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[Podcast] What Would I Tell My Younger Self [THA 166]

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Ron Haugen, Retired, Sold Shop now a Coach

Doug Grills, AutoStream Car Care Center, multi-shop owner, Baltimore, MD (Six Locations)

Chris Monroe, Monroe Tire and Service, shop owner, Shelby, NC. Chris got on the track to becoming an industry superstar at the early age of 10, as his father started Monroe Tire in 1974. He took over as the owner of the shop in 1987, and has been able to increase Monroe Tire’s sales for 30 consecutive years despite a high volume of competition and a flat population of less than 25,000 in his community. Chris’s success in business hasn’t gone unnoticed, as his shop has consistently been voted Best of the Best in his community for Best in Tire/Automotive Services.

One reason for Chris’s success is his commitment to training and to self-improvement. Chris not only dedicates his time to improving our industry, but to making a difference in his community as well. He serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board, is on the Small Business Advisory Council and was recently appointed as a trustee at Cleveland Community College, speaks regularly at high school and college classes about small business ownership, and also contributes to his local schools in countless other ways. His shop has contributed to drug abuse prevention council, to children’s homes, to churches and to far more causes than we’re able to list. Additionally, on the shop’s 40th anniversary they celebrated by donating a completely refurbished vehicle to a person of need that the community selected.


Key Talking Points: 


  • The most important trait for learning and development? Humility. Be humble, learn and grow.
  • When you realize you don’t know everything is a breakthrough moment
  • Never be the smartest person in the room and except that
  • You may not know the help you need until you start getting involved with a peer group
  • Build on your success   
  • It is OK not to be right. Accept that and be a perpetual student.Accept that and it is a release
  • When in the peer group there are different levels of success and the diversity of the group bring perspective you can’t get anywhere else
  • Don’t focus on you (your goals and aspirations), focus on your people (their goals, dreams and development) – and the rest will take care of itself.
  • Doug has his people have goal postser’s and he has them on his people.
  • Have a business model that’s Employee-centric vs. Customer-centric – when I started, I thought the customer was king. Turns out, have a vision and treat your employees like royalty and they’ll take care of everything that your customers will ever need.
  • Develop a brand earlyYou want to be in the back of people's mind so you are thought of when automotive service is needed.
  • Be remembered as the company that supports community
  • Get in front of your brand, make it human
  • It takes years and must be consistent
  • It is like a NASCAR race. You want to be in the lead. You have to hold your 
  • Stress reliefWorry is the biggest waste of time
  • You worry about stupid stuff
  • You have internal and external stress
  •  Find outlets to reduce your stress
  • Find work-life harmony and the discipline it takes to make that happen 
  • Review your expenses every six months at a minimumMitch Schneider talks about expense creep. You must pay attention to your costs
  • You may be top-heavy within your staff
  • Managing your expenses is a mindsetKeep a mindset that things aren’t good, even if they are, you will be able to call on that ‘mindset’ when things are not good
  • SalesIf you take care of your people and customers your sales will happen
  • People do business who they know, love and trust
  • Get a comprehensive review of your financials from a financial expertGet in-depth knowledge of your financials from your CPA or your Business Coach
  • If you are just starting your business, start it with a business coachIf you want to retire young get into a peer group or hire a business coach
  • You can not NOT afford it
  • Don’t pretend you know it allYou may believe that the older person doesn’t know what is the right thing to do
  • Many feel it is hard to take advice from older people
  • You are proud with a tough exterior, be humble. Set pride to the side
  • Admit you need help. An example of strong leadership
  • Find your purpose so people will follow you
  • Getting the right answer and finding the correct path is what matters 
  • Create a reserve account and deliberately put money in it each week


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