Snr VP Business Development
First off, let’s define operational. Operational is a term adapted from philosophy and science to the world of business. It means the business is functioning effectively and its processes and procedures are running smoothly. In other words, everyone in the business knows their job functions and is executing these functions efficiently. Having a truly operational business system results in a higher profits and sustainability. Generally speaking, the business runs very well without the owner’s constant attention.
What will it take to get your business to run at this highly efficient state? Let’s take a look at this point-by-point and see if we can map out a plan that will allow you to reach this ideal land.
Most entrepreneurs go into business with the goals of sustained financial security and personal freedom that elude many people who work for someone else. This being said, the ability to set effective goals for yourself and your business is vital to your success.
Although, many technicians have dealership experience, they are not necessarily exposed to the dealership’s organizational and operational systems. Consequently, these technicians are left with limited knowledge of operating a growing business.
In the start-up stages, it may appear that little organization is needed to experience some initial business growth. However, in the long-run, knowledge of how to operate all aspects of a business from marketing, sales, employees, production, operations, accounting, collections and expansion are key to a successful business.
Most people in our industry start out on the technical side. They’re good techs but have only learned that one side of the business. A business cannot grow without people who are well trained in all aspects of business operations. Knowing how to recruit, hire and train the right employees is imperative. Without good hiring techniques the business will most likely stay small, leaving the business owner wearing to many hats and feeling over worked.
A common error among small business owners is to assume that their employees value their business as much as they do. As a result, issues that are painfully obvious to the owner are often overlooked by employees, resulting in owners feeling disappointed and frustrated. It is important for a business owner to clearly communicate the BIG PICTURE of their business and motivate their employees to subscribe to their vision and goals. Having competent employees who clearly understand and appreciate all of the shop functions is critical to the success of a business. Otherwise, the business owner may feel like they have all of the functions of the shop wrapped around their neck.
“Build a better mousetrap and consumers will beat a path to your door.” Maybe you have heard this old adage. The problem with this saying is…it is incomplete. You could build the best mouse trap the world has ever seen, but without a good marketing plan no one will ever know about it. Without a good marketing plan and competent people on the front lines who know how to sell your services, your business won’t thrive. We live in a very transitional period. No one marketing vehicle can stand alone. Only the most carefully crafted strategical marketing plans will allow you to outshine the rest.
Probably the hardest thing you will do is learn how to transition out of the back to the front office, and then ultimately out of the front, too. But you must do this if you have the goal of being highly operational. You have to learn how to correctly recruit, hire and train technicians to handle your shop efficiently. You have to know how to attract the right talent up front and train them to take care of your customers the way you do. Then the final transition point is learning to trust someone to handle the day-to-day management of the business for you. This is a process that takes knowledge, skill and patience. But, if you gain the needed knowledge and management skills you will be rewarded with the successful shop and life you envision.
According to a 2015 market research study conducted by IBISWorld, the auto repair industry is in growth mode. “The Auto Mechanics industry has grown steadily over the last five years. Individuals and businesses have increased demand for industry services, as rising disposable income encourages consumers to opt for auto mechanic services over do-it-yourself repair. In the coming years, disposable income levels are expected to continue to grow, encouraging consumers to spend more on the maintenance and repair of their vehicles.” The IBIS report shows the current revenue for the auto mechanic industry is currently at $57 billion. So we ask you…. Do you want to take advantage of this industry growth trend? Or, do you want to sit on the sidelines and watch others prosper?
Management Success has been helping shop owners for over 20 years achieve their goals, and have the life they envisioned. Take the next step to being highly operational by going to www.ManagementSuccess.com and taking our free online Shop Analysis Tool!
*IBISworld Mechanics Market Research Report