Women In Auto Care – February 2020

Women In Auto Care

This year’s theme is Performance Driven.

I found my tribe. Women who are building leadership skills that help them grow both personally and professionally. There is a vibe at this event I enjoy. Women from all areas of the auto care industry in one room who are making a difference in the industry. Getting different perspectives of the industry broadens my view. Women sharing what is working and lessons learned helps me as a leader, coach, and business owner.

This supportive group has mentoring available. The value of speaking with someone who has been there and navigated through challenges is valuable.

Each year I look forward to our leadership conference to connect with industry peers and make new friends. Traveling affords me the opportunity to get away from the day to day and experience another part of the country. The takeaways are priceless and I’m always grateful when I come home. Check out Women In Auto Care for more information.

Comment below. If you have questions contact me here.

one word

Leadership and Your Word

Keep It Simple

Small business owner have a lot to focus on. Heres a way to keep it simple. Each year I choose a word that represents what I will focus on that year. This year it’s “Self-Care.”

I’m not big on resolutions defined as (To start or stop doing something) Understand, I thrive on accountability.  I own several businesses and accountability is a must for me because it’s the only way to get my desired results.

The one-word idea was introduced to me a few years ago and since then I share it all the time. It’s my non-negotiable for the year. So, I’m including a self-care activity each day. It could be exercise, reading, getting a haircut, a phone call to a friend or a walk in the park. Something that brings me joy and allows me to unplug for a little while. Self-care includes getting enough sleep.

You see, I love what I do and can easily get immersed in a project or idea and want to run with it. In the past this has led to staying up late and throwing off my energy in other areas of my life. I’m sure we can all relate.

My one word helps me to focus on growing to be the best version of myself to best serve my customers/clients, businesses and my family without burning myself out. It’s more than making a living. It’s about making a difference.


Business Owner/Leader Mindset

Most small business owners started as operaters in business. As an operator/technician a to-do list works for the tasks that must get done, but as an owner, you’re responsible for

  • the company’s vision 
  • the company’s brand
  • empowering your team

While many business owners are great at making to-do lists. Not as many have a plan. A to-do list should support a plan and without a plan you feel like you’re spinning you wheels. As a result owners say their busy but, they’re not getting their desired results and wonder why.

Sometimes it’s easier to understand with an example outside of your business. If you want to build a home, chances are you wouldn’t just purchase materials and start building. You would have a plan and revise if needed.

Things to consider

  • Location- Family and work?
  • Size – Growing family or downsizing?
  • Budget – Within your means or get in over your head?
  • Lifestyle – Entertain, hobbies, schools, activities, quiet space?

With a plan you feel in control and confident to go ahead with the build, so why don’t most do this with business ownership?

Many business owners started out doing something we enjoyed and became good at it. Then the idea of business ownership takes over. The challenge is the thing that you’re good at requires different skills from the ones needed as a business owner.

In the past you may have been responsible for an area of business such as production, but as an owner and leader, now you’re responsible for the people who are responsible for production. Even if you have a one-person business, this leadership mindset is needed to grow, otherwise you have yourself a job. If you keep doing and not focus on the planning (strategy), you will find yourself spinning your wheels but not moving forward. I suggest trying the one-word approach to keep you focused and aligned this year. Your team, customers and family will notice that you enjoy your business. You will also feel more in control and confident about the decisions you make. Better decisions will help your bottom line by making your business more profitable and sustainable.

How Does Working With Family Work?

The Debate

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This is a topic I often have with business owners. It can be a controversial topic because it can feel personal. Some will say it can work and others will say it can’t. I say it depends.  It depends on your mindset going into the working relationship.  

  • Looking for cheap help it won’t work.                               
  • Make your decision from fear or the overwhelm of business ownership it won’t work.
  • Take the approach that they should or they owe you in some way, it won’t work.

As a result you or your family member will end up with resentment, which could jeopardize your relationship outside of work. Business success shouldn’t come at the expense of relationships.

If you come from a mindset of you get to work with them instead of you have-to work with them, it makes a difference. Your company culture should work for both family and non-family team members alike.

Three Must-Dos

  • Share your WHY. Money is not a why. Money is the result of working.  What is the real reason you started your business? You could have continued working elsewhere or changed your career. Why did you start a business? We all have a story. Tell yours. Your core values will show up.
  • Only hire family if they have the attitude and skills for the job or position. Sales, Marketing, People, Operations, Finances. If they couldn’t get hired by another company for the same job, why would you hire them or anyone who isn’t a good fit. Formalize their hire the same as other team members with documentation, job descriptions and promotions based on merit.
  • Business ownership is your dream. It may not be theirs. They will learn and developing skills, but they may not be there forever. Don’t pressure them or make them feel obligated. Everyone needs to find their own path.

I have first had experience with this. Tony and I have been working together since 1999. He had the technical experience and I had banking experience. When we started working together, we saw qualities in each other that we hadn’t seen before. We also saw weaknesses. It was easy to be supportive of the other when one of us was stepping out of our comfort zone or building a new skill. When we were both challenged with growth at the same time, it was hard to see the other person’s struggle and difficult to be supportive. With three young children, those were hard times. Once we realized what was happening, we could work through it to be supportive of each other as we built our skill sets and grew personally and professionally.  This made our trust in each other, relationship and business stronger.

Our oldest daughter joined us full time in 2015 and is still working with us. All our children have worked in the business part time when they were young. At work we are Maryann and Tony. Outside of work we are mom and dad. It may feel strange at first, but it works. Some vendors, suppliers or newer team members had no idea our daughter was working with us and were surprised when they found out.

Mindset: Dont Take Family for Granted

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As family, we tend to know a lot about each other so in a work enviornment it’s easy to make assumptions. It’s healthier for the business to treat family with the same respect you would give any team member. Hold them accountable as any team member but don’t be harder on family members which can be easy to do.

  • Appreciate the value, attitude and skills they bring to the business
  • Be open to feedback and new ideas
  • Give them the opportunity to grow and develop skills.

For these reasons, I never pressured my children to work at our transmission shop. My daughter and I were interviewed a couple of years ago. The topic was family businesses. She shared an insight that I heard for the first time. It was interesting that she saw us as more than mom and dad. Seeing what we created and the work that went into it. She wanted to bring value and saw an opportunity to mix old school ways with new ideas and felt that she was contributing, learning and growing and saw us doing the same.

What I know is change is inevitable. Embrace change and grow. Resist it and growth will pass you by. Every team member brings value to your business. Do you see the value in every team member and appreciate them? Your mindset is a choice on how you show up each day.