Do you wonder what it takes to have the auto repair business of your dreams? Do you wonder what is required day in and day out to ensure that you don’t worry endlessly about cash flow, about where your next customers are coming from, and about how you can get your staff to buy into your vision?
Would you like to know what makes one auto repair business owner successful, while so many others struggle to survive? After speaking with 1000’s of mechanics in 2015, I’ve noticed that there are 5 common habits that successful auto repair business adopt and master.
These habits aren’t about the technical skills required to fix a vehicle. A superior level of technical ability is assumed at the level of business ownership that these mechanics have. These habits reflect key choices may by these individuals everyday. They know how to prioritize, and they can clearly articulate their goals and share them with others. They are employee centric. They know how to ask for help, and do so often. They also know how to demand the best of themselves.
Let’s take an in depth look at how you can learn these habits too!
Habit 1 – They Prioritize.
Being able to prioritize your day is the number one key habit of a successful auto repair business owner. Why? Because without this ability, you are not able to see the big picture. You become reactive to issues that arise, rather than sticking to your chosen top level tasks for the day.
Here are 3 ways you can learn to effectively prioritise your day to ensure maximum productivity and profit:
- Be in control of your morning. When arriving at the workshop, set your day up for success by assessing the days workload, and what is required from you as the owner.
- Create a success list, not a to-do-list. Your success list should be one or two tasks that will help you meet your goals, not full of things that you tick off top to bottom. Of the other tasks to be done, to whom will these be delegated? Be clear with the task, what is required, and by when it is to be completed.
- Don’t not stray from your mission for the day. Whether this is set mechanical work, or you have marketing, financial, or employee focused tasks to complete, don’t let small issues that arise distract you. All non-urgent tasks that arise must wait, or be delegated out for completion.
Habit 2 – They Are Crystal Clear On Their Goals, and They Share Them with Others.
Owning a business without any clear vision and goals is a recipe for owning a job. And this is where the majority of auto repair business owners end up. Their dreams of achieving substantial profits and a comfortable lifestyle go by the wayside, as soon enough they get tied up in being “busy” and don’t spend any time working out what they want to do, and by when.
Successful auto repair business owners, on the other hand, know exactly what their goals are at all times, because they are written everywhere, and talked about often. Successful auto repair business owners share their goals with others, because there is a level of accountability associated with this information being public. These business owners have the attitude that once these goals are communicated to others, they will be achieved.
Here are the things you can do to successfully adopt this habit:
- Take time to consider your business direction, and what you want from your business, at least monthly. Gain crystal clear clarity on what will be required to achieve the business that provides you everything you need.
- Set goals that are realistic, measurable, and achievable. Write them down, display them, and review them often.
- Share your goals with the people who are key to you achieving your goals…YOUR TEAM. They must be on board with your mission and vision or you will face and up hill battle right from the start.
Habit 3 – They Are Employee Centric
Richard Branson is famous for his thinking around how you treat employees, and his quoted remarks are pertinent… “ The way you treat your employees is the way you will treat your customers”, and “ If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple”.
This adoption of this success habit really can really define your entire operation. How many times have you wondered why your staff don’t do things the way you would like, or wondered why your customers are behaving toward you the way that they are?
Your staff will follow your lead whether that is what you want or not, so choose your actions carefully.
Here are 3 ways you can look after your staff and become more employee centric:
- Don’t look at them as staff any more, look at them as talent. It changes your whole view. Staff meetings are now talent meetings. Annual staff reviews are now annual talent reviews.
- Don’t talk at the talent, talk with them. Invite them to join decision making processes and let them sit with ideas in order for them to become solution focused, rather then run to you with their problems. Becoming solution focused means that they will solve problems with customers when they arise, leaving you to work on your high level priorities.
- Ask and listen. Be genuinely interested in the goals of your talent. If you can help them achieve their career goals, they in turn will help you achieve your business goals.
Habit 4- Successful Auto Repair Business Owners Demand the Best From Themselves.
Because you are always busy being busy, you would often find yourself stressed out and flustered. It doesn’t take much for you to display undesirable behavior toward a customer or your talent. Even your closest friends and family can’t bear the brunt of your misguided frustration.
When faced with an unpleasant or undesirable situation, successful auto repair business owners don’t react first and then think about what they should have done later. They always remember to think first. In many ways, they are asking of themselves “what would my highest self do in this situation”.
Because they display the first 3 habits daily, they make their decisions fast, but from a place of certainty and big picture thinking.
Where it might be tempting to verbally berate the customer that is verbally berating you or your talent, the successful auto repair business owner thinks of the long term effects that this could have. Blowing of steam in the short term is not the answer. Calming the customer down and working toward a mutually beneficial outcome is.
Here are 3 ways you can learn to demand the best of yourself daily:
- Adapt habits 1, 2, and 3! These clear the path for you to be in a position to think clearly.
- Fully assess a situation before acting. What is best for your business in the long run?
- Ask those around you to demand the best of themselves, daily. Imagine how your immediate environment will change for the better if this were to take place!
Habit 5 – They Ask For Help!
Yep. They do. Successful auto repair business owners are successful because they aren’t afraid to ask for help. As you would already know, you don’t get much training in the art of running a business while you are an apprentice, if you are lucky enough to get any at all.
But the self employed mechanics that go on to run highly profitable businesses do so because they know how to leverage the skills and knowledge of those who are more successful than them. At some point they have all studied another successful business person, attended self or business development courses, or had a business coach or mentor.
Here are 3 ways you too can learn to ask for help:
- Stop kidding yourself. You know you need help to make your auto repair business truly great.
- Look around you and assess what resources could be available to you already, and which ones you could ask for.
- Take action. Action takers get the rewards. The ones who only think about what they might do…well…they are still thinking about what they might do. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as your first action step to tell me how you are going to adapt the 5 habits of successful auto repair business owners!
Armed with these 5 success habits, you can have the income and lifestyle that you deserve. But they take work. You must teach yourself these new habits, and be patient. You may have a few false starts, but as you let the other people around you know of your plans, you will find support, buy in from talent, and the time to work on what is really important!