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Joe Marconi

Management
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Blog Entries posted by Joe Marconi

  1. Joe Marconi
    Everyone has their own perception on life and the world around them. This perception becomes reality and it’s the only reality that matters. At least for most. This does not always hold true for shop owners.
     
    As shop owners, we don’t always have the luxury of viewing things from our perceptive. There are other people around us and their families to consider. As the owner, and the leader, our concerns and issues take a backseat to the concerns and issues of others. This is something I know we accept and we do our best everyday to look at things from the perceptive of others.
     
    For me, it’s been 33 years since I put the key in the door of my repair shop for the first time. And I can tell there are times when I feel like it’s the 12th round of a 10 round boxing match.
     
    I am not complaining, mostly because my position does not allow me to complain. Leaders and business owners have to remain strong, positive and put the interest of others before themselves. This is in part what makes a leader a leader; the ability to put one’s interest aside for the greater good of others.
     
    However, this makes it very lonely at times. Leaders must have vision and work to not only improve themselves but improve the lives of others. Leaders also must look to praise and recognize the accomplishments of others.
    Moral building and team spirit become the essential building blocks of any organization. We as shop owners are well aware of this. I am not asking those who are employed to understand all of this. But please, is it too much to ask for just a little consideration and understanding of what WE go through?
     
    I am not going to get into all the petty situations that drive us crazy. It really does not matter. I also realize that the words I am putting on paper will do more good for me, and hopefully for you, reading this. It will not, I am sure, change the way many people think and act who simply go to work each day and expect a pay check at the end of the week.
     
    Ok, that’s off my chest. I feel better. To be honest, things are not that bad. I have a great family, great wife and three amazing children. I have built a company that I am proud of; a business that was only a dream decades ago. I entered this industry as a mechanic and was transformed into an entrepreneur. I have achieved a lot of the years. And I am not done yet. There is still much more to do and will work hard to achieve my goals and aspirations.
     
    Maybe I try too hard. Maybe I judge others by how I was and how I am today. Maybe that’s wrong. Perhaps, I am not the leader I think I am. Leaders must find other potential leaders and cultivate them to become future leaders. Leaders must also be understanding and find the good in others, and not focus on the negative. Maybe I needed to write this tonight to remind myself to stop complaining and get back to work. If something isn’t right, then I should take a long hard look in the mirror. The answer to my problems and questions can be found in the man staring back at me. So, let me get back to work.
     
    Yes, a leader can be real lonely at times. But I would not want it any other way!

     
  2. Joe Marconi
    AutoShopOwner.com is proud to announce it now has over 1000 members! This truly is a milestone and exciting to see how ASO has grown in just a few short years.
     
    AutoShopOwner.com was founded on the concept that there is a wealth of business knowledge among automotive shop owners, and by bringing these shop owners together, great things can happen.
     
    Thanks to its loyal member base, AutoShopOwner.com has exceeded expectations. It is within the forums that shop owners engage in dialogue, communicate ideas, voice opinions and help their fellow shop owner through difficult issues. What ASO also discovered is the dedication and commitment shop owners have to the industry.
     
    AutoShopOwner.com will continue to bring exciting posts, content and information to keep its members up to date with the latest business challenges faced each day. ASO is OUR website. It’s our online voice to collectively work to help raise the image and level of professionalism of the auto service industry. As a fellow shop owner, I am proud and honored to be part of this extraordinary group of business people.
     
    Joe Marconi
    AutoShopOwner.com, Cofounder
  3. Joe Marconi
    A good customer called me the other day to let me know that he has concerns regarding the quality of our work. Last week we installed an exhaust system on his Maxima and two days later it sounded like the muffler had fallen off. There was so much noise he was afraid to drive the car. We went to his house to pick it up. We found that the baffles had broken apart in the brand new muffler we just installed.
     
    About two month ago this same customer had to bring the Maxima back due to a grinding noise from the brakes. We had done front brake pads and rotors a week prior. We replaced the defective pads along with a new set of rotors at no charge and everything was fine, or so we thought. With each incident we did a follow up call to insure that there were no additional issues.
     
    Apparently, these two situations did not sit well with this customer. During his phone call he reminded me that he was a loyal customer and that our customer service is exceptional, always going above and beyond the norm. However, he went on to say, "Exceptional customer service can’t make up for the quality of the repairs." He was very candid and honest. He said he would not “jump ship”, but he has concerns, and that if there are any more quality issues, he will look to go elsewhere. He even mentioned the dealer as an alternative to us.
     
    I did not make any excuses, only apologized and assured him that we will do our due diligence to find the root cause of these issues. I thanked him for calling me and let him know that most people would not make this call, and how we welcome the opportunity to know how our customers feel.
     
    This situation was a real eye-opener for me. I always believed that exceptional service can save you when things go wrong, but obviously this is not necessarily so. There is no doubt that due to our “above and beyond” customer service culture, we are able to sustain most negative cases. But, I guess even the best customer service can’t save a restaurant if the food is continuously bad.
     
    I now need to take a more proactive approach with respect to where I purchase my parts. We also need to track every part issue and see if there are any trends or patterns to the failures. We will bring it up to the parts supplier, but if the parts supplier makes no effort to fix the issue, I will have to seek other companies to do business with.
     
    In this business climate, too many things can go wrong. We, as business people, need to understand the perspective of the customer. And, no matter how much we preach customer service, the quality of our work is the signature of our brand and our company.
  4. Joe Marconi
    About a year ago I hired a service advisor that I believed at the time would be a great asset to my shop. He had a lot of experience, knowledgeable about the business and well-spoken. He showed all the right credentials.
     
    Soon after being hired, I noticed something that I did not pick up in any of our three interviews; he did not smile. How was it possible I did not notice this? A few more days turned into weeks and I could see that this person’s personality, or lack of personality, did not fit the culture of my company. We had a few meetings together and I would ask him, “Is everything ok? You never smile”. He didn’t think too much of it said that everything was fine. Personally, I had my doubts.
     
    Shortly after I hired him, an equipment rep came to see me said to me, “Joe, your new hire, you do realize he never smiles”. Well, this began to worry me. As time went on I could see that his demeanor did not go well with the other people in the shop, or with the customers. People feed off other people’s personality. When someone walks around with the look of doom and gloom, it affects the attitude of others. And it surely affects how the customers react also. It actually affects our ability to communicate and sell. I knew that if something was not done soon, it would have tragic consequences.
     
    It also bothered me that no one in shop really liked him. I later found out that was because he did not treat people nicely and would berate the techs.
     
    I tried all I can to help this person to change, but nothing I did could crack a smile on this guy’s face. Time went on and I hoped for the best. I soon learned that hope is never a plan for success. Soon, customers began to complain. After a while it became apparent that the negative behavior from this person was having a negative effect on the customer’s behavior. In other words, people feed off of other people’s personalities. If someone walks into a place of business and is greeted with a warm smile and a big friendly hello, it puts that person in warm and friendly frame of mind. When the opposite happens, things will go downhill and turn bad.
     
    As usual, I waited too long to pull the trigger. I gave myself every excuse why I should keep this person, when the truth was it was also affecting my personality and my ability to remain upbeat. For the sake of everyone I finally fired him, but not after the damage he had done to my company.
     
    The sad fact is that he will never see what his personality is doing to himself and to others around him. Why he was so unhappy remains a mystery, I hope in time he can release those demons. For me, I learned a valuable lesson. There are times that you cannot get people to change. For the greater good of everyone, stop the bleeding and fire the person. You are doing the best thing for that person, for others in your company and for yourself and your family.
  5. Joe Marconi
    Losing My Patience, Never My Passion
     
    As a shop owner, that began his career as a mechanic 36 years ago, the effort of building a business has taken its toll in many ways. While I have not lost my passion for what I do, I have lost my patience with many of the things I see around me. I have built a business from a small 2-man operation to a 2-facility company with close to 20 employees. It’s often said that you need great people around you in order to achieve success. But the truth is without leadership, vision, passion and a whole lot of determination, nothing will ever get accomplished. It also takes risk, with countless sleepless nights. All of which must come from the founder or owner of the business.
     
    Here’s my frustration. I hold myself accountable each and every day. If I screw up, I admit it and work twice as hard to rectify the issue. Why don’t others in the company hold themselves accountable? Not for me, for themselves. Take for example, a technician misdiagnoses a problem and costs the company money in lost time, wrong parts installed and an upset customer. Now, mistake happen, we are all human. That’s not my issue. My issue is the lack of remorse, the lack of concern, the lack of sense of urgency to make things right.
     
    I see too many times after a mistake has happen, that nothing changes in the attitude from the tech that made the error. He does not work any extra to make up for the loss. He does not come in early to try to make amends. And when I try to bring it up, I’m the bad guy and the tech gets upset at me! Upset at me? I have to suck it up and keep it inside me? And, Heaven forbid if I even suggest that the tech come back from lunch a few minutes early or maybe forgo his “natural birth right” of spending time on the tool truck.
     
    In their defense, my techs work very hard. They endure the cold, the rain, the sweltering heat of the summer and the daily bodily punishment of being a mechanic. I guess, what I want is just a little of the passion I have. That show of concern and the paying attention to all the details of the business. Also, I would love to see people have the same energy level as I have. I have more than 20 years on some of my employees and there are days that they can’t keep up with me!
     
    I guess, maybe it’s a lot to ask. My techs are great people. The morale is great and we are profitable. Some people tell me that it’s impossible for an employee to care like the owner cares. I don’t agree. Before I went into business, I took my work personal. When I worked for someone, I worked like it was my own business. But, that was me and to be honest I didn’t stay in the workforce long, starting my own business at the age of twenty five.
     
    Maybe I have been doing this too long, maybe I need to ignore some things. Maybe I just need a break. But, I am who I am and I can’t see myself changing. My passion will continue to be the force that drives me into the future. I will continue to work hard to bring out the best in me and in my employees. I am dedicated to my family, my business and to my employees. I will not push my ways on anyone. People need to show respect for themselves first. Only then can they truly grow with others.
  6. Joe Marconi
    A Customer Teaches Me About Life
     
    I will always remember the first day I met Mort Rubenstein. He was in his early 70’s at the time, about 18 years ago and used a walker to get around. He told me that he preferred to wait with his car while it was serviced and that he didn’t mind waiting, no matter how long it took.
     
    I remember as he was leaving my office for the first time, I offered to help him to his car and tried to hold the door open for him. Since he used a walker, I felt I was doing the right thing. He sternly told me that he did not need any help. For the next few visits after that I would always offer to help him and he would emphatically tell me, “Joe, I appreciate the offer, but believe me, I don’t need the help”. Then, he turned to me and said, “Joe, let me tell you a little about me. I grew up during the great depression of the 1930's and lived though those tough times. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 I enlisted in the Army. I fought my way through North Africa, landed on the beach of Normandy during the invasion of France and fought my way through many battles in Europe during World War II. I survived the war without even getting a scratch. Two years after I got out of the Army in 1947, life through me a curve ball; I contracted Polio. That’s why I use a walker today. I have accepted it, and will not let it defeat me. So Joe, when I tell you I don’t need any help, that’s the reason why”.
     
    I didn’t know what to say. I remained silent as I watched him walk to his car.
     
    Over the years, Mort became more than a customer, he became a friend. When he brought his car in for service, we would talk about the War, about business and about life. As his polio progressed he was confined to a wheel chair. But that never stopped him. He purchased a van with a special seat and ramp and would get in and out of the van by himself with the aid of a motorized wheel chair. He was in his late 80’s, still driving. Mort never gave up and lived life to the fullest and was always positive. As the years past I knew, from talking with his wife, that the polio was getting the best of him, but he never showed it. He was always upbeat and smiled.
     
    Mort died recently. He was 91 years old. Some would say that Mort lived a tough life. Not me. Mort was part of that generation that never asked for anything. Mort, like so many from that era, was willing to go to war for our country and ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They didn’t have much but were happy and thankful with what they had. They endured the hardships of the great depression but never complained. That’s why they are called the Greatest Generation.
     
    I will always remember Mort and what he taught me about life. How to live life to its fullest, how to remain positive and get the most from the cards you are dealt with. I only hope that I can be as strong as Mort was if life happens to throw me a curve ball.
  7. Joe Marconi
    The other day one of my techs was replacing front brake pads and rotors on an older Subaru. The caliper bracket bolts were seized and one of them snapped off. This is a common problem and we are well aware of it. We try our best with rust busters and heat, but sometimes nothing works. The tech drilled out the broken bolt and finished the brake job. No problem, right?
     
    Here’s the problem, who pays for it? Me,or the customer? I asked the tech if he informed the service writer. He said he did. I asked the service writer if he told the customer and up-sold the repair. The writer told me it was a hard sell just to sell the brakes and felt he could not approach the customer. I informed my service writer that I did not buy the car, build the car or break the car.
     
    I did something that maybe I should not have done; I went into the customer waiting room myself and explained the situation and sold the caliper bracket repair.
     
    My issue is this. Are they times when we can't charge and we just have to eat it? I say yes and no. That depends on the situation. I also think that this particular writer needs more training in customer relations.
     
    What do you think? Charge or not charge? What policy do you have?
  8. Joe Marconi
    After working for more than 2 years, we finally have all the approvals for our expansion project. My business plan has been submitted to the bank and hope to hear from them soon. Our next step is to have the building designed approved, which we do not anticipate a problem.
     
    We now have 6 bays and will be adding four more bays, which will be a stand alone facility. This facility will accommodate all our while you wait customers and light service work. The repair work and bigger jobs will be done in the original 6 bay facility.
     
    A lot of work went into this project (many sleepless nights) to get to this point and it's not over yet. We broke ground last month and looking at 6-10 months for completion.
     
    I have to admit, creating a business plan and new model was not easy and out-of-my-comfort zone. It's like starting a new business. It's both fun and scary!
     
    I will make periodic updates as the project progresses and will share the step by step process needed to build and create something new.
     
    Please contact me with comments. I will share the experience with all.
     
    Stay Tuned!
  9. Joe Marconi
    28 years ago I made the choice to become a shop owner. For years prior to starting my business I worked hard to become a skilled mechanic. By the time I was 24 years old I was rebuilding engines, transmissions, solving the most complex electrical problems and became an ASE Master Tech. How did this benefit me when I went into business? NOT VERY MUCH!
     
    How did this help me with expanding the business and creating a new business model? NOT AT ALL!
     
    I opened in 1980 and after struggling for years it dawned on me that being skilled mechanically just wasn’t enough. I needed to become skilled with the mechanics of business.
     
    I needed these new skills to design my new business model. I will outline my steps in future entries and share the process. One thing is certain; you need to have a business mindset to create vision for your company. You need to become a leader. Why? You can’t do it alone. You need great people around you to help you build your empire.
     
    Stay tuned for more!
  10. Joe Marconi
    My first step in making the decision to expand the business was to overcome fear. Fear holds people back from achieving their potential. For me, it was the fear of failure and fear of the unknown. This project was doing something that was out of my comfort zone.
     
    For over a year I thought of every excuse NOT to expand the business: Where do I find more techs? How will I afford the new mortgage? Why do I want to start this at my age? Do I really need to do this? Why do I want the additional headaches? Aren’t things fine the way they are now?
     
    The project would involve demolishing and old building and constructing a new one. The new building will add an additional 4 bays and new customer waiting area.
     
    I had multiple meetings with the site engineer asking question after question. Finally he told me, “Joe, you have been going back and forth on this project for over a year, either sh_ _ or get off the pot”. At that moment I decided to go for it.
     
    I guess it’s easier to live in your comfort zone. It’s harder to move forward into the unknown.
     
    In future entries I will outline “The Plan” for the new building.
     
    Stay tuned!
  11. Joe Marconi
    Our first strategic meeting was held at the local Chili’s Restaurant. Over a few beers and burgers my team and I outlined our future. We talked about the business today and the business yesterday. We talked about our successes and our failures. We talked about how the business has changed in the past 10 years and where we believed the industry was headed. Prior to this meeting we interviewed many customers to find out what they wanted from our company. We asked them what they didn’t like and what changes would they make in our business. We found out that although price is an issue, it’s not at the top of their list. What do our customers want? A friendly face, a fair price, one-stop-shopping, a good warranty and most of all to bring in their car when it was convenient to them. Many customers told us that we were always so busy and having to make an appointment for basic service was not acceptable. Because of this, many times they went to the local quick lube.
     
    Our customers never mentioned ASE certification, or asked what kinds of parts we use. No one asked what kind of equipment we had. I guess they assume we hire qualified techs and are equipped with the right equipment. I think it’s the same as when you go to the doctor; you just assume he’s qualified and has the latest equipment.
     
    Based on our feelings on where we thought the business was headed and what we found out by listening to our customers, we decided to design the new building to handle all the customers who prefer to wait for service. Our new business will market; “You don’t need an appointment, bring it right in”. The existing 6 bay facility will handle all the traditional repairs, diagnostic work and those jobs that require longer times for completion. All basic service work will flow through the new 4 bay facility. If extensive work is found and up sold, the vehicle will flow to the 6-bay facility for completion. The new 4-bay facility will work as a feeder to increase car counts and to satisfy while-you-wait service and emergencies such as flat tires, bulbs and wipers.
     
    We tested out our new plan the beginning of 2007. We began to offer while you wait service. We asked customers when would they like to bring the car in for service. This caused a lot of problems at first and my techs rebelled. Pulling techs off of repair jobs to do an oil change or tire repair caused a lot of tension. But for the greater good we endured. After 6 months things settled down and our car counts went up. Our productivity suffered a bit, but our ARO increased due to more up sells. We pushed the envelope to see how this model would work and it did!
     
    We expect an increase in our productivity once the new 4-bays are up and the repair techs can concentrate on their jobs.
     
    Now that we have the plan, what do we do with it?
     
    Next time I’ll talk about starting the process with the site engineers and the bank.
     
    Stay tuned!
  12. Joe Marconi
    In the year prior to making the decision to grow the business and construct an additional 4 bays, I did extensive research in learning about franchise businesses, quick lubes, national chains and also big businesses such as Disney, GE, Starbucks, McDonalds and others. I wanted to find out why these businesses have a higher percentage of success and growth, as opposed to so many general independent repair shops that seem to struggle and plateau after a few years.
     
    I also visited many quick lubes and national chains to learn how they conducted business. I even took my car in for service at a few quick lubes and tire stores, without them knowing that I owned a repair shop. This experience was extremely enlightening and I advise all shop owners to do the same.
     
    What I learned from my research was that all these business differ the traditional repair shop in many ways and that there are many similarities among franchises, quick lubes and tire stores. And these similarities are not just common to the auto industry but common to all successful businesses.
     
    To be successful you need to have a plan, you need to have vision, you need to think like a businessperson, you need to market your business, you need to advertise, you need to create systems and you need to create policy that all in your company must follow. What I also learned is that the more consistent you become the more successful you become. This can only be achieved by creating systems that make your business more automatic and run without you. The more the business runs without you, the more profitable it becomes. If your business is dependent exclusively on you, your business will never grow.
     
    Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that you need to be a leader and that great leaders can't do it alone. Leaders need great people around them to accomplish great things. I created a team of advisors within my company. This team consisted of my service advisor, shop foreman and lead tech. I also recruited the help from my two sons, a financial analyst and a graphic artist. Together, we created a new plan to expand and grow the business.
     
    Stay tuned!
  13. Joe Marconi
    My bank loan for the construction project was approved last Thursday. That is a huge load off my mind. The money is not in my pocket yet; the bank still needs to do the appraisal, review the construction plans in detail and do an environmental impact study.
     
    I will let you in a few key things that made the loan process go smoother than expected. It occurred to me years ago that someday I might want to expand, purchase land or invest. To do this I would need money, lots of it. What I felt was important was to have a business that showed a profit, had growth and was involved in the community.
     
    Each year, for the last ten years I worked to insure that the business showed growth and made a profit. Another thing you need to do is to establish yourself in the community. Get active with the local chamber and other local organizations or church. Sponsor athletic teams and school activities. Get to know the people at the bank, including the loan officer and bank officials. If your bank is local and employ local people find out what functions these people are involved with and get involved. Reputation is also vital and equally important is to have a clean facility.
     
    Perhaps the most impressive thing I did was to create and extensive business plan showing past history, financial charts, employee team and our plans for the future. We outlined the area demographics and showed the potential for growth in our area. We carefully detailed the new business model and illustrated the potential growth we would have once the expansion was complete. There are many great books and computer programs that can help you with creating a professional looking business plan.
     
    Another thing a bank loves to see is a great credit rating and equity. Since I own the land, the bank looks more favorable on the project. Investing in your own property has advantages, especially if you can show sustained growth through the years.
     
    Stay tuned!
  14. Joe Marconi
    Once we made the decesion to expand, we realized we needed to create a business model that will take us to the next level. One thing we did know. If we continue to conduct business the way we did in past, we would fail. Times have changed and motoring public has changed with it.
     
    There were three factors that we considered when we developed our new business model. First, cars last longer, don’t break down as much and don’t require the same amount of service and repair work the cars did years ago. Two, every segment of the auto industry, from dealership to national chains are car cars centers now. The service and repair pie is being sliced smaller and smaller. Three, we live in fast-paced world. We can no longer expect people to be given a scheduled date for their when it suits us. We have to be accommodating to the customer and book appointments when it suits the customer. In addition, we need to handle walk-ins. Turning away unexpected people who want to wait for an oil change or state inspection is bad business, in my opinion. What’s worse, turning away first time customers. That can be the kiss of death. If you look at all the large chains, tires stores and quick lubes, they welcome walk-ins.
     
    So based on our findings, if we want to expand and add four more bays to our existing six, we need to reach out to a larger customer base in order to increase market share and car counts. This can only be accomplished by accepting walk-ins, allowing customers to schedule the service time for their car that fits into their busy schedule, extend business hours, be open on Saturdays and promote while-you-wait service.
     
    I want to make one thing very clear. I am not say that this is the only model and that the way you conduct your business is wrong. And, I am not saying that we should completely change the way we have been doing business for so many years. This is the model I created based on the changing times and changing demographics from my perspective.
     
    Next entry…how to capture a larger market share and increase car counts.
     
    Stay tuned!
  15. Joe Marconi
    Our building was approved by the Architectural Review Board last week, August 5, 2008. This is the final step in obtaining the actual building permit. We actually started in June demolishing the old building which will be replaced by the new 4 bay facility. As stated in earlier entries, this building will add 4 bays to our existing 6. The new 4-bay building will be a separate structure where all our quick, while-you-service will be performed. Our existing 6 bay facility will be our actual repair shop where larger and long term jobs will be performed.
     
    Once we have the actual building permit (which we should receive this week), the construction process will progress at a steadier pace. Our plan at this point is to get the building up and closed in by the winter. The interior will be finished during the winter months with a projected opening date of March 31, 2009.
     
    Stayed tuned!
  16. Joe Marconi
    In order for the expansion project to be successful, we need to increase revenue. With an additional 4 bays, we will have the opportunity to service more vehicles in a given day, but opportunity alone does not pay the bills. Filling those bays each day will be the challenge.
     
    I have put together a plan that will increase car counts by increasing our exposure in the community and by providing a while-you-wait service program. We have begun TV advertising the start of the summer and have already realized positive results. We made a decision to decrease all print ads and increase our direct mail advertising to existing customers and prospect customers. We spent months getting all our advertising in order: creating a central theme, logo and artwork. It’s important to be being consistent with our message, creating our brand and value proposition.
     
    Our “Say Yes” program has been a huge success and will be our platform to launch the new facility. The “Say Yes” program simply means will never say no to a customer and will make attempt to accommodate the customer on their terms. I know what your thinking, “Is he crazy, have the customer dictate the schedule?” All I can tell you is that it works. Our “Say Yes” policy has increased our car counts and gross sales. Yes, it was difficult in the beginning and our techs did revolt. But after they saw an increase in productivity pay, they quickly changed their minds.
     
    We also plan on having radio ads and expand our exposure on the Internet, using Google and Yahoo. In addition to our paper newsletter, we started a monthly email newsletter, which is sent to all customers and all businesses the area. Email programs are extremely cost effective and can be launched at a moments notice.
     
    The last piece of the plan involves teamwork. We have created in-house customer training seminars to reinforce the value of customer service to all employees. Marketing starts and ends at the front counter. The best brake job in the world means nothing if the service you provide is not world-class.
     
    Next, I will share how to organize a large project.
     
    Stay tuned!
  17. Joe Marconi
    Before I made the final decision to expand from 6 bays to 10, I asked myself a series of questions: Why expand? How will the expansion affect my current business? How much of an increase in car counts do we need in order to support the expansion? How much of an increase in revenue do we need to support the new mortgage? How will this affect the future of the property? Will the population in my area justify the expansion? Who is my competition? What legal steps do I need to take? Are there demographic trends in my area that would be a benefit or hindrance to the project? What do I need to learn in order to make this work?
     
    As I mentioned in previous blog entries, you cannot take on a project of this size by yourself. There are just too many variables and issues along the way. Plus, I needed to also pay attention to my existing business. I give a lot of credit to people like Donald Trump and Bill Gates who have the talent and genius to organize large projects. But their strength is in HOW they organize the project, not in actually WORKING the project. You will never see Donald Trump working a crane or bulldozer, nor will you ever see Bill Gates assembling a hard drive. Their strength is in their vision and ability to bring a project from concept to reality.
     
    Since I don’t have the financial resources of people like Bill Gates, I needed to organize the project, create a plan and outline a detailed list with goals of items that needed to be done. After the initial concept and business model was created, I created a goal sheet of all the things that needed to be accomplished. This included items such as meetings with contractors, a site engineer, an architect, my bank loan officer, a business consultant and my lawyer. My plan had to make legal sense and financial sense.
     
    The next step after I picked my professional team was to create a goal sheet and timeline that I could refer to on a weekly basis to get periodic updates from my team. In this way I could track their progress and make adjustments. This team would be needed to get all the town approvals and permits. This process took almost 2 years.
     
    While all this is happening, the actual business model, building design and details of the new facility had to be developed and refined. My next blog entry will outline the next steps.
     
    Stay tuned!
  18. Joe Marconi
    This past week the foundation for the new building was completed and the land is now being graded in preparation for the new blacktop. The process of constructing the walls will start within two weeks. The dream is slowly becoming a reality.
     
    Earlier in the week I met with the general contractor, bank project manager, electrician, plumber, architect, excavator, the building inspector, Hunter Alignment rep, Rotary Lift rep, advertising agent, overhead door company and the company that will be installing the bulk oil tanks and pumps. By Thursday night I was shot! I didn’t sleep that night at all.
     
    I am now in the phase of the project that you begin to second guess yourself. Did I make the bay sizes correct? Did I pick the right equipment? Did I pick the right people do construct the building? Did I get the best rate for the bank loan? Will I be able to increase the business to repay the loan? Question after question I asked myself into the wee hours of the morning. I was a walking Zombie by Friday.
     
    The excavator needed to break up the driveway to run power lines and drains and decided to work through the weekend so as not to disturb my business. This morning, Sunday, I picked up coffee and donuts and brought it down to the crew. There were very thankful.
     
    Do you think I am scared? You bet! But I can’t quit now and need to put my faith into the belief that all the preparation to this point will pay off. Did I make mistakes this past year? Tons of mistakes! Mistakes that cost me dearly. But that’s all part of the process.
     
    All I can say is, if it were easy everybody would be doing it. Fear keeps people from sometimes achieving their potential. It kept me from growing my business for years until I asked myself what’s the worst that could happen? Actually the worst would be to loose everything, but I don’t think that will happen. After 28 years in business, this is something I need to do and want to do.
     
    Stay tuned!


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