It’s Not Your Fault Until it is.

I had some recent conversations with small business owners. All looking for ways to improve an area of their business. The conversations had to do with Sales, Profits, Processes, Customers or Teams. I thought it was interesting, how the conversations and questions came back to teams.

The fact is you can’t grow your business alone without sacrificing another part of your life.  I’ve seen many make sacrifices in their personal life at the expense of their family to turn their business dream into a reality. 

At some point you realize you need a team. Even if it’s adding one person. The biggest mistake owners make is not focusing on their culture. You start with an ad and then work on getting the systems and processes out of your head and documented. These are important steps by not without defining your business culture. Culture is like a magnet. It will attract the right people and repel the rest. Mastery of your business culture will give your business a competitive advantage by making it healthy. (Profitable, Sustainable and Enjoyable)

I find that most owners look outward to make changes when it comes to their team. They usually mention at least one of these areas they would like to improve.

  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Motivation

 I challenge you to look at this differently. Start your culture journey by looking within. Small business owners have lots of areas they are responsible for. How you show up every day is your choice.

As Owner and Leader

  1. How is your communication? Not only at work but in life. What do the closest people to you say about your communication style? To have a higher level of communication your team needs to be able to discuss things with you. Talking at people or telling them what to do is not communication. Communication involves listening.
  2. How accountable are you? It’s easy to set goals but having a process to achieve them is very different. It’s easy to create habits when your starting out that end up not serving you, your team or your business.
  3. What motivates you each day? You already know what drives you. Motivation is internal. Don’t focus on motivating others. It’s short sighted and you will be continually looking for the next thing.  Your mission and vision will inspire the right people for your team.

Start with Your Core Values

Write them down and live them each day. At the end of the day look for instances where your core values showed up. How would you rate yourself? How do they show up when you’re under pressure?

Assign Outcomes

Most new leaders or business owners will assign tasks instead of outcomes. By assigning a task, people will naturally come back for the next task. When you assign an outcome, people take on the responsibility to get the job done.

Your business will grow as you, the owner grows.  Whether through podcasts, books, blogs, trainings, articles, accountability partners, mentoring, consulting, training or coaching you will discover the “you don’t know what you don’t know” areas in your business.

You will always be learning and building skills so it’s not your fault, until it is your fault because:

  • You’ve identified the challenge
  • You know how to solve it
  • You don’t act on it

Fear will hold many owners back from implementing and achieving.  Have you ever created a story around your fear, justifying it, while another business owner did what you were afraid to do? We’ve all been there personally and professionally. Don’t allow the thing that is holding your business back, be you.

Hero or Guide

Is Your Business A Resource Or A Hero?

I had a conversation with a client recently and they realized that they had positioned their company has a hero. They are simple the best at everything including team, warranty, quality, the list went on and on about themselves.

How does a shop appear to a customer when you position your business at a hero? When you are speaking about yourself or your company and all the equipment, training, and certifications you have, the customer gets lost. Nothing in that messaging is about them. When your goal is to be a hero, anything that goes wrong can quickly result in being a zero to a customer. When your goal is to be a resource, your position your business as a guide for your customers. Help, support, advice and guide them.

Here’s what works.

Making the customer the star. Whether you are networking at a local event, sharing a great customer review, latest project or working on your website copy, you’re the resource and your customer is the star. Cheer them on.

When you get a complement.  Say thank you and credit your team. Credit the customer with bringing their vehicle in right away saving themselves time and money. Complement their friend who referred you. They’re a long-time customer.

When posting a review. Thank you for choosing __________. We value your trust! Or You’ve been a star customer regularly maintaining your vehicle adding years to it life.

GOOD, BAD and UGLY approach

The good is about the customer/client: 1) The customer addressed their concern early? 2)The Customer chose a reputable shop offering a great warranty.  3) By getting the vehicle here early, the work can be taken care of today. 4) They chose a shop that offers financing, loaner vehicles, shuttles rides. (whatever their need is.)  5) They made a great choice. This work is your specialty.

The bad is the concern or problem? Simply state the facts. The situation as it is. No drama. They have a concern. You address it, test and analyze it to come to a diagnosis. Present it in a matter-of-fact way.  Do not use ‘I’ve got bad news’ or negative statements.

They ugly is what happens if they don’t address the problem. Be honest. How will it affect their life? 1) Larger costs by holding off on repair 2) Driving and unsafe vehicle 3) Driving an unreliable vehicle. 4) Cost of a new vehicle and the associated costs. 5) Customer has not budgeted for auto repair. 6) Vehicles tend to break down at the worst times.

All of this brings us back full circle to the good and all the ways you can guide them to get the most value out of their vehicle, allowing them to make the best auto decision and go on with their lives and their responsibilities, making them the hero. They have others depending on them.

Over the years, I’ve found that no matter what services I’ve purchased the follow is true.

“I’ve learned that people won’t remember what you said
And people won’t remember what you did
People will only remember how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou

If a company can solve my problem, can clearly explain the price, time frame of the work and treats me with respect, they will earn my trust. If they treat me like a person and not a transaction, they earn my loyalty.

Operate, Build and Grow a Healthy Business. (Profitable, Sustainable and Enjoyable) Wednesday, Nov. 13th, 2019 Trumbull, CT

It all starts with the 5 pillars in any business. Sales Marketing, Financials, Operations, People. You may not be an expert in all areas. As a business owner you are responsible for all of them. With a pro mindset, learn how to align what you enjoy doing with the activities that need to get done at each stage of business. Leave with your road map and next steps. Register for the class here.