Recognizing The Power Of Small Changes

Recognizing The Power Of Small Changes

The sooner you start working toward your goals, the sooner you’ll be done digging the same trench every day!

Picture a scene: you’re at home and ready to upgrade your lawn. You’ve got a shovel and marked your dig lines, and you’ve got all your permits in order.

There’s just one problem. Every day, after you’ve spent the whole day digging the trench so you can run sprinkler lines, your work is being undone by Mother Nature. Between the nightly rain and wind, when you wake up each day you find the same job needs to be done from scratch.

You know that if you could hire somebody to help you dig those trenches, you could get to the next step in the process and be a lot closer to the landscaping of your dreams, but you can’t find that person anywhere. So, each day you take the same approach and get to work digging that trench again in the hope today things will be different. 

Chances are you can think of a half-dozen ways to fix this scenario off the top of your head. You can use better tools. You can change the way you tackle the job so that each day your progress isn’t undone. You can hire an expert to show you a better way to reach your goals.

I’m sure you’re ahead of me here, but we’re not really talking about installing a sprinkler system in your front lawn. We’re talking about shop owners who feel trapped by their business, and who feel like they must spend the majority of their days working in the bays. 

If you find personal fulfillment working in bays in your shop, God bless and more power to you. This article isn’t for you.

Instead, this article is for the owners who are tired of being stuck in a rut. You’ve probably been trying to hire an A-tech and are frustrated that you’re having to spend months or years turning wrenches while you wait to find that person. You know life as a shop owner could be better but aren’t sure how. You do know you’re finally ready to achieve your dreams and goals.

The question is: 

what are your dreams and goals?

If the goal is to hire another technician, let’s go one step further. Would hiring that technician mean you could spend more time working on the business instead of in it? Would it mean taking home a larger paycheck? Would it mean growing sales to the next level so you can provide a better life for all your employees?

All these goals can be reached by finding a new technician, but none of them require it. More importantly, each of these goals can be achieved with just a small effort each day.

For instance…

If a shop adds one more car per day (250 more over a year) with an average repair order of $400, its sales would increase by $100,000.

When a single technician in a shop bills two more hours per day at a labor rate of $100, that shop’s sales grow by an additional $100,000.

When a $1 million shop increases its parts margin from 45% to 50%, its gross profit increases by $55,000.

In other words…

The path to growth and success doesn’t have to include hiring a new A-tech nor does it require the owner to invest tons of time and effort. By measuring a few critical numbers and making small changes daily, a shop can grow significantly and sustainably!

In fact, the only thing stopping you from making these life-altering improvements is a willingness to change.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter.

I suspect the reason most owners plan to work their guts out until they hire a new A-tech is that it doesn’t require change. If you know how to work hard but are less sure about how to grow car count, bill more hours or improve your parts margin, it’s easy to keep things as they are. Working your guts out and hoping things get better eventually is the path of least resistance.

Hope isn’t a plan, though – it’s the absence of a plan. It’s a surefire way to stay stuck in a life you know could be better.

Are you ready to start claiming that new life? If you’ve finally had enough and you’re ready to try something new, I’ll meet you halfway. I know that change is hard. It’s hard to change yourself, and harder still to challenge others to change.

So rather than propose drastic, sweeping new ideas, here’s what you can do today to start.

We’ve been talking about goals, so it’s time to declare yours. Write them down and hang the document in your office or on your toolbox where you can see it every day.

Now, what is one thing you can do today to reach that goal? Commit to a specific action. 

If your goal is to grow your car count, you could commit to asking every customer today to leave a glowing review on Google. Or, you could ask every customer to refer your shop to their friends and family.

If your goal is to bill more hours, you could commit to thoroughly inspecting every vehicle in your bay, whether you think they’ll trust your recommendations. Or, you could commit to advising every customer of everything the technician finds.

Once you’ve committed to a specific action, and written that commitment out so you can see it every day, the next crucial step is to measure. At the end of each day, you can easily check two things: Did you follow through on your commitment? And what impact is it having on your goal?

Within weeks you should be able to see a trend that shows how your action is helping you reach your goal. If it is, you’ll have both evidence and confidence to ask your employees to commit to joining you in that action by showing them how their lives will improve. And, if it’s not having an impact, you’ll know that it’s time to commit to a different specific action.

And, because you’re measuring, you can see your progress toward your goal, giving you confidence that things are improving every day.

Best of all, this cycle of commitments, measurement and teaching your team what you’ve learned is similar to how highly successful shops grow. By declaring your goals, and committing to small, incremental changes that will help you reach those goals, you’re creating a culture of constant improvement. 

Don’t wait! Get started today. Get started right now. Take out a pen and a Post-it note and declare your goals. The sooner you start working toward that goal, the sooner you’ll be done digging the same trench every day, and the sooner you’ll reach the life you’ve been hoping for!

David Rogers is the president of Auto Profit Masters and Shop4D, the industry’s first and most complete all-in-one shop-management system that allows each component — from the point of sale to labor guides, inspections, marketing, estimating, parts ordering and even shop management — to talk to one another, improving efficiency, helping techs bill more hours, and saving money. Learn more and register for a free webinar at shop4d.com. Reach David via email at [email protected] or toll-free at 866-826-7911

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