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There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “The footsteps of the farmer are his best fertilizer.” In translation, this means that the closer you are to your crops and animals, the easier it is to observe and respond to their needs. Business owners, just as farmers, have a sixth sense about what’s happening within their company. And, for the most part, business owners are the driving force behind the success of their companies. And it’s not always because of any particular training. Many times, the mere fact that the buck stops with you gives you the mental fortitude to push forward and find solutions to daily problems. Your gut evolves into a very valuable management and survival tool. 

The majority of business owners created their business with a dream and the passion to make a difference in their lives and in the automotive industry. They clearly understand the sacrifices that are needed to get a new business off the ground, and also the years of dedication it takes to reach a point where the business becomes financially stable. But, running a business takes its toll on even the toughest person, and time away from business becomes equally important. So, the question becomes, can you build your business to the point where your presence still remains when you’re away? 

Before I go on, I want you to consider something—and that’s your future. I know that many of you have a young company and plan on working for decades to come. But life goes by quickly and it can also throw you a curveball. Please take my advice with this; if you’re a business owner and you are not planning for your future, you are making a big mistake. I know too many shop owners that were forced to walk away from their businesses after decades of work with nothing more than memories. Their dreams turned into nightmares due to lack of planning. Sit down and write out what your future looks like. You will probably need help with this, but you need to think about a continuity plan and an exit strategy.

OK, I got that out of the way; now back to the article. Here’s the bottom line. Taking time off and having your business run smoothly without you there should be one of your key goals. But the truth is, many shop owners can’t let go. They find it hard to take any time off, let alone leaving their baby in the hands of a manager or another key person. They even feel guilty when they’re away. And there are others who realize that in order to have a fulfilling life, the only way to continue the business is to step aside and stay away.   

I don’t know what type of person you are. But what I do know with certainty after nearly 40 years in business is that, for the sake of your health and for the well-being of your family, you need to create a business that allows you the freedom to take time off.  And that starts with hiring and keeping the right people; people that share your culture and work ethic. Free time away from the business also requires that you understand your numbers, can generate a consistent profit and establish strategies to continually grow the business.  

Achieving your goal of taking more time off is more dependent on what you create than the actual work you do. Create a culture where people come to work because they want to. Create a management style that allows you to reach out to your employees and help them achieve the things they want out of life. Create a work environment where the people you employ feel they are part of a unified vision where everyone will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Lastly, create strong relationships with all your employees from the very first day they are hired. Building this culture will help to ensure that your employees will perform the same each day, whether you are there or not.   

I know for many it will be hard to let go. After all, your business is your baby, right? You founded it; you worked hard for years and dedicated your life to it. But, every baby grows up and becomes an adult.  And adults should become self-sufficient. If you build the right team with the right culture, you will gain the confidence that the people you employ can do an amazing job in your absence. 

This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on September 5th, 2019

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    • By carmcapriotto
      Matt Fanslow is the diagnostic tech/shop manager at Riverside Automotive in Red Wing, MN. His primary responsibilities are to diagnose driveability and electrical/electronic issues, and perform most all programming, coding, initializing, adoptions, etc. Basically, if it needs to be figured out or has wires, it goes to Matt. He’s been a tech since 1996. Matt is also a subject matter expert for ASE and has instructed at Vision Hi-Tech Training and Expo. Matt has participated on 18 ASE technical committees for the ASE Practice Test, A6, A7, A8, and L1 tests. He’s also done case studies for Standard Motor Products. Fanslow’s goal is to do everything in his power to improve the overall level of professionalism within the automotive and light truck repair trade and also raise the level of its public image. Matt Fanslow’s Previous Episodes HERE.
      Key Talking Points
      Competent technician shortage Biggest issues within shops- communication and remembering everything as things change Commute back and forth to work- have time to think about your day. Be honest and critical. When you’re entry-level there may be more negatives than positives, don’t beat yourself up about it. Unpack it step by step. Were you on your phone too much? Did you have unnecessary motions?   Keeping journal/diary/google docs- while at work jot down some bullet points and when you’re at home expand each one. Helps with great with memory and learning. If using an electronic journal you can search it as time goes on. As you accumulate entries over time, go back and read what you wrote and see firsthand the progress you’ve made. Brings value to yourself and employer. Confidence through competency. Steer the direction of feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed with new information. Use anxiety to push yourself forward.   Future journal/diary you write in every month or every few months. Where do you want to be? How will you get there? Be a specialty tech or diagnostic tech etc. Build a path and map out weak areas to focus on.  Everyone learns differently- write down your take on processes that helps you learn and remember  The way your brain works is malleable- rewire it with how you learn best What is memory? To learn from mistakes and not doing them again. Our memory has changed as technology has advanced. We no longer memorize information like we used to with the ease of the internet search engines. Remembering phone numbers is a skill of the past.  Scientific proof and studies- Journal of Applied Psychology and National Academy of Sciences.  Jorge Menchu- Episodes 180 and 241  
       
      Thanks to Matt Fanslow for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page, highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser, and many more. Mobile Listening APP’s HERE Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode is segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
      Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email
      Join the Ecosystem – Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy me a coffee
      This episode is brought to you by AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve.  The Virtual AAPEX Experience 2020 is in the record books. Virtual AAPEX lived up to presenting leading-technical and business management training from some of the industry’s best and brightest. Now set your sights on the homecoming in Las Vegas in 2021. Mark your calendar now … November 2-4, 2021, AAPEX // Now more than ever.

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Bill Haas, AAM, is the owner of Haas performance consulting LLC, with 40 years of experience in the automotive service and repair industry. Clients have access to Bill’s solution-based focus, expertise, unique perspectives and in-depth knowledge of the industry.
      Bill began his career working part-time at a full-service gasoline station in Appleton, Wisconsin. His career includes time as a technician, shop owner, technical trainer and on the staff of the automotive industry’s oldest and largest association representing automotive service and collision repair businesses. While at the association Bill had the opportunity to work with all segments of the industry.
      His knowledge of the industry has been shared on many occasions as he has been invited to speak at numerous industry events as well as providing testimony at hearings of the US Congress and several state legislatures on important legislation and regulation affecting the automotive industry.
      Bill received the Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) credential from the automotive management institute in 1996 and has been a member of the automotive management institute’s faculty since 2002.
      Bill is also the business manager for NACAT, the North American Council of Automotive Teachers. His services include business management seminar development and delivery, keynote presentations, business consulting, performance coaching, and strategic planning facilitation. Listen to Bill’s previous episodes HERE.
      Vic Tarasik is currently the Major Accounts Director with RLO Training. Public speaking, business management, finance, and leadership skills are some talents he acquired as a service professional that made this position perfect for him. He was a member of RLO Training’s Bottom-Line Impact Group and was twice awarded the Member Excellence Award for being the top shop in his group.
      Vic took an interest in all things mechanical at a young age. He worked on a variety of vehicles for friends and family. His interests grew into racing at local drag strips driving his 55 Chevy, which he still owns.
      In 1986, he returned to his roots and launched Vic’s Precision Automotive from his two-car garage. The heart of Vic’s Precision Automotive was galvanized for Vic as a boy; he watched his single mom struggle with service providers over the years. When he opened his shop, he was determined to make it a place where female customers felt comfortable. Listen to Vic’s previous episodes HERE.
      Cecil Bullard is President of the Institute for Automotive Business Excellence. He is a trainer and business coach in the automotive aftermarket working closely with service professionals.
      Previous episodes featuring or mentioning Cecil, click HERE.
      Institute for Automotive Business Excellence website.
      Bob Greenwood, AMAM (Accredited Master Automotive Manager) is President and C.E.O. of Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC). AAEC is a company focused on providing Business Management Resources and Development for the Independent Sector of the aftermarket industry. AAEC content and technology is recognized as part of the curriculum of the Fixed Operations Diploma and the Aftermarket Degree courses taken at the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College located in Barrie Ontario Canada. This school is the leader and only college in Canada that offers an automotive business education. AAEC is also recognized by the Automotive Management Institute (AMI), located in North Richland Hills, Texas USA, allowing 80 credits for successful completion of the AAEC E-Learning portion of the site towards the 120 credits required to obtain the reputable Accredited Automotive Manager (AAM) designation.
      Bob has over 40 years of Business Management experience within the Independent sector of the automotive aftermarket industry in North America, consulting Independent retail shops on all facets of their business operations. His 18 years of running his own local consulting and accounting firm in Ottawa, Ontario Canada created some of the most productive and financially successful entrepreneurs within the Independent sector today.
      Bob is one of 150 Worldwide AMI approved instructors. He has created Business Management development courses for aftermarket shop employers/managers, Jobbers and Jobber Sales representatives which are recognized as being the most comprehensive, industry-specific courses of their kind in North America. His courses address the creation of measurable bottom-line profitability and not just developing activity to keep busy, by covering the very detailed nuts and bolts issues that are required to be clearly understood by every level of the industry if an independent shop is going to financially prosper and enjoy a professional future. Bob’s previous episodes are HERE.
      Link to Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd. (AAEC) HERE.
      Key Talking Points
      Professionalism- How do you answer the phone? How do you interact with customers? What is the image of the business? How do your technicians look? What does the shop look like from the front? There needs to be a process for everything. Do we see ourselves as professionals and on the same level as doctors/lawyers? Starts with the owner and leads to the industry as a whole. If you don’t have a professional shop how do you expect someone to want to come to work for you? Why arent the best technicians working in your shop? Why are people leaving the industry? Why is the average technician’s pay still only 50K?  85% of the industry isn’t paying attention, not thriving and not being successful  You don’t need to be cheap to be busy and fill shop- a busy shop often isn't a profitable shop 2nd largest investment for customers is their vehicle - duty and responsibility to give them choice for repairs. We provide transportation and safety.  Labor rates should reflect your competency and based on profit strategy  Culture of business- strive for a career mindset instead of job mindset culture, employees want to be a part of business and move it forward Solution? Professional association to abide by, standards, certification process to open a shop? What can you do right now? Define your target customer. Market to them and learn how to say no to the others Raise your prices now not later- stop having the fear that your customers won’t pay higher prices. Not everyone can afford to be your customer and that’s okay. $10 increase you can afford to lose 25% of clients and still make more. Don’t look at saving money to be profitable  Pay increase for employees- staff should know how revenue works, expenses etc. Net profit isn’t a dirty word. Need to be profitable on the bottom line to increase pay. Be successful as a team. Increased pay could be in form of vacation days, 401K, incentives, benefits. A special thanks to Bill Haas, Vic Tarasik, Cecil Bullard and Bob Greenwood for their contribution to the aftermarket. Books Page HERE Listen to all Remarkable Results Radio, For The Record and Town Hall Academy episodes. Facebook   Twitter  LinkedIn   Instagram  Youtube   Email  
      Mobile Listening APP’s HERE
      Join the Ecosystem – Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy Carm a Cup of Coffee 

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com

      This episode is brought to you by Shop Marketing Pros. Your guides are Kim and Brian Walker with a rich history as shop owners and industry veterans. When someone searches for a shop, who are they finding? Your competitors? It should be you! The good people over at Shop Marketing Pros know how to drive website traffic and make Google work for you! www.shopmarketingpros.com
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      In the 4 decades as a shop owner, my number one way to have a smooth running shop is to surround yourself with the right people.
      I am interested in hearing from other shop owners. What's your opinion on how to run a smooth running operation? 
    • By carmcapriotto
      Justin Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Automotive, Cornelia, GA. He is excited about the future of this industry with autonomous vehicles and the role the independent repair shop will play in that arena, and with the changing landscape how we are going to have to be nimble and adapt to stay relevant.
      Leadership is something that is extremely challenging to him but rewarding when done right. He had some leadership failures and wins which are adding to his growth in that area. His biggest challenge right now is the same thing that he is working on and that is building a great team. In the last 18 months, he had gone from leading himself and one other to leading 6 and still adding to keep up with growth.  Find out more about Justin’s episodes HERE.
       
       
      Barrett Automotive Website HERE.
      Key Talking Points
      Justin’s toolbox has been at the business for 11 years, since the beginning- wants to be able to bring it home and work on the business instead of in the business 2 weeks of working in bays to catch everyone up turned into 6 weeks Saw production gaps between some of the technicians- was able to work side by side and teach younger technicians how he plans his work and gets it done. See if you can combine work orders. Realized the need for more SOP’s for the shop to follow for both in the bays and in the office  Downside- losing focus on business Had technician from dealership lined up to come work in business to replace his spot- technician ultimately decided to stay at the dealership. When the technician told Justin he was staying, Justin left things on very good terms to keep an open door for possible future. A customer came in for his BMW evacuate the refrigerant so he could replace the compressor- was back in the shop within an hour and a half time. Justin and the service advisor were impressed and asked about his experience. He loves working on cars but never worked in a professional setting. Gave him an application and is currently working in the shop on a trial basis. Considering implementing an apprentice program for him.  
      Thanks to Justin Barrett for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page, highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser, and many more. Mobile Listening APP’s HERE Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode is segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
      Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email
      Join the Ecosystem – Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy me a coffee
      This episode is brought to you by AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo. AAPEX represents the $740 billion global automotive aftermarket industry and has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve.  The Virtual AAPEX Experience 2020 is in the record books. Virtual AAPEX lived up to presenting leading-technical and business management training from some of the industry’s best and brightest. Now set your sights on the homecoming in Las Vegas in 2021. Mark your calendar now … November 2-4, 2021, AAPEX // Now more than ever.

      This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Craig Caudill, Manager at Fine Tuned Automotive Erie, CO
      Key Talking Points
      Lean- eliminating waste in processes. Waste is anything that doesn't add value to the customer’s experience 7 wastes in lean- motion, inventory, waiting, defects, overproduction, transportation, over-processing Motion- excessive motion techs/advisors being away from the work station. Using instant messaging on the shop management system for instant streamline communication Inventory- excessive inventory isn't bringing value to customers. Has to turn over so it's not wasted money Waiting- technicians input in system precisely parts needed and update lead time in the management system Defects- categorize comebacks Overproduction- doing more than what customer requested Transportation- the movement of vehicles in the shop. Accurate diagnosis first time and identify every issue Over-processing- don't develop processes that are overly complex. Simplify everything to key elements. Don’t overthink or over the process. 5 S event- sort (take out everything you have and see if it's necessary to keep) set and order (essential items are identified and set in order. Tape off areas where items go and have a picture of how that area is supposed to look) shine (after everything is in its place then you clean) standardized (building processes and SOP’s) sustain People don't want to be questioning what they should do- build a structured culture Parts are labeled specific to parts suppliers Improving profitability- waste is time and money. Customers are willing to pay for the value you offer them How to start? Don’t be intimidated. Do research on 5 S and start seeing benefits. Link to the ‘BOOKS‘ page, highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers. Listen for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spreaker, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Podchaser, and many more. Mobile Listening APP’s HERE Find every podcast episode HERE. Every episode is segmented by Series HERE. Key Word Search HERE. Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
      Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email
      Join the Ecosystem – Subscribe to the INSIDER NEWSLETTER HERE.
      Buy me a coffee

      Are you seeing auto shops in your area get hundreds of 5-star Google reviews and are you feeling left behind because your shop only has a few?
      Hey look, Broadly is your answer to getting more online reviews. With more reviews, your business will rank higher in search results — and that means more customers coming into your shop every day.
      Broadly helps you automatically request reviews so that your customers can promote your business with just one click.
      When you immediately ask for a review after service, when the experience is still fresh in their mind, // you’re more likely to get a 5-star positive review.
      Plus, asking for feedback makes your customer feel valued and more connected to your business. Isn’t that what you want a connected customer? See how Broadly can help grow your auto shop.  Visit www.getbroadly.com/carm to learn more.
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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    • By Joe Marconi
      There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “The footsteps of the farmer are his best fertilizer.” In translation, this means that the closer you are to your crops and animals, the easier it is to observe and respond to their needs. Business owners, just as farmers, have a sixth sense about what’s happening within their company. And, for the most part, business owners are the driving force behind the success of their companies. And it’s not always because of any particular training. Many times, the mere fact that the buck stops with you gives you the mental fortitude to push forward and find solutions to daily problems. Your gut evolves into a very valuable management and survival tool. 
      The majority of business owners created their business with a dream and the passion to make a difference in their lives and in the automotive industry. They clearly understand the sacrifices that are needed to get a new business off the ground, and also the years of dedication it takes to reach a point where the business becomes financially stable. But, running a business takes its toll on even the toughest person, and time away from business becomes equally important. So, the question becomes, can you build your business to the point where your presence still remains when you’re away? 
      Before I go on, I want you to consider something—and that’s your future. I know that many of you have a young company and plan on working for decades to come. But life goes by quickly and it can also throw you a curveball. Please take my advice with this; if you’re a business owner and you are not planning for your future, you are making a big mistake. I know too many shop owners that were forced to walk away from their businesses after decades of work with nothing more than memories. Their dreams turned into nightmares due to lack of planning. Sit down and write out what your future looks like. You will probably need help with this, but you need to think about a continuity plan and an exit strategy.
      OK, I got that out of the way; now back to the article. Here’s the bottom line. Taking time off and having your business run smoothly without you there should be one of your key goals. But the truth is, many shop owners can’t let go. They find it hard to take any time off, let alone leaving their baby in the hands of a manager or another key person. They even feel guilty when they’re away. And there are others who realize that in order to have a fulfilling life, the only way to continue the business is to step aside and stay away.   
      I don’t know what type of person you are. But what I do know with certainty after nearly 40 years in business is that, for the sake of your health and for the well-being of your family, you need to create a business that allows you the freedom to take time off.  And that starts with hiring and keeping the right people; people that share your culture and work ethic. Free time away from the business also requires that you understand your numbers, can generate a consistent profit and establish strategies to continually grow the business.  
      Achieving your goal of taking more time off is more dependent on what you create than the actual work you do. Create a culture where people come to work because they want to. Create a management style that allows you to reach out to your employees and help them achieve the things they want out of life. Create a work environment where the people you employ feel they are part of a unified vision where everyone will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Lastly, create strong relationships with all your employees from the very first day they are hired. Building this culture will help to ensure that your employees will perform the same each day, whether you are there or not.   
      I know for many it will be hard to let go. After all, your business is your baby, right? You founded it; you worked hard for years and dedicated your life to it. But, every baby grows up and becomes an adult.  And adults should become self-sufficient. If you build the right team with the right culture, you will gain the confidence that the people you employ can do an amazing job in your absence. 
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on September 5th, 2019

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