By Bob Cooper
I have found over the years that despite all their good intentions, there are 5 mistakes that most shop owners make not just sometimes, but every single day. The first mistake comes the very moment they walk through their door.
1. They forget to say two simple words. We all have tough days, and as business owners we have many of the same challenges our employees have. Yet when we come to work, we need to put all of our troubles aside, and smile. We’ve all heard that before, right? But what most shop owners fail to do is walk up to each employee, and while they still have that smile on their face, say; “Good morning!” Regardless of the size of your shop, you should greet every employee in the same heartfelt way you would if you just had one employee. Remember, it’s our responsibility to keep our employees inspired, it’s not their responsibility to inspire us.
2. They forget Job #1. In order to grow a successful business, you need to have clearly defined goals. This is why the most successful shop owners not only have their goals in place, but they break them down into monthly, weekly and daily goals. They then share those goals with all the relative employees, so that every day their advisors know their daily car count and sales goals, and their technicians know their daily efficiency goals.
3. They forget to catch their employees doing things right. Most shop owners catch their employees making mistakes, but unfortunately, they fail to catch them when they are doing things right. Regardless of whether it’s saying something as simple as, “Great job, Mike!”, or taking an employee aside to give them a heartfelt thank you for what they have just done, it’s critical to the success of every business. By praising positive performance at the time it occurs you’re reinforcing the behavior, and improving morale. As we all know, when morale improves, so does productivity.
4. They help… in the wrong ways. It’s the role of a shop owner to help their employees do their job well, but not to do their job for them. If a shop owner has a technical background, and one of their technicians runs into a problem, they will often jump in to help. Although their intentions are good, there is a better approach that’s used by our top clients at Elite. Simply put, they will lead their employees to the answer, rather than providing it to them. If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, yet if you teach him how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. It’s no different in business.
5. They try to be everything to everybody. Most shop owners have big hearts, and they want to help as many people as they can. Yet what they fail to realize is that they can never be everything to everybody. The top shop owners realize the people that want to supply their own parts, as well as the people that are looking for a discount or the lowest price, are more than likely not their customers. So while most shop owners try to be everything to everybody each and every day, the successful owners understand the value of telling some people that unfortunately, they’re unable to help them with their particular needs.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses.
By Bob Cooper