In the year prior to making the decision to grow the business and construct an additional 4 bays, I did extensive research in learning about franchise businesses, quick lubes, national chains and also big businesses such as Disney, GE, Starbucks, McDonalds and others. I wanted to find out why these businesses have a higher percentage of success and growth, as opposed to so many general independent repair shops that seem to struggle and plateau after a few years.
I also visited many quick lubes and national chains to learn how they conducted business. I even took my car in for service at a few quick lubes and tire stores, without them knowing that I owned a repair shop. This experience was extremely enlightening and I advise all shop owners to do the same.
What I learned from my research was that all these business differ the traditional repair shop in many ways and that there are many similarities among franchises, quick lubes and tire stores. And these similarities are not just common to the auto industry but common to all successful businesses.
To be successful you need to have a plan, you need to have vision, you need to think like a businessperson, you need to market your business, you need to advertise, you need to create systems and you need to create policy that all in your company must follow. What I also learned is that the more consistent you become the more successful you become. This can only be achieved by creating systems that make your business more automatic and run without you. The more the business runs without you, the more profitable it becomes. If your business is dependent exclusively on you, your business will never grow.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that you need to be a leader and that great leaders can't do it alone. Leaders need great people around them to accomplish great things. I created a team of advisors within my company. This team consisted of my service advisor, shop foreman and lead tech. I also recruited the help from my two sons, a financial analyst and a graphic artist. Together, we created a new plan to expand and grow the business.