Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Two Simple Strategies To Push Yourself Forward

"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned."Peter Marshall

Are you on the fence about hiring your replacement? This question reminds me of an encounter I had with a shop owner named “Carla.”

After several years of struggle, she had grown her business to where she could finally pay herself without having to invest her own money to pay her people. Her margins were in line, the techs were doing courtesy checks, and her customers didn’t cry when she charged for the shop supply.

There was one small problem: she was the only service writer, and when she left the shop for a week, she took the gross profit with her. No Carla, no cash! 

“Why don’t you post an ad for a service writer?” I asked. “Eric, I’m not ready to bring someone on yet. I must organize my office. Give me three weeks, then I’ll start looking.”

Three weeks later I checked in with her and she had completed the office organization project. “So, Carla, when will you be running the ad?”

“Eric, I was going to, but it’s been raining every day and my car count has dipped. Let’s wait until business picks up and I can afford to bring someone on. Besides, according to the ‘tool guy,’ everybody is slow!”

A month goes by and her sales have improved. Before I could ask about recruiting a writer, she interrupted me by saying: “I was going to start looking, but then I realized I needed to have an updated job description to ensure the new person knows what to do. It should take another two weeks, and I’ll be ready.

Nine weeks after our initial conversation, Carla was stuck working the counter at a shop with an organized office, strong sales, and updated position descriptions! 

And then it hit me. These tasks were merely stalling tactics. The real issue was her fear of venturing into the unknown. Bestselling author Tim Ferris puts it this way:

“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”

As mentioned in a previous blog, that perfect time when the planets are aligned, and all the traffic lights on your morning commute to the shop are green, isn’t coming!

It’s time to get off the fence. What can you do to get off the fence and get on with your life? Stay with me and you will discover two simple strategies to push yourself forward.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI Members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to get unstuck, achieve goals, and grow your business in ATI’s shop owner events. Register at www.atievent.com.

Establish a Deadline

Without a completion deadline, a goal to hire your replacement is only a wish. What you’re really saying is “I will replace myself in the business someday.”

The Twiggs translation for “someday” is never. Think about a goal from your past where you said you would do it someday. Chances are it never happened.

This makes establishing a deadline critical to your success. Just having a date in mind isn’t enough. The key step is to communicate your timeline to someone who can hold you accountable for your commitment.

Your coach, accountability partner, and fellow 20 group members are great resources for accountability.

A recent Forbes magazine article reported the following results: A goal that is only thought about succeeds less than 50% of the time, compared to one communicated to a friend with progress reports succeeds 75% of the time.

The combination of having a deadline and someone to answer to can provide enough motivation to push you off the fence.

Embrace a “While” Mentality

Most people are imprisoned by an “If, then” mindset. This type of shop leader won’t move forward until the circumstances are ideal. Here are two examples:

If I have the right sales volume, then I will look for a service manager.”

If I can get the shop clean, then I will look for a technician.”

As we saw with Carla, this mentality can cause you to chase after a finish line that’s always moving out of your reach.

The solution is to change to a “while” way of thinking.

While you are organizing the shop, you can look for a technician.

You can recruit for your general manager while you are writing your standard operating procedures.

“While” works better because hiring the right person can be a time-consuming process.

recent study of small business hiring found that the average interview process from start to finish takes twenty-three days.

It typically takes a week to set up the interview. Next, it would take at least two weeks to complete the interview, background, and reference check process. Good candidates tend to leave their employers two weeks’ notice, so we’re talking five weeks (about twenty-three days not counting weekends) if you become aware of the right candidate tomorrow!

The habit of looking while you prepare increases the chances of hiring the right person within the deadline you established.

Conclusion

Carla’s story has a happy ending. She finally took my advice of looking while he got ready, and today she spends about eight hours a week at the shop. She posted a “career opportunities” tab on her website which attracted her current general manager.

Have you been choosing unhappiness over uncertainty?

If you commit to establishing a deadline and embracing a “while” mentality, you will push yourself forward and ultimately arrive at a happy ending!

Non-ATI Members: For more tips on how to achieve specific results and run a productive, profitable shop, check out our shop owner events at www.atievent.com.

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Author
Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has been coaching 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 for them and seeing members 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.