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    • By Joe Marconi
      As shop owners, we sometimes feel that we need to answer every question and handle every situation. While you need to be proficient as a business owner, you also need your employees to think for themselves. 

      Empower your people to solve problem.  Ask them for their opinions and don’t be too quick to jump in on every situation.  The more you jump in and solve their problems, the more they will rely on you. This is not to say you don’t have their back; but a team functions best when everyone takes ownership of their position and takes responsibility to take care of problems.

      Will employees make mistakes? Yes.  But there isn’t a shop owner on this planet that has a perfect record at making decisions.  We all make mistakes.

      As a shop owner; teach, mentor and coach.  Include your employees in on decisions that relate to their job position.  When employees feel you trust them, they will begin to solve their own problems. This will set you free to work on the things that will bring you greater success.

    • By Joe Marconi
      A few weeks back I had a problem with my refrigerator.  I got a referral and called an appliance repair company. I called three times and each time I called this is what happened: "C and E appliance, please hold."  I was put on hold three times for about 5 minutes. After being put on hold each time, a women would say, "What's the problem?"  No engagement, no sign of interest for me the customer, no signs of caring.  I gave the women a brief description of the problem and each time she told me someone would call me back.  Well, no one did.
      So, I called for the 4th time, and as the person answered the phone I said, "DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD."  There was silence, so I continued.  I explained to her that she has spoken to me three times,  I left messages three times and three times you told me that someone would call me back.  She replied,  "You are talking to the wrong person, if you have any complaints, write a letter to my boss, after all he won't listen to me anyway."  I hung up the phone and called another company.
      The lesson and takeaway here is simple: Who's answering your phone?  The wrong people on the phone in your shop can kill your business.  Have meetings with your people. Make sure you review your phone skills policy. If you don't have one, create one.  Empower your people to people to handle issues. And make sure you log every phone call. If you feel you have a problem, start recording phone calls. 
      Your phone is your lifeline to future business.  So, please ask yourself....Who's answering your phone? 
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Shop production is a hot topic these days.  High production results in higher sales and profits.  But there seems to be so many obstacles to overcome to achieve high production levels.  
      I was discussing production with a few shop owners, and one shop owner mentioned that he recently hired a shop foreman; an “A” tech in his early 50’s.  The foreman uses his knowledge and skills to organize the work flow.  For younger techs, it’s even more important that they know how to work and keep productive.
      What are your thoughts?   Does anyone else have a foreman or similar position?  And how does this role affect production?
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      I am writing this on my last day of vacation in California, spending time with family. It took me a few days to totally relax, but made it a point to not look at emails or call the office.
      We all need downtime. I know there will be a ton of work to be done when I return, but I also know that the time away has recharged my batteries and I will be more productive.
      Being away from business and spending time with family puts things into proper perspective. You realize that a lot of the things you stress over, are really not as important as you think.
      Take time to enjoy life.  We all know how quickly time passes us by.   And remember, no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work.


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