If there is one thing most shop owners have in common, it’s that they have big hearts. They typically start their careers as technicians, and, as soon as they have their own shops, they want to help as many people as they can. To achieve this goal, they network through their family and friends and do everything in their power to get the word out into their communities about their shop. And then the inevitable happens: they wake up one morning and decide it’s finally time to advertise.
If you had told Chris Cloutier six years ago that he would be running a successful auto repair business with his brother, Patrick, he would have laughed. But that’s exactly what happened when they decided to buy an existing shop in Rowlett, TX – off of Craigslist no less – and turn it into Golden Rule Auto Care.
“As long as I can remember, ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be my own boss,” was the remark made by new business owner Dallas Griswold when asked what had made him decide to buy his own business. Nothing can better define the entrepreneurial spirit than that simple response, which really tells the whole story.
In 1995, we moved our shop from the corner of a busy intersection to a sunken strip mall a half-block from the main road. We went from 100,000 cars driving by every day to 1,000 — maybe 1,500 on a great day. We went from a locked-in customer base to building a customer base from scratch.
The Internet has forever changed the way consumers shop. Today, competitors are always just a click, text or email away. In this new age, simply having an online presence isn’t enough. Shop owners who want to succeed must develop a comprehensive online marketing strategy designed to both attract and retain customers.