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Making the Big move to be an Offsite owner

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New member here, glad I found this site , it has some great info. So here is my story ( short ?). I have decided to get out of the backroom finally after 21 years of owning a shop ( I was told to do this 20 years ago by business proffessionals but working with my hands and hanging out with my employees is what I enjoy ). I was wrenching during the day and doing everything else (HR, marketing, bookkeeping, etc) on my free time. I did this big move 2 weeks ago and I am finding it a little difficult to say the least, but for now , looking in from the outside ,I can already tell it was a good move . I have 9 employees, have access to Mitchell system remotely, getting a camera system installed so I can access whats going on remotely also ( the shop is already cramped so an onsite office isn't feasible ). I have handbooks for managers, writers, techs , and lube techs. I have been fine tuning the handbooks for the better part of the 2 weeks that I haven't been there. So far my crew has done well but I am still apprehensive about what's going on when I am not there. I think the handbooks are key, getting the guys to follow the guidelines in the handbooks is another story. I am building an accountability system using Google drop box to help the guys out daily with check lists pertaining to the handbooks but don't want to overload them. Any input or links to info would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Stepping away from the daily operations is the right thing. Early in my career as a business owner (34 years ago), I thought the world revolved around me. That was wrong. To build a business, and build it right, you need systems, procedures, a system of checks and balances and most of all - great people around you.


Once I realized that I needed to work on the business and not work in it, my world changed. And the business grew. But, there is a transition period. Everyone, from customers to employees to vendors, all day long would ask, "Where's Joe, let me speak to Joe". But eventually, with the right people employed, that scenario went from "Where Joe", to "Say hello to Joe when you see him".


The key thing is to have the entire business on paper, each step and each procedure. Then make sure you set up a system of monitoring and measuring everything. And lastly, set you goals and constantly work on those goals and review them often. Oh, and don't forget that a leader is a leader when the people around do things not because they are told to, but because they want to.


Going "cold turkey" and becoming an offsite owner is a bold move. Do you go in at all? And how often? Do you have meetings with your people?


Good luck and keep in touch.

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Joe, thanks for your input, I appreciate it 100%. We do have separate monthly meetings for the techs, writers and lube techs. I went in yesterday actually because I still work every other Sat. as a tech. don't think to many customers will miss me because a lot of them I always think my manager who has been with me over 10 years is the owner ( sometimes I wish we was, lol) because I was always in the back turning wrenches. I am setting up goals for improved car counts and will review them with the crew weekly. I have also added 3 more cars to loaner car program so we will have 5 and have implemented other changes in the 2 weeks to achieve my goals. My crew is my second family and the respect we have for each other should make the transition easier because they like working for me so they respect what I have to say and I always respect what they have to say. The handbooks and the daily check sheets pertaining to the handbooks should keep everyone on the right page. I guess my biggest worry is I am overloading them because although I was a tech there was a lot of decision making done on the spot while I was there and now I am leaving it up to them. I am adding this decision making to their handbooks ( which some of them have already doubled in content ) and don't want to overwhelm them. Again, thanks for input Joe and enjoy your Sunday.

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Just keep in mind that stepping away and not being involved in the day to day operations is a process, a journey. Create a task list of everything that will need to be done on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc., basis. Assign people to perform the tasks that you will no longer be doing. And don't expect this to happen over night. Take small steps, reinforce, recognize the accomplishments of others and move on to the next step.

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Thanks for the good wishes, it will take time for sure. Every time a thought pops up pertaining to this offsite owner transition ( shop liability concerns, inventory control, employee theft concerns, how to handle angry customers, etc.) I email that thought to myself with my phone. Lots of emails from myself lately. Happy Monday and Have a Great Week.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      Have I got your attention? Great.
      Let me start by saying that I believe in giving praise when deserved and letting employees know when they dropped the ball. However, the truth is that no one enjoys being reprimanded or told they messed up.  
      The question is, what is the appropriate balance between the right amount of praise and the right amount of critical feedback? According to studies done by Harvard Business School, the ratio of praise to critical feedback should be about 6:1 – Six praises for every critical feedback. I am not sure if I agree with that.
      From personal experience, I would recommend a lot more praise. The exact ratio doesn’t matter. What’s important is that before you consider giving critical feedback, ensure you have given that employee a lot of recent praise. If not, whatever you are trying to get through to an employee, will fall on deaf ears.
      When you do have to give critical feedback, remember a few things:
      Focus on the issue or behavior; never attack the person, and remain calm in your actions and words Ask the employee for feedback, their side of the story Speak to the employee in private Address the issue soon after it happens; never wait Don’t rely on second-hand information; it’s always better if you have experienced the situation yourself that you want to correct Have an open discussion and find things that both of you can agree upon Have an action plan moving forward that the employee can take ownership of Use the experience as a learning tool Make sure you bring up positive attributes about them Remember, you don’t want the employee to be angry or upset with you; you want them to reflect on the situation and what can be improved. One last thing. Everyone makes mistakes. We need to be mindful of this.
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