Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Are You Open for “Busyness?”

“The problem isn’t having too much to do, it’s not knowing what to do next.”Michael Port

The story is told of a billionaire businessman with two sons. He met with them one day and told them his fortune would be left to the first son who could create a successful business!

Success was defined as generating one million dollars in annual net profit. The oldest son, “Sam” went straight into activity mode.

He got busy with creating a product. He worked hard and two months later found a website platform to sell it on. The younger son, “Steve” hadn’t started yet.

Within six months, Sam had already turned a small profit. During this same time period, Steve had failed to launch!

Unlike his brother, Steve spent the first three years studying his future market.

He attended conferences and met with business owners who had already generated one million dollars in annual net profit.

After three years he finally launched. His effort was so successful that he surpassed Sam’s results, even though he began two and a half years later!

Four years later, Steve exceeded the goal his father set for him!

The Fundamental Difference

ATI Fundamental #5 instructs us to Be Performance Driven. Based on what I’ve shared so far, which son falls into this category?

If  Sam, the older son, is your final answer, you should find a new lifeline and phone a new friend! Here’s the fundamental difference between the two sons:

Steve didn’t confuse activity with accomplishment! 

Sam was a “busyness” owner, but Steve was performance-driven.

Which category applies to you?

The following scenarios will help you decide:

  • The performance-driven shop owner always hires, while the “busy” shop owner puts out fires.
  • The performance-driven shop owner plans her days, while the “busy” shop owner works in the bays.
  • While the performance-driven shop owner is doing a one-on-one, the “busy” shop owner makes a parts run.

Has running a busyness left you with a small profit? Keep reading to learn about a $400K idea that you can easily implement today at your shop!

Ideas to grow your businessAre you running a “busyness” but accomplishing very little? Discover tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events that will help you become performance-driven and grow your business! Register today at

The $400K Idea

Charles Schwab was the Jeff Bezos of 1918. He was one of the richest entrepreneurs of his era, and the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the “Amazon” of the Steel industry.

With all his success, he still felt that something was missing in his business. His executives had confused activity with accomplishment.

He scheduled a meeting with Ivy Lee, a well-known productivity consultant. He asked Lee to show them how to get more of the right things done.

Lee agreed to meet with each of Schwab’s key executives for fifteen minutes.

He instructed them to make time at the end of each day to write down the six most important things they needed to accomplish the following day. 

They were then instructed to prioritize the six items in order of importance. Any unfinished tasks were moved to the following day’s list for completion.

How much will this cost me?” Schwab asked. To which Lee shockingly replied, Nothing, unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

Three months later, Schwab was so happy with the progress that resulted from Lee’s meetings, he wrote Lee a check for $25,000.

A $25,000 check in 1918 would equate to $400,000 in 2019 currency! There is value in becoming performance-driven!

Your Daily Six

The first step in making the daily six work is to identify your success categories. I recommend hiring, gross profit, and marketing. 

Next, focus on two actions per day from each category. (2 x 3 = Your Daily 6)

Lastly, at the end of your day, write two actions from each category to be done for tomorrow. For example, under hiring you write: “update technician ad,” and “Add a careers page to my website.” (Yes, even if you’re fully staffed!)

To improve gross profit, you write: “Conduct the RO Audits” and “increase my labor rate.” Under marketing, you write “Update the google my business post” and “make five follow up calls to existing customers.”

In one week, you will have taken 10 specific actions to find great people, improve gross profit, and stabilize your car count. (2 actions per day x 5 days) In three months, you will have taken 120 specific actions in each of these key areas of your business. (10 actions per week x 12 weeks = 120)

Initially, you may find it hard to identify your daily six items. Once this becomes a regular routine, it will require less effort and you will get more of the right things done each day.


So, there you have it. Knowing the difference between activity and accomplishment can result in you having the fortune to leave to one of your children!

Implementing the daily six, you can move from feeling frustrated to finding fulfillment! As a performance-driven shop owner, you will no longer be open for busyness!

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.