Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Crazy Thing That Will Keep You From Hitting Your Shop Goals

“To have your place in the sun, you have to leave the shade.”Tim Grover

Imagine for a moment that your goal is to visit Hawaii. To accomplish your goal, you invest in a travel agent named “Amy” who has a track record of helping thousands of other travelers like you get to the same destination.

Based on this experience, she selects a specific all-inclusive package that includes the flight, hotel, and ground transportation. There’s only one problem.

You live in California and your plan is to drive because you don’t believe in flying. “Well what about a cruise?” asks Amy, “I have some great cruise line specials this time of year!” You reply with, “I think going by boat is even riskier!”

So, you get in your Honda and start driving towards Hawaii, determined to get there your way, driving up to the point where the road ends and the water begins. Now, you feel frustrated. You’ve invested time and money into this travel agent, and you still haven’t gotten to Hawaii!

Here’s the question: In this imaginary scenario, what’s really keeping you from getting to your destination? Is it your travel agent? Is it your transportation?

Before giving your final answer, you should consider using a lifeline or phoning a friend! The correct answer is neither! It’s your beliefs that would be holding you back.

I know what you’re thinking: “Twiggs, that’s just crazy! Who would honestly expect to get to Hawaii and not believe in flying?” Well, allow me to provide some examples that hit closer to home.

Who would honestly expect to get to their car count destination, but not believe in exit appointments?

Who would honestly expect to get to their staffing goals, but not believe in always hiring?

Who would honestly expect to hit their profit mark, but not believe in the pricing matrix?

All three examples are just as crazy as the “Honda to Hawaii” illustration.

Here’s the crazy thing that will keep you from hitting your shop goals: Hanging on to a belief that will never take you to your destination. In other words, What got you here won’t get you there.

Stay with me and you will learn about two specific focus areas, that will help you line up your thinking with your goals.

Ideas to grow your businessDon’t hang on to crazy beliefs. Discover valuable, easy-to-implement tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events. Grow your business and improve your bottom-line. Register today at

Focus on the Possibilities

The story is told of two shoe salesmen named Rick and Mike. Their company sent them to a third world country to look for new business opportunities.

At the end of their first day, both called home to their wives to update them as to how things were going. Rick calls and says, “Honey, I’m coming back home, I can’t sell anything. Nobody is wearing any shoes here!

Mike calls his wife and says, “Honey, you wouldn’t believe it, this is a great opportunity. Nobody’s wearing any shoes here! I can sell to the entire country!” Mike went on to become a record-setting shoe salesman while Rick returned with no sales.

When presented with the same idea, Mike was focused on the possibilities, while Rick looked for the problems. Which are you focused on?

I’ve noticed this same trend when comparing top-performing shop owners and those who are always losing money.

For example, when presented with the idea of offering a lifetime oil change, the consistent top performers tend to embrace it faster and are seeing dramatic increases in cash flow and customer retention.

Those who consistently lose money, are more likely to dismiss the idea by talking about all the reasons it won’t work in their area. The main thing that keeps the top shops at the top is their tendency to focus on the possibilities.

Eventually, you will find whatever you focus on the most. If you consistently focus on the possibilities, you will find a better business!

Focus on the Payoff

I believe that there is no such thing as a “silver bullet” solution. I realize that not every idea works for every shop, every time. I recognize that there is no one size fits all suggestion that is guaranteed to produce results in every location.

I get it! These facts make it easy to dismiss new ideas and create limiting stories to support why something won’t work.

Here’s an example of a limiting story from the opening illustration: “Flying in an airplane is too risky. Driving is safer.” When you catch yourself using a limiting story, the key is to focus on the payoff.

The first step is to review your specific goal. Next, look at the related story and ask, “How is driving my Honda going to get me to Hawaii?” For your profit goal, you can ask “How is not using the parts matrix getting me closer to paying down the credit line?”

For your lifestyle goal, ask: “How is interviewing only when I have an opening, helping me to spend more time with my family?” When you can’t find the payoff, it’s a sign that the limiting belief that’s driving your story is stopping you where the road ends and the water begins!


So, there you have it. Focusing on the possibilities and the payoff will increase the likelihood that you achieve your goal. ATI is like your travel agency. As long to as you listen to your assigned “agent,” you can get to your desired destination!

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.