Five Tips To Make 2023 All It Can Be

Five Tips To Make 2023 All It Can Be

Successful outcomes start with a plan but YOU provide the juice needed to maintain momentum.

As we start 2023 fresh and look ahead, it seems like the year’s end is a long way off. In reality, once we hit the end of February, we’ve already eclipsed 16% of the year. Time moves at a rapid pace and the goal for this month’s article is to have you make the most of every single day of this (and every other) year moving forward. 

Remember that time is our most precious commodity and that no day, hour or minute can ever be recovered. As you stand at the on-ramp to 2023, commit to make every second count, whether you are in the shop, on the road or having fun on vacation. Balancing business and personal time is just as, if not more, important as an increase to the bottom line!

Here are five techniques you can use to make 2023 the best it can be!

Take Inventory

You are surrounded by talented employees, but what skills are overlooked or go unused? Could they need some upgrading through training? World-class talent doesn’t blossom on its own. 

Take stock, or inventory, of each of your team member’s skill level, looking for mastery of skills required for each position. Rate them on a scale from 1-10, 10 being full mastery. Also, look at each employee’s role and the skills required, along with the capacity to perform those duties. In the technical arena, an alignment tech may not have the need or desire to become a diagnostician. And, it’s likely the diagnostic tech won’t want to brush up on his undercar skills. Techs are much more productive and happy when they are performing the work they are best suited for and enjoy doing.

Your goal should be to have a balanced shop with highly trained techs in every category and brand of vehicles your shop services.

Then, organize your personnel and types of repairs to maximize quality of work, shop productivity and efficiency.

Brian Bates of Eagle Automotive Service in Littleton, CO, follows this procedure to advance employees and grow his team and their abilities, which is one of the principles that has been a cornerstone of his growth from one to nine locations.

Shops that routinely evaluate and adjust these assets are more productive and, more importantly, have a higher employee retention rate. In today’s demanding job market, having a formal evaluation and training program will give your staff one more reason to stay, and will attract higher-quality candidates as the need presents itself.

Set, Monitor and Achieve Goals

There is no better time to set a goal than right now. Especially at this time of year, some people shudder at the thought of setting goals, reasoning that they’ll never miss an unset goal. Fear of failure is very common among automotive shop owners and, by extension, the team working with them. Yet, what is more rewarding than hitting a manageable goal?! Breaking your annual sales goal down to monthly, weekly and daily numbers, even down to each tech, is an easy way to make progress toward your goal.

Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You’ll also miss 100% of your unset goals. Take some time now to set your goals, share them with your team, set your expectations and monitor each milestone toward your goal. 

And don’t hesitate to make those goals impressive. In his book Built to Last, Jim Collins presented the idea of the BHAG, a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” He found a common denominator within some of the oldest and most profitable U.S. companies, and that was a BHAG set by management and shared by each member of the company. The BHAG was central to the success and growth of the organization.

Consider at least one BHAG for your shop!

Big goals can be scary but also can propel your team to unity, drive and a relentless need to meet the goal. 

Roll with the Punches

The last few years have made it clear…stuff happens and the ability to adapt to the situation at hand is crucial to survival and success. Make your plans and be ready to correct your course as needed while maintaining forward momentum toward your goal.

In the best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey names Habit Number 2 this: Begin with the end in mind. “Begin each day, task or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen,” he counsels.

Always push forward using your individual, daily, weekly and monthly goals as measure of small victories and accomplishments.

Read a Book

Business books, professional development books and leadership books populate many of today’s successful automotive shop owners’ bookshelves.

Charles “Tremendous” Jones says, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Today, I am an avid reader, though that wasn’t the case years ago. I’ll admit that I was slow and some of the concepts I was reading didn’t translate from the page to my brain. I shifted from traditional books to audio books and that was all it took to connect the concept to comprehension. Now, I prefer a good hard-cover book to its audio counterpart, but whatever the medium, consuming the knowledge shared in books is a great way to build on the knowledge base you have right now. Audio books are also a way to maximize your drive time!

By putting yourself on a path to personal and business growth, you’ll be more successful tomorrow than you are today.  

Be on the lookout

It’s a fact that opportunities abound for those searching for them. Shop owners who are connected with like-minded businessmen in their community find that a fair share of opportunities come their way. A recent benchmarking report by AutoLeap revealed that 64% of shop owners will retire in the next 10 years. One-third of that group has no succession plan. So, what happens to the facility, employees, customers and equipment? Could this be an opportunity for your growth by adding another location? Perhaps absorbing customers or techs looking for their next shop? 

Another example could be mentoring an entry-level employee; volunteering and sharing your skills at a local auto tech program; or getting involved with community efforts create an outlet for giving back to the community of which you are a part. 

In conclusion, remember that successful outcomes start with a plan. While the plan may change, the trajectory you set out with won’t. Your plan gets you moving, and you provide the juice needed to maintain momentum. By using these 5 tips over the course of the year, you’ll end the year knowing you’ve made 2023 all it could be.

Vic Tarasik has been an independent auto repair professional for more than four decades and is the former owner of Vic’s Precision Automotive in The Woodlands, Texas. He is the founder of Shop Owner Coach, a coaching and training organization that is committed to helping independent repair shop owners achieve their dreams through the intentional application of best business practices. For a complimentary 30-minute session coaching session contact Vic at [email protected] or by calling 713-826-2978.

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