The Power of 20 Groups
In just five minutes, “everything changed” for Kevin Paul.
This isn’t some exaggeration or hyperbolization he throws around lightly. Six years ago—after five minutes on the phone with his new business coach—Paul, who was on the verge of abandoning his auto repair shop, realized all at once what had been holding his business back for years. It was something so simple, yet something he believes is so common in this industry:
He was afraid to ask for help.
“There are a few times in life that you get overwhelmed, and you just know this is right,” Paul says. “And talking to Gary, I had this overwhelming sensation.”
Paul, owner of Alpha Automotive in McDonough, Ga., is referencing Gary Gunn, CEO of Turnaround Tour. Gunn provides one-on-one coaching, but his company (which was recently bought by ShopPros) also hosts 20 Groups—a networking system where shop owners gather a few times per year to exchange ideas and evaluate each other’s businesses. And through those groups, Paul found ideas and processes that flipped his flailing business 180 degrees, improving his overall gross profit margin from around 30 percent to nearly 60 percent between 2011 and 2017.
Every shop owner Ratchet+Wrench spoke with, in fact, echoed a similar sentiment. Profit margins, customer retention, marketing campaigns, tire sales, shop culture, leadership skills—you name it, and somebody at one of the thousands of shops across the country has an idea for improving it at your shop. And there are several companies administering 20 Groups in this industry that are just waiting for your call.
Following are three stories about how 20 Groups changed operations at three different shops.