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How I Did It

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When Bruce Howes, owner of Atlantic Motorcar Center in Wiscasset, Maine, initially started his first business, he ran the shop the way he saw his dad run the family business—like a solar system.

“The sun is the owner, Mercury is the employees, and everything orbits around the owner,” explains Howes, “The problem is, if something happens to the owner—if they become ill, or injured or go on vacation—the business ceases operation.”

Howes has been in the industry for a while—he’s opened shops in two different states at two different points of his life, and has made each one successful. But throughout his time as an owner, he has shifted and changed along with the changing industry—including how he leads his business.

Evolving ownership strategies are vital to success. Howes’ service side of his shop pulls in $1.8 million per year, and he attributes this to the structural change he has put in place.  

Shifts can be made throughout all facets of shop ownership.

Ken Gamble, owner of North Hills Automotive, went through a process of altering how he runs the business side of his shop after he expanded to too many locations too quickly. He now owns two extremely successful shop locations in Greenville S.C.

And Nannette Griffin, owner of Griffin Muffler & Brake Center in Fort Madison, Iowa, changed her involvement in the industry to gain a network and access to strategies aiding in the growth of her shop.

Whether it be a shift in leadership structures, business knowledge or industry involvement—these three shop owners are now more successful in what they do because of it.         

Here’s how they did it.

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