Are You Ready for the Most Important Step in Your Business?

greenwood1-banner-665There are shop owners across Canada that have worked diligently “ON” their business for years compared to “IN” their business, where so many owners have found themselves trapped.

These “ON” your business silent minority owners understand the difference between cost and investment into the business. They understand that Net Income is a word they embrace; they insist the business provides a professional income for their own family and their staff and they build a great loyal clientele and customer base. One other important point is they develop a proven historical record to show that the business has a “progressive system” in place to sustain profitability and grow the business through on-going evaluation procedures so it can be sold properly down the road.

Everything appears to be on track for those progressive shops, BUT how can an average shop reach that level when the path for the next five years is far from crystal clear?

Perhaps you’re one of those shop owners now ready for the next step in your business.

The next step, which today many progressive shops don’t talk too much about, is the understanding of having a personal Business Coach and Mentor working behind the scenes with them on their business.

This is a very humbling step and process to go through. It’s very private and confidential; it’s personal; it’s focused; it makes people throughout the shop accountable; everything is measured monthly in the business, and most important, if you’re truly an entrepreneur capable of taking direction, it brings incredible results.

A professional coaching and mentoring service is not something you sign up for. It’s a service you must apply for.

The best quality and proven coaching and mentoring services specialize in the automotive service shop business. That’s all they do. They evaluate the business and industry continuously viewing everything from the outside at that 10,000 foot level required today, to see how the business and Aftermarket is evolving and what issues will affect their clientele. The Business Coach supports the owner completely through being very accessible. They also provide the necessary management and staff business training to move things forward.

The coaching/mentoring service has a procedure and process for their new potential clients to take before they are even accepted as a client because this will be a 3 to 5 year contractual relationship. In all cases, there will be a minimum prerequisite of having attended certain business courses within the past year and a half to ensure the owner has a thorough understanding of today’ business realities. It will always involve a complete in-depth analysis of the business’ Financial Statements for the past 2 to 4 years. The reason for this is because the service company wants to know if a minimum of an additional $75,000 to $100,000 in gross profit per year is buried in the current business which, when pulled out, provides an excellent return for the business for the fees being paid for the service. Also interviews with the owner are completed to ensure the owner is committed to the business changes that the coach knows will be required and, most importantly, the coach/mentor and owner’s personalities can work together.

Too many shop owners think a coaching service will “do it for me” which means “they don’t get it”, compared to the understanding of what the owner is really looking for today which is, “what should I do, where do I direct my time and efforts and how do I do it to get the results?”

The service is very in-depth, but when you think about it, the coaching/mentoring service must be in-depth as running a professional automotive service shop is the most complex retail business in the marketplace today. Most shops would automatically say, “I can’t afford such a service”, but that means the owner is not thinking like an entrepreneur and has closed the door before even looking into the next room. When the coaching service is a quality service, their fees turn out to be equivalent to an inexpensive part time employee that provides a solid return.

The coach/mentor is NOT going to take the shop on as a client IF the service does not provide a proper financial return. No reputable business coach will accept a client that is set up for failure, and that’s why they are very specific as to their processes of evaluating potential clients. An entrepreneurial thinking shop owner understands that and will be looking for the return for the investment to be made before the service is going to be accepted. The Business Coach is looking at the owner’s capability, attitude of being able to do what he/she said they would do as well as the true desire to grow their business. You can have all the systems, procedures and quality advice available, BUT if the owner can’t follow through with his/her responsibility and do what they said they will do due to on-going self-discipline issues, the coach will not allow that owner onto his team.

Once the Business Coach has at least 6 and maximum 8 clients in a region, he will organize a confidential Focus Group because then like mind-set owners can get together, with the Coach as the facilitator, to share valuable marketplace experiences and information, evaluate each other’s businesses using the same measurement criteria (comparing apples with apples) and analyzing required internal business processes. This provides more accountability for each member to ensure things are on track to getting done. Talk is cheap. It’s the results that are important.

The Aftermarket must move into the 21st Century and start embracing modern techniques and new services that moves their business forward. The shop owner can no longer do it all him/herself or operate on his/her own, like being on an island, thinking they know it all and are aware of all the changes coming down the road that will affect their business. This is an in-depth Profession today, and the business capabilities must be put in place to ensure the success of the enterprise.

So I ask again, “Are you ready for the next most important step in your business to ensure its survival and prosperity?”

Investigating this topic may be the best exercise of your time that you ever do for yourself and your business.


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