By Joe Marconi
The year was 1980 - the year I founded my company. And, like many new business owners, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was needed to grow a successful business. I thought that success would be determined by my technical skills and my willingness to wear the many hats of the typical shop owner. It wasn’t until I began to let go of trying to do everything that I realized that success is not just dependent on what I do, but by the collective work accomplished by the team. I eventually discovered that I was not the center of my universe. After a few years in business, I began the transition from simply owning a job to becoming a businessman. And, while technology has reshaped our industry throughout the years—and will continue to do so—there is one constant that will never change: success in business rests largely on the people you have assembled around you.
By the late '80s it was obvious that I was doing way too much. I looked at each role I had my hands on: shop foreman, service advisor, shuttle driver, bookkeeper to lot attendant. And, as long as I’m confessing all this to you, I need to disclose that I was also the shop’s maintenance person; making repairs to the bay doors, the slop sink and equipment. You name it, I did it. I was literally too busy to be successful.
In order to lead my company, I had to first clearly define my responsibilities. These are working on the business, recruiting and hiring the best employees, becoming a leader of people and making sure that my business was successful. I also needed to fulfill the obligation I had to my employees. I realized that this required a deep understanding that putting people first is the best strategy for success. This was difficult at first because it requires working on things that have no immediate impact on the business. Unlike working in the trenches and having your hands on everything, working as a businessperson means that you need to spend time building for the future. The things that are most important to your success in business are the things that have a payoff down the road.
I also clearly defined the duties I should not be doing and assigned those tasks to others. This is a critical step for any shop owner. Warren Buffett says that in order to be successful in whatever you do, it’s crucial to focus on the things that generates the greatest return and that you can’t do it all, and that means sometimes you have to say, “no.”
By the late '90s it became clear that the most valuable role I played in my business was that of coach. All the best marketing plans and the best business strategies mean nothing without a team of great people around you all pushing in the right direction. And that takes a strong leader. Not just a boss, but a leader. Leaders inspire people. Leaders get others to reach down deep inside themselves and perform at their best because they are aligned with the leader’s vision.
Leaders inspire others through praise and recognition for the work they do. When people feel their work matters, they have a purpose. People are motivated by the heart, not the wallet. That’s not to say earning a decent wage isn’t important. But a focus on money alone is not a strategy for success. Focus on people first and profit will follow.
Spend time with your employees. Get to know them as people, not just the role they have in your company. Find out what their dreams and goals are. And then find a way for others to achieve what they want out of life. People cannot be motivated until they realize that what they do every day helps them to achieve what they want in their personal life.
There are other people in our business world that we must never forget. And that’s our customers. If you were to ask me, who is more important, my employees or my customers? I would answer, “They are equally important.” You cannot have a successful business without the right employees and the right customers.
One last bit of advice I can give you is to focus on your success, no one else’s. Be very clear about the pathways you take and never forget about the obligation you have to others. Build a company culture of teamwork, quality and integrity. Focus on what’s in the best interest of the customer and the people around you. Put people first, and everything else will fall into place.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on February 4th, 2020
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It's that time of year again folks! VisionKC is coming up right around the corner.
And that means that the annual ASOG dinner is ramping up its registration efforts!
The dinner is open for all to attend, regardless of membership to ASOG and all proceeds go to the ASOG scholarship efforts!
ASOG will bring another lucky shop owner with 3 years or less in business to VisionKC. This will be the 3rd scholarship the group has provided, but it certainly won't be the last. We look forward to providing scholarships to events all over the country, and working to ensure scholarship winners are given the tools and paths needed to succeed.
Jacob and Lacey Bunyard were last year's winners - when we met Jacob and Lacey things were tough! It wasn't just the business that was suffering, through the suffering of the business, Jacob and Lacey's family...their children were paying the true price.
Today, Jacob and Lacey, through the connections and offerings presented at VisionKC have turned the business from a significant liability into a resource which provides a good life for their family.
We've also offered scholarships to the greatest automotive show in the south east, ASTE by The Independent Garage Owners Of NC and seen tremendous growth of that shop owner as well.
We ask that you, as shop owners, and part of the automotive family join us for dinner. We ask that you support our efforts to improve this industry, even if it's one shop at a time. And most of all, we ask that you join us in continuing to bring unity to shops nationwide, to continue to share a vision of something better for this industry - a higher potential, a better life for owners who haven't been given the opportunity to see there's a better, more profitable way.
Isn't it time that we stop seeing each other as competition, but as allies?
Please join us for dinner if you are able.
Information about the dinner is available at
Advance Auto Parts Announces Purchase of the DieHard Brand from Transformco
RALEIGH, N.C. & HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has acquired the DieHard brand from Transform Holdco LLC (“Transformco”), for $200 million utilizing cash on hand.
This asset acquisition will give Advance the right to sell DieHard batteries, the most trusted brand in the automotive battery category, and enables Advance to extend the DieHard brand into other automotive and vehicular categories. In addition, the deal allows Transformco to sell DieHard brand batteries through its existing channels pursuant to a supply agreement with Advance. Advance is also granting Transformco an exclusive royalty-free, perpetual license to develop, market, and sell DieHard branded products in non-automotive categories.
“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand. DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY customer traffic and build a unique value proposition for our Professional customers and Independent Carquest partners. DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America and will enable Advance to build a leadership position within the critical battery category,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. “DieHard stands for durability and reliability and we will strengthen and leverage the brand in other battery categories, such as marine and recreational vehicles. We also see opportunities to extend DieHard in other automotive categories. We remain committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and excellent service. The addition of DieHard to our industry leading assortment of national brands, OE parts and owned brands will enable us to differentiate Advance and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”
“DieHard is among the most successful and one of the most widely trusted brands in the auto industry, and we have long believed that the brand has even more potential,” said Peter Boutros, President of Transformco’s Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard business unit. “DieHard revolutionized the automotive battery category when it launched in 1967, and has continued to be a leader in the category. Advance Auto Parts’ acquisition of this iconic American brand will complement our plans to introduce new DieHard products in non-automotive categories such as sporting goods, lawn and garden, authentic work wear and other exciting new categories.”
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of October 5, 2019, Advance operated 4,891 stores and 152 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,260 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
Transform Holdco LLC is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve its members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Transformco is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears, Kmart and other retail partners. Transformco operates through its subsidiaries with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States.
Certain statements in this report are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements address future events or developments, and typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “outlook” or “estimate” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to the benefits or other effects of the acquisition, statements regarding expected growth and future performance of the Company, and all other statements that are not statements of historical facts. These statements are based upon assessments and assumptions of management in light of historical results and trends, current conditions and potential future developments that often involve judgment, estimates, assumptions and projections. Forward-looking statements reflect current views about the Company's plans, strategies and prospects, which are based on information currently available as of the date of this release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements. Please refer to the risk factors discussed in "Item 1a. Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for additional factors that could materially affect the Company’s actual results. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside its control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on those statements.
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
Advance Auto Parts:
T: (984) 389-7207
E: [email protected]
T: (919) 227-5466
E: [email protected]
T: (847) 286-9036
E: [email protected]
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191223005397/en/
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By Joe Marconi
Not every shop pays flat rate; for many reasons. So, many techs are on hourly pay. There is nothing wrong with hourly pay, as long as you have an incentive program in place that promotes high production levels to avoid complacency. For hourly paid employees I strongly urge you to have a pay plan that rewards production levels on a sliding scale.
As a business coach, I have seen too many times shops with low production levels and high tech payroll due to overtime pay. Overtime pay must not be used to get the jobs done with no regard to labor production. Limit overtime and create a strategy that increases production and rewards techs with production bonuses. By the way, there are many ways to incentivize techs, it's not all about money.
Overtime without high levels of production will eat into profits and if not controlled, with kill your business.
If your shop is an hourly paid shop, what incentives do you have in place to maintain production levels?
By Joe Marconi
There is been a lot of discussion lately across this nation about raising the minimum wage. I am not going to debate that issue today, but I will go on the record that I believe it may affect our industry and how we pay out technicians.
With companies such as Wall Mart, McDonalds, Starbucks, Chipotles, and many more increasing wages, this will send a message to the workforce that wages need to be more in line with the needs of the worker.
Pay scales for techs are all over the map depending on where you are in the country. But, the age old issue is that we need to attract quality entry-level people to our industry. With chatter that entry-level positions in the fast food chains and other big box stores may exceed $10.00 per hour and even reach $15.00, we need to take a look at what we pay our people.
The bottom line here is truly the “bottom line”. Shop owners cannot simply raise wages unless the shop’s profits are enough to support the raise. Shop owners need to take a long hard look at their pay plans and ensure that you offer competitive wages, but importantly, offer a work environment and career paths that will attract quality people.
Who likes tax deductible food? 🙋♂🙋♂ If you want to make sure you are deducting all of your business meals. Please read the entire article.