve our focus and productivity. We need to create a culture of commitment and accountability, and we must deal more effectively with non-performance. Do we believe in accountability as an important part of our business culture?
     
  16. We need to train and develop our staff more effectively in order to grow the business and remain competitive. What courses are required and where and when are they going to be held?
     
  17. We need more clarity and consistency from the top. Is management fully accountable to the business?
     
  18. We need more effective and consistent implementation of our ideas, decisions and processes. Are our timelines realistic, and if not, what must be corrected?
     
  19. We need to create true two-way communication throughout our organization in a way that improves service, efficiency, innovation, profitability and employee satisfaction. What is wrong with our current communication and what must we do to correct it?
     
  20. We need a clearer vision for the future of our business and a plan to get us there. Will the plan have proper and accountable timelines?
     
  21. We do not have the working capital we need to operate or grow the business effectively. What must we do to achieve that and what is the timeline for results?
     
  22. Our industry and our market are changing quickly. Our current business model may not get us where we need to be. Thus, we need to redefine and/or reinvent some aspects of our business.  Are there specific courses we must take to clarify our industry and business knowledge? When and where will they be?
     
  23. There’s a lack of clarity about who will lead, manage and/or own our business in the future.  Do we have a proper succession plan in place, and if not, what must we do to insure the survival of the business?

After dealing with the above questions thoroughly, you will be in a position to address the next level of thinking.

I hope you now can see how valuable your time in your office can and will be. You are the owner and or manager of the business. Please make yourself accountable and earn your paycheck just like the rest of your team earns theirs.

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