Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Biggest Gamble You Can Take

“There is an easy way to leave a casino with a small fortune: Go there with a large one.”Jack Yellon

What’s the biggest gamble you can take as a shop owner? Since Las Vegas is the mecca of gambling, I decided to study two famous Vegas acts, to get the answer. First, there’s Siegfried and Roy. They were stage magicians who were known for performing with lions and tigers.

They decided not to hire other people to work with them, so there was no risk of making a bad hire or not being able to afford the payroll down the road. This appeared to be a low risk, high reward move. After all, their act was different!

Next, we have the Blue Man Group. This act was started in 1987 by three close friends named Chris Wink, Matt Goldman, and Phil Stanton. These three bald men painted themselves blue and performed a show that combined rock music with entertainment.

They worked 14 hour days and performed over 1200 shows together. Then one fateful day, Phil cut his hand using a power tool and was unable to perform. They were forced to use a back up blue man, which gave them the idea to hire others to replace themselves.

They took the gamble of recruiting and hiring their replacements before they really needed them.

Ideas to grow your businessDiscover more valuable tips and strategies for how to develop your back-up plans, improve your bottom-line, and grow your business. Register for ATI’s free webinar.

Which Act Took the Biggest Gamble?

If your answer was The Blue Men, guess again! Siegfried’s partner Roy was tragically mauled by one of his tigers during a performance in 2003. Since their model was built around them being available to perform, their business ended once Roy was unavailable.

The Blue Man group doesn’t depend on any single person. They can perform in Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago at the same time because the original three friends no longer paint themselves.

Siegfried and Roy’s story teaches us that having a business model where your profit is dependent on your presence is the biggest gamble you can take.

Your Availability

One tiger took down a $350 million dollar Vegas act. The tiger is a metaphor that represents the negative events of life you don’t plan for. They can take the form of family issues, medical emergencies, and car accidents.

I know of shop owners who are only one “tiger” away from financial ruin. It’s a jungle out there. If you spend enough time in the jungle, you are bound to encounter a tiger!

Betting that you will always be available is riskier than creating an exit plan and recruiting for your replacement. Playing it safe is a huge risk.

Your Staff

Studies show that the average person entering today’s workforce will have six different jobs throughout their career. When you fail to put an exit plan in place, you’re betting that your staff is the exception to this rule.

Imagine averaging 45 cars a week with the following staff: An A, B, and C Technician. Let’s say your B technician quits without giving notice. If you happen to be the A tech, you’re in big trouble! Instead of implementing a disciplined hiring process, you would be motivated to bring in the first “warm body” that can help you get the work done.

Now, imagine experiencing the same surprise after replacing yourself in the business and writing your plan. You would have anticipated losing a key person and have faster access to a qualified replacement. Your “back up blue man” would be waiting in the wings.


Having an encounter with a “tiger” without having an exit plan will leave you feeling blue. I challenge you to avoid taking the biggest gamble you can take.

For more tips on how to create an exit plan, recruit effectively, achieve specific results, and run a productive, profitable shop, check out our free webinar.

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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.