The Holiday Season is the traditional time to take a look at where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you’re headed. For auto repair shop owners, it is a very costly time as between the time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year you may be losing a week or work in a 5 or 6 week period. Your overheads don’t stop (and there are added expenses such as Christmas parties) but the business definitely grinds to a halt for a few days at least.
It’s also the time when many folks make New Year’s Resolutions, usually about stuff they put on the back burner during the year, and now feel guilty about not dealing with that stuff in a timely fashion.
Rather than making resolutions for the coming year, how about a deep look inside, and acting like what you see in there actually has some value in your life? There’s no need for ‘resolutions’ if you discover something of value in yourself, or something that you need to rid from your life, and act accordingly.
The same goes for your business. If there’s some tool, technique, or service you really need to start using, start using it. If there’s some problem, employee, physical impediment, or other negative influence, fix or remove whatever that may be.
There are also some considerations you might want to make that are not readily apparent, like fixing a broken pipe or buying a tool. These are ‘quality of life’ considerations, both for yourself and your employees.
These can be as simple as ‘finally taking a vacation’ for yourself and your family, giving break time to technicians that they didn’t have before, and planning out holiday celebrations for you and your staff.
They can also be as complex (and possibly costly) as arranging health insurance for yourself and your employees, consulting with a Certified Financial Planner to create retirement accounts for yourself and your employees, and other big-ticket items you’ve been considering, but never took action to make them happen.
Then there’s your physical plant. Do you own, or do you rent? There’s another blog post here on the subject of owning your business’s property as a way to profit when you retire that’s worth consulting, if you haven’t already. The value of the building and property may vastly outweigh the commercial value of your customer list and monthly income from repair work.
Now consider how you do business. For some business owners, being a part of the work team is all in a day’s work. For others, it’s sitting behind a desk while hired technicians do all the actual repair work. No matter which way you do business, consider how things might look if, every once in a while, you switched positions.
The desk-bound boss may come to notice something that was passed over because that boss never had to deal with it. The wrench-turner may see that being able to handle important phone calls and paperwork in a timely fashion could lead to cost savings and more profit. More about this in a future blog post.
What are your future goals? For many of you, just making it to retirement alive is all you have in mind. Do yourselves a favor: at the very least, plan out your exit strategy so you come out on top, even if that day is decades away.
For those of you with a more ambitious vision, you might benefit from breaking down big goals into bite-sized chunks. After all, that’s how you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.
Finally, at this time of year, when the holidays seem to touch everyone in a unique way, take the time to actually enjoy them. It can be all too easy to let the spirit of the season escape how you feel, act, and participate with your fellow human beings.