You Survived Summer. Now What?

You Survived Summer. Now What?

Truly successful operators are constantly looking for threats and making decisions that protect the business.

Why Business Decisions Based On Comfort Or Fear Don’t Lead To Success

Are you going to do this again?

It’s back-to-school season, after all. After months of free traffic, car counts are slowing down again for many shops and will remain slower for the foreseeable future. If you stopped your marketing during the summer because you were already busy, this winter will be longer, darker, colder and slower than you’d like.

By stopping advertising to save a few dollars, you give up on having top-of-mind awareness with your best customers, and you fail to attract quality new customers to replace those lost to natural attrition – customers moving away, dying or selling their vehicle. 

It also puts you in a position of having to make a snap decision each fall: do you buckle down and hope to survive, or do you invest in marketing now that the money faucet has slowed to a drip?

Isn’t this exhausting? First too busy, then too slow. Over and over again, year after year. Always content with mere survival, never growing, never succeeding, never changing, never in control.

Is this why you became a shop owner? You took out those loans, you accepted all these risks, you dealt with all of the headaches of owning your own business so that you could feel too busy to make critical decisions that help grow your business?

Because make no mistake: this isn’t only about marketing. Those delayed marketing decisions are about to directly contribute to slower weeks in the fall, but the problem is much larger. Chances are you’re putting off ALL critical business decisions when car counts are busiest, and then avoiding those same decisions when car count is lighter because you’re worried about spending money.

Aren’t you tired of each year being the same thing over and over and over?

If so, I have good news: you can break this cycle of feeling too busy or too slow. You can stop feeling exhausted and beaten down. 

The key is to get yourself out of being in positions where you’re the most talented, best-trained person in your organization. 

If you’re the secret to your operation’s success, then you are also the limit. When your team always has to rely on you and cannot succeed without you, you make it so that you are the hard cap on your business’ success.

So, in the dead of summer, when you are working as a technician or advisor to help stay on top of car count, decisions get shelved. And, in the dead of winter, when the things are slower because of all of those marketing decisions you couldn’t make, you’re paralyzed by the fear of having no money and no plan.

But there’s hope.

Because staying in that situation is a choice. You make that choice daily to be the secret sauce, to be necessary for the operation’s success.

When you choose not to train your team during teachable moments, you decide that your time is best spent putting out fires instead of managing your business. When you choose not to empower your team to control certain numbers or processes without you, you decide that your highest and best use is micromanaging employees rather than growing your sales and profits.

But, if you’re choosing to be in that situation, you can also choose to change.

Now listen: if you already feel overwhelmed, I know that the idea of taking time to train your employees might seem ridiculous. Spending a half an hour to train your team when you could handle the situation yourself and get everyone back to work in five minutes might seem like a huge waste of time.

It’s exactly this line of thinking that is keeping you trapped.

If you’re always too busy to train your team, then you have effectively signed up for endless five-minute projects that only you can handle. No matter how busy you are, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, no matter what other important items you have to accomplish, you need to stop and spend those five minutes once again.

That feeling like you’re constantly out of breath? That exhaustion you feel at the end of each day? That frustration at being unable to work on critical business decisions? Every time you choose to handle the problem yourself instead of training and delegating, you are choosing to continue feeling that way.

Not only does this take a personal toll on you, the effects on your shop are huge. 

When you’re trapped working in your business, your tendency is going to be to make decisions based either on comfort or fear. 

Comfort means nothing is broken right now, so there’s no reason to change. Every time that you put off marketing decisions because you’re already busy, you’re choosing comfort instead of success.

And, fear means that something is broken right now and needs a snap judgment. Every time you make your marketing decisions after the shop is already slow and you need cars in the bays immediately, your decision is because of fear, not growth.

This is not how successful operators run their shops.

Truly successful operators are constantly looking for threats and making decisions that protect the business. They continue marketing even when they’re busy because they know they can control the type of work they’re doing, and stay top of mind with their best customers so that car counts don’t crater each fall. Most importantly, they train their team, empower them, and delegate to them so that the owner can focus on growing the business instead of micromanaging it.

Here, at the start of another back-to-school slowdown, the choice is entirely up to you. Will the next 12 months be another boom-and-bust cycle of being too busy and then too slow? Or, will this finally be the year that you break the cycle, secure your future and grow?

Nobody can force you to change. You have to decide that you’re finally sick of reliving the same problems year after year.

But when you ARE ready, the path couldn’t be more straightforward. Every time you have the opportunity to teach your team, grab every available employee and train them all at the same time. Better yet, when you’re done, make sure that process is documented so that you have a handbook your new employees can use when they’re coming on board.

Most importantly of all, break out of the cycle of comfort and fear. You’ve taken far too many risks and put in far too much effort to leave the success of your business up to snap judgments or whether you can make time. Make this the winter when you take control! 

You can make this your best year ever – the choice is up to you!

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