Are you managing your business or is it managing you?
“What can be measured can be managed.” That’s one of the cornerstones of business management that is often overlooked by the seat-of-the-pants business owner.
Just because it can be measured it doesn’t mean it is of course. You, as a business owner, know if you’re guilty of giving short shrift to the numbers and details that can bore non-accountants to death.
When we ask if you are managing your business or is it managing you there are some easy to answer questions that will reveal the true answer.
Who is In Charge? You or the business?
Over the last 15 years (and more) we have spoken to hundreds of shop owners, many of whom are long term users of our shop management system, we have spoken to some very successful ones and some who are not very successful at all.
What have we noticed is that the consistently successful repair shops share some things.
Successful and profitable shops all:-
1) Have Staff who can run the Business
Can you take a day, or two or even a week off without being called or emailed with an “emergency” once a day?
If the answer is no (some people, we have asked about this laughed at us as if we were crazy to even think it) then you need to look at the reasons why. Are you a micro manager? Is everyone a prima Dona that has to make a problem into a drama? Are your technicians poorly trained and not allowed any level of authority?
While we are not suggesting you go to the beach and leave your cell phone at home for 6 months, you should be able to take a break and not be taking calls a few times a day from your team.
2) Know their Tools
When you own a car repair shop your tools start out being the wrenches and lifts but as you grow you move into managing the business and staff and the tools you use change. As the owner of a business your tools now include
- Phone Systems
- Shop Management Software
You use your management software to create repair orders, to report on tech efficiency, to order parts in the most cost-effective manner and the successful repair shop owners we speak to all spend time getting to know the shop management software they use. Whether that is watching videos, reading the help manual or asking questions of support
Self-education comes in different forms, whether it is going to expos – Powertrain expo or Sema – for example and taking part in some of the seminars that are available at all these events. Maybe they go and read business orientated self-help books or learn about some part of the business they are not happy about. Education should never stop.
If you want to market your business more efficiently it makes sense to use an auto repair shop marketing system, but you should still take some time to learn how to structure an offer. What makes people buy from you, what should be included in all your offers and what you should not include.
A big part of your business is managing your staff, techs, service writers and book keepers. Take some time to read some management guides and even go on a course or two on how to become a better manager.
Do you Manage Your Staff or do they Manage You?
We have spoken to shops where the staff are demanding this and that and the owner feels he has to give in or else they will leave. If your shop is the top repair shop in the area then technicians will want to work for you rather than somewhere else. This means they put in a fair days work for a fair days wages.
If you let your technicians dictate to you about what they will work on and won’t work on and whether they will use a time clock or not, they are running the business not you.
When we hear that the staff are refusing to use the time clock feature of our software and the shop owner is letting them dictate that we know they are heading for trouble.
Make clear your expectations and make sure they are listed in the company manual which everyone gets a copy of and signs to say they have received it and read it. They work for you not the other way round.
Do You Have an Exit Strategy?
Your business may feel like a member of your family at times, you nurture it and watch it grow over the years. Like a real life child you have to prepare to let your business grow up and run free (into the arms of another owner).
If you do not have a exit plan for your auto repair business on what to do so you can move on from your business then you do not own it, it owns you.
Quick: exactly how much cash do you have on you (and in what denominations)? Somebody who values measuring those details will know. If you know, down to the number of pennies in your pocket, how much cash you have, you probably don’t need a refresher course in cash management. If not, read on. Even if you do know how much cash you’re carrying, take a look at the other aspects of business management you might be able to automate.
Learn To Use Profitboost Software
Profit Boost is shop management software that is designed to help you manage your business from entering customer information right through to taking a payment. The software allows you to tie in your business activities with Quickbooks automatically.
There’s more available to you, besides the simple time=money equation. Carfax integration means just by entering a car’s license plate number, the right VIN number is automatically added to that repair order, without having to hunt under the hood for it. Once a repair is complete, an automated text message can be sent to the customer, eliminating the ‘phone tag’ you might have been playing in the past.
Then there’s parts and pricing. How convenient would it be for you to have the latest, up-to-date prices on all the parts you need for your business at your fingertips, rather than having to shop around? Yes, that’s another tool you can use to manage your business’s bottom line with Profit Boost.
Here’s a ‘bottom line’ issue that some business owners don’t consider: being owned by their business, rather than owning the business, and having a life away from the business. If the details, problems, challenges, and all the other non-repair issues take up all your time (and ruin your sleep at night), you need to consider automating as much of that stuff as you can. Profit Boost will help you do exactly that.
Auto repair software is no longer a burdensome thing you load on a computer and become hostage to if that computer crashes. This is a ‘cloud based’ service, that runs on (and is backed up by) remote computers, that are 100% reliable.
Profit Boost allows a business and its employees to log into that business’s account and gives only that access that each employee needs to have. This means your technician can use the time clock function, but not poke around in your Quickbooks figures. Your order writer can quickly and efficiently create work orders, without having to scribble notes on the back of an envelope.
As for you, the owner, the ability to determine your profits effectively (and where you might be missing an opportunity for increased profit) is probably the most valuable tool available to you by using Profit Boost. This sophisticated software can help you achieve goals and targets that you simply could not before, because you didn’t have access to software that has an intellectual patent on determining profit.
Now is the time to take another look at how you’re managing your business. Now imagine the difference if you were to take advantage of the benefits of real, usable tools for increasing your profit, saving time, and relieving unnecessary stress. Start doing some education and review all your interactions with your staff.
Ask yourself “Am I managing this business or is it managing me?” Am I ready to change what I know is going wrong? It’s your choice – make the right one.