Most shop owners start with grit, drive and determination to build their dream. Doing it all and working long hours, believing that once they reach a certain level in business the day to day will become easier.
The challenge is the habits created early on stop serving you, your team and your business. These habits, routines and the belief that you must do it all end up holding your business back from next leveling.
Once you start developing a leader mindset (Part 1 Mindset Success) the next step is your business strategy. Too often doers want to implement before they have a plan or a vision of where they want to go. Implementation is important but not without knowing if you’re implementing the right thing at the right time.
You wouldn’t teach a child to ride a bike by telling them to pedal and then let go.
- Start with a helmet and training wheels
- Walk along-side them
- Then take one training wheel off
- Hold the bike when the 2nd training wheel comes off
Before you know it, they are ready to ride on their own. I can still remember the wind in my hair, the feeling of freedom and sense of accomplishment as a child when I first rode my bike.
Sequencing is the key takeaway.
Focusing on the right things in the right order are key to a thriving business. One that is Profitable, Sustainable and Enjoyable. As a shop owner understanding your plan for your business starts with your vision. Allow yourself to be creative. Use your imagination. Some examples may be:
- Security and Debt Free
- Reputable Brand
- Work-Life Balance
- Give Back
If a shop owner starts with implementing and strictly focuses on working on the vehicles without a plan, it’s easy to create a commodity business. This can lead to attracting the wrong customers and team members. This will often show up as feeling the need to discount, poor reviews and team turnover.
Unpacking your vision is simpler than it sounds. List what it will take to achieve it and you’ve created a goal.
- The Revenue Needed (Secure and Debt-Free)
- Clear Values and Aligned Messaging (Great Brand/Reputation)
- Systems and Processes with Team Accountability (Work-Life Balance)
- Opportunities Time Provides (Give Back to Community/Industry)
It’s easier to create an outcome goal such as a revenue goal when it’s tied to security and being debt free. Understand that tapping into your leader within as a shop owner in is a journey. Creating your simple systems and processes doesn’t take as much time as you may think. Start with what you are already doing each day such as the opening and closing procedures in your shop.
Create a list of the steps
Understand this is a work in progress and will be updated as your business grows.
- Bullet Point the steps Example: Start with when you pull up to your shop, where to park, what to look for outside, Unlocking the door/alarm, Key drop and What to turn on, etc.
- Go back and list nuisances and a little detail Example: Park vehicles facing the building.
- Try the procedure yourself then with someone in the shop Example: Give them the list without directions
- Get feedback and see what you missed Example: What needed more clarification?
- Tweak Improve list and test again
- Make the procedure available to your team Example: Binder, online, and on computer.
The fact is you have systems and processes. Getting them out of your head is freeing. Set a few minutes aside each week to come up with a new bullet pointed procedure. Know in the industry as an SOP (standard operating procedure.) It will empower your team. Don’t be surprised if they improve on them. Value their input and encourage collaboration.
The real power of systems and processes is the freedom it gives an owner. You can be away from your shop when you need or want to, and your team has the tools needed to run your business.
This allows you the time for strategy and planning, which leads to better decision making. You’ll start realizing opportunities that were right in front of you all along. Here’s to starting the new year off focusing on the strategy needed to make your business a thriving business (more profitable, sustainable and enjoyable).