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2017 SUCCESS THREAD - Little disciplines makes great success.


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Happy New 2017!

 

I hope you have set your goals for 2017, if not, get working on them!

 

Every day take a step into achieving your goal, it is the simple positive habits that will make success show up at your door.

 

For example, if you wish more sales, choose to make 10 calls everyday, or send 10 letters or post cards. by the end of the week you will have achieved 50 calls or leads, your sells will soon show up.

 

Simple disciplines to success!

 

I begin by sharing with you a video of a presentation that has given me great happiness and success:

 

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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Social media, make it a point to post at least once a day on your social media pages. Post anything interesting that you have going on at your shop. Host a car clinic or any event that creates value and trust with your customers.

 

On another note, it is critical how you start your day, don't let anything negative poison your day. For example, you walk out of the house and step on dog poop, don't let that cloud your vision or attitude.

 

Remember the most precious commodity you have is your time! Don't spend it brooding.

 

So, do you calls, send your post cards, mail your specials.

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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Plan your day, don't entertain people that are time wasters, time sinks I call them. Don't procrastinate make a list and put the money making essential things first to get them out of the way.

 

Have a pleasant attitude, your shops reflect your attitude, your managers take their cues from you. You have to lead, and to lead effectively you have to make sure all that needs to be done is done.

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Time sinks are for real. I get so many distractions in a day. As a Midwesterner I feel obligated to speak with all my customers, visitors, and vendors. I find myself not able to get anything done too often. It isn't their fault, it's mine. Time to get control of it.

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Time sinks are for real. I get so many distractions in a day. As a Midwesterner I feel obligated to speak with all my customers, visitors, and vendors. I find myself not able to get anything done too often. It isn't their fault, it's mine. Time to get control of it.

 

I find a to-do list helpful to keep me on track. I plan my day the night before, I take a few minutes to visualize what I need to accomplish the next day and prioritize my list accordingly. At the beginning I would fail to consistently do this, but I stuck with it until the habit developed. Now it has become second nature.

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One thing that gets in the way of our success is when we fail to learn new ways to do things, to improve things, to keep up with new processes and technologies.

 

When learning something new, don't rush to judgment, learn with an objective mentality to see if what you know has become obsolete and a new more efficient way has been developed. Senior managers are set in their ways and often refuse to learn how technology has advanced, shutting out new ways to improve their shop's performance and efficiency.

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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Set aside time to read and catch up on the latest industry news, always keep in mind the most valuable resource you have is your time.

 

Having said that, Andy Fiffick has a nice article on the December 2016 edition of Motor Age concerning multi-shop ownership. Excellent points made regarding why there is more multi-shop ownership on the collision side of the industry than general repair.

 

http://images2.advanstar.com/PixelMags/motor-age/digitaledition/12-2016.html#26

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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Ok, end of the 1st week of 2017!

 

You should have 40 plus sales calls made. One very important thing that we fail to notice is that there is a lag time between any campaign's execution and its results.

 

For example, you run a billboard, it may take up to two weeks before you see your first lead from the date the billboard went up.

 

The same with your sales calls, it may take a few weeks for you to begin to see results.

 

Then there is the other side of the coin, a campaign that has been run for a while may grow stale and fail to produce satisfactory results. This is why it is important for you to keep track of your campaigns. You have to measure your results.

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Second week out of 52. Remeber tax season is just around the corner, the early filers should be getting their checks by February, if your shops are in a area that benefits from tax returns, you should be getting ready for the increase cash flow.

 

Make your calls, send your post cards, mail your letters... Plan, plan, plan, execute, execute, execute!

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They say that every 1,000 mile journey begins with the first step. Keep making your calls, sending your post cards, mailing your offers.

 

Lead by example. Many junior managers suffer from Impostor Syndrome, that is to say, they may feel like a fraud or not qualified to lead in the position that they are in.

 

You can search more on that on google for your own edification. Here is a link for reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

 

Anyways, the point is that Impostor Syndrome may prevent some of your junior people from pricing your jobs correctly, because it may lead them to under price your services.

 

Address this, and teach them that value has to be delivered to the customer with certainty and confidence, otherwise the customer may fear he is overpaying for the service.

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Middle of the second week, we are in the first 1/3 of winter. Keep reaching out to people, make friendly calls, send post cards, mail offers. Keeping consistent is the name of the game. Sometime soon you will notice your mind and body want to divert, your mind tells you to keep the course and your body will want to put it off. It's then that discipline comes in handy, little disciplines and positive habits helps you keep the course.

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In the shipping industry, UPS and FedEx consistently raise their prices every year, as you can see here:

http://imgur.com/FPaQB3x

http://imgur.com/FPaQB3x

FPaQB3x.jpg

 

 

You should consistently review your costs and increase your prices to stay profitable every year, this should have been done last quarter, but there is no better time like the present if you haven't done so now.

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As works is coming in make sure you don't drop the ball with your sales and maketing. If you want to avoid the seesaw of feast or famine you must stay consistent making your calls, sending your post cards, mailing your offers.

 

That way you avoid the lag in sales if you get busy and neglect your marketing while you are busy delivering your work.

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Third week of 2017, this is the last week of the first month of Winter. Plan your week, make your calls, send your post cards, mail your offers. Stop by some of the local businesses and get a feel for the mood, but don't let negative and toxic people affect your perspective, take it with a grain of salt, stick to your plan and meet your goals!

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The way to avoid the roller-coaster of feast or famine is to stay the course and not to neglect your marketing as you get busy with work. Prioritize, schedule the work as efficiently as you can, visualize the jobs and try to anticipate any snags that may lock a car onto a lift. For example if a car is getting a water pump done, does it require a gasket? Small things that can snag your process can be prevented with a little thinking ahead. Keep making you calls, sending your post cards, mailing your offers.

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Profit is not a four letter word, it is not a dirty word. Know your costs, as you are getting ready for tax season, this is an excellent time for you to review all your expenses and see where your money is going.

 

Pay yourself first, if you are a smaller shop that has set a goal of a net $20K profit after taxes, open an account and begin depositing $500 a week. Don't touch this money unless you really have to. Once you have got used to it, you will see that if you stay the course you will be netting your profit, even after paying yourself a full salary. Make it a habit.

 

Remember, don't buy yourself a job, own a business.

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Knowing your costs is CRITICAL. You must know your costs and where your money is being spent.

 

That is why working with numbers is very important.

 

Don't tell yourself you are not good at math. Mathematics is a learned skilled, and like any skill you become good at it with practice, practice, practice.

 

One thing that helped me work with numbers in my head, was understanding sequences, like a serial sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ..., or geometric 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 (exponential growth) or 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128...(decay) or logarithmic 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 10000.. you get the picture. If you can visualize this (google) sequences in you head, you can visualize growth and the growth of your business.

 

The same thing with markup and margin, learn percentages and how by moving the decimal point you can make quick calculations in your head.

 

Like I said, math is a skill and as with any skill you only become good at it with practice, practice, practice. Stay the course with your marketing, make your call, send your postcards, mail your offers.

 

Edit: just wanted to add, look for books that teach you how to work with numbers and do quick calculations in your head. Different people have ways of explaining the simple concepts that will make sense to you.

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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What does a businessman with employees know that others don't?

 

The responsibility of meeting payroll.

 

No bureaucrat knows what sacrifices a businessman makes in order to meet his payroll.

 

I think our new president is familiar with having to meet payroll, and I hope there are new incentives to help us create new opportunities to those that want to create wealth and value.

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Do not indulge lazy thoughts!

 

Keep a scratch notebook and learn to write down all the important information you need at one time, that way you don't have to keep making multiple calls to find out the relevant details you need.

 

Teach your SA to do the same, have them write down the complete customer's contact information including email, the type of car year make and model, engine, etc., and if the customer has the VIN and license number handy that too.

 

At the beginning of the day, make sure you write down the date on your notebook, that way you can reference back when looking for a particular date. Make this a habit, and do not entertain a lazy thought not to do it. Once you have mastered it, it becomes second nature.

 

With simple disciplines success is actualized.

 

The first month of winter is over tomorrow, next week we go into the second 2/3 of Winter, You should start thinking about your Spring marketing materials, also Valentine's day is coming up, you should have something buzz creating special, even a small contest for movie tickets, or a dinner and a movie with a restaurant you are comfortable working with.

 

Make your calls, send you post cards, mail your offers.

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You know, transportation companies have been making a distinction between passengers for a long time. Make sure you are billing premium services to those customers that can afford it. Also, don't price your loyal customers out of your shop.

 

Also, keep in my the old cliche, "No good deed goes unpunished." That's is to say, that lady you did some free work for, will come back to complain you didn't do a good job and wants a refund.

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February is six days away, if you are in an area that benefits from tax return money, you should be ready to get in touch with those customers that can benefit from your services. Review your records and reach out to those that have cars in need of maintenance or repair that declined due to lack of funds or a tough budget.

 

Many customers appreciate the call and use the funds wisely instead of wasting it in frivolous things.

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Planning ahead was a difficult skill for me to learn. Learning to play Chess helped a lot, but I still had to practice, practice, practice. After a while it becomes second nature and you begin to be able to see different solution to a problem.

 

Stay the course, keep with your marketing and practice planning ahead.

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Just getting over the flu. Even though I had the vaccine it didn't seem to have help me out this time around.

 

We had the best January ever in sales, we broke our all times sales per month.

 

Since going to $150 an hour we have had one or two complaints, no strong resistance, we are now into backlog territtory, one shop is running about a two week wait.

 

Remember, you cannot teach anyone anything new if they already know everything, so choose your people wisely. It is a losing proposition to keep people that are not willing to learn or adapt to the business requirements.\

 

Keep making your calls, sending your postscards, mailing your offers.

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Trying to catch up now. We have picked up several fleet accounts in the past month. Retail is doing great, and now we need to balance this work load.

 

Added supermarket adverizing to the mix, so we are going to see how this works out with the expected demographic.

 

Keep in mind, the little habits day by day gets you closer to your goal. If you don't set goals, you are navigating blind in this business ocean. A goal can be as simple as I want to double my profit in the next three months to I want to open a second shop by the end of the year.

 

Thinking ahead and planning will let you set your goals, and the little daily habits will get you there!

 

Make your calls, send your postcards, mail your offers!

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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This flu season hit my guys hard! We have had some guys out sick and demand for service is very strong. Some shops are trying to catch up with work and trying to keep up with their demand.

 

We had an excellent Valentine's sales numbers.

 

Keep at it, do your marketing, make your calls, send your offers. Stay the course.

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There are so many things that demand our time, we have to prioritize our task to achieve our set goals.

 

One thing I have been meaning to share with you is that if you can make some time, read the autobiography of Ben Franklin:

 

http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autobiography/page33.htm

 

For example, there is this passage that I like very much:

 

 

I soon after obtained, thro' my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable job, as I then thought it, small things appearing great to those in small circumstances; and these, to me, were really great advantages, as they were great encouragements. He procured for me, also, the printing of the laws and votes of that government, which continued in my hands as long as I followed the business.

I now opened a little stationer's shop. I had in it blanks of all sorts, the correctest that ever appeared among us, being assisted in that by my friend Breintnal. I had also paper, parchment, chapmen's books, etc. One Whitemash, a compositor I had known in London, an excellent workman, now came to me, and worked with me constantly and diligently; and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose.

I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was under for the printing-house. In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no places of idle diversion. I never went out a-fishing or shooting; a book, indeed, sometimes debauched me from my work, but that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal; and, to show that I was not above my business, I sometimes brought home the paper I purchased at the stores thro' the streets on a wheelbarrow. Thus being esteemed an industrious, thriving young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the merchants who imported stationery solicited my custom; others proposed supplying me with books, and I went on swimmingly. In the mean time, Keimer's credit and business declining daily, he was at last forced to sell his printing-house to satisfy his creditors. He went to Barbados, and there lived some years in very poor circumstances.

His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, having bought his materials. I was at first apprehensive of a powerful rival in Harry, as his friends were very able and had a good deal of interest. I therefore proposed a partnership to him, which he, fortunately for me, rejected with scorn. He was very proud, dressed like a gentleman, lived expensively, took much diversion and pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and neglected his business; upon which, all business left him, and, finding nothing to do, he followed Keimer to Barbados, taking the printing-house with him. There this apprentice employed his former master as a journey-man; they quarreled often; Harry went continually behindhand, and at length was forced to sell his types and return to his country work in Pennsylvania. The person that bought them employed Keimer to use them, but in a few years he died.

 

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If you are having issues with your service advisors selling and pricing your work, take them on a field trip to the retail auto parts stores and let them see the pricing on wipers, filters, and other consumables, then let them tell you why you should not make your gross margins.

 

And just to get it out of my system, PROFIT IS NOT A DIRTY WORD!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The first day of Spring is coming up, March 20. A/C Service Special, Cabin Filter and Pollen Prevention sales should be ready to be made.

Keep in mind, nothing happens in your favor if you don't plan for it. Plan, Plan, Plan, execute, execute, execute.

We are having an extremely good 1st quarter, and it has all the results from all the planning and hard work we did last year.

For those of you that run one man shops, it should be evident by now that your time is extremely valuable and you have to be very careful how you spend it to get the maximum benefit. Choosing the right support people or group is essential.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Tax return money is now on the street, your marketing should be paying off handsomely!

You should have your Spring special out there already, make a list and call those customers that need your services. Don't be shy, this is the time to prepare for Winter(Slow sales season). 

Keep in mind, you are trying to avoid the seesaw of feast or famine, keep your guys busy and well paid, use this time to pack the cash for the slow time of the year.

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3 hours ago, HarrytheCarGeek said:

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Tax return money is now on the street, your marketing should be paying off handsomely!

You should have your Spring special out there already, make a list and call those customers that need your services. Don't be shy, this is the time to prepare for Winter(Slow sales season). 

Keep in mind, you are trying to avoid the seesaw of feast or famine, keep your guys busy and well paid, use this time to pack the cash for the slow time of the year.

Definitely! Thanks for the reminder, those winter months were TOUGH

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday was the end of the 1st quarter of 2017.

We broke records in sales and in revenue. All that marketing has paid off. The majority of customers we have picked up came from dealer service centers that wanted a second opinion and let us do  the work. All of this thanks to a brilliant social media marketing campaign.

Remember, it is the small daily habits that determine your success.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I want to share this with you, but please do not take it as arrogance or bragging, that is not the intention of my post.

I have done a tremendous amount of work, as has my team, into improving our efficiency rate and sales. April 2017 is being the most successful month ever, shops that have averaged 70k to 80k in sales have double their sales this month.

We changed our strategy, we focused on the customer's needs and made it extremely convenient for them to do business with us. We only choose the customer that can afford us and is worth our effort to please them. We crossed into the other problem, our people are being overworked, and their monetary compensation is not worth the loss of time with their families. What and irony this is. 

Here is the bigger issue, my teams success is an anomaly, we are doing something different into a very difficult economy. In other words we have been going against the grain, which is really not sustainable. I see a lot of turmoil coming, new disruptive technologies, people lacking adaptation skill into this new coming environment. Many things that give me pause.

All I can say for now, we are living in very interesting times.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

We are doing extremely well this season, we are breaking all time records. I am conscious we are in the middle of tax return season and that is helping us keep the revenue rolling in, like shooting fish in a barrel. This is the time to save and cushion your reserves for the slow season. Try as much to avoid the feast or famine cash flow, stay marketing so you can keep your guys well employed.

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I am trying not to neglect this thread as the shops have me really busy. I wanted to share with you this: body-shop owners should be seeing recent model cars with the HFO-1234yf refrigerant, more so than independent repair, have your guys ready trained and knowledgeable. Make sure they are pricing the jobs right, and taking into account a premium for the new equipment you have to get. Also, don't let the insurance companies push you around, charge your jobs right. You should not subsidize their profits at your expense. 

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Our marketing strategy is working extremely well, all our shops are having record numbers. We have had to implement a technique from the medical field and have had to triage the incoming vehicles to provide the best service. I have had the competition stop in and ask why are we so busy, but we just tell them we don't know. What they wouldn't understand is the massive amount of research and planning we did before launching our strategy.

In another note, have you seen the new Toyota commercials touting their free maintenance plan? We are in for some interesting times with the incoming used vehicle glut and the manufacturer's pressure to keep their new car sales numbers.

Stay the course, keep reaching out to your profiled customers, keep delivering great value and make yourself indispensable in their car care needs.

June is coming, we should get some hot weather then that will bring in the air conditioner work, you should be prepared already, have your gauges cleaned, your a/c machines clean and ready to go, your supply stocked and your A/C tech up to date in their training. Your special should already be out the door, even though people will not pay attention until they are suffering in the heat.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Like expected, the little bit of heat we are having brought out the air conditioner work. Your Father's day special should already be in your customer's hands, and your Summer Special, Road Trip Specials should be heading out the door. Fourth of July is coming up, and all other air conditioner work offers should be clearly displayed for your customers. "Steady as she goes," says the Captain.

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  • 1 month later...

Last week's heat brought in a phenomenal amount of work, we made up more than the first two weeks of this month in a few days. Yes, the weather is affecting us, a heat wave would bring in a lot of cars that are basically running on rubber bands and bubble gum.

We are finding out that people are financially streched, except for the upper tier, they are spending money on the classics and customs like if there is no tomorrow. Being pro active and seeking out the work wins the day, so stay the course and keep mining your list.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         4
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
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      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
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