Stop Making Excuses
Looking back over a successful time, it’s easy to be impressed with how much you’ve done. In good times, owners talk about how great their team and systems are and how these both led to great sales and great margins. Even I do this.
We hit the beginning of a slow time for the first time in a few years. This wasn’t just one location, but it was across all locations across the country and it lasted for a period of 2–3 weeks. I got calls from other shop owners saying, “Oh my goodness, my sales are down.” So, I would ask them what they were doing about it. Many would say some version of the following:
“It’s been raining.”
“It’s slow everywhere—I talked to my tool guys.”
“Customers are just not buying right now.”
“The fair came to town.”
It starts to sound like, “Blah, blah, blah.” Comments like this separate a good owner from a best-of-the-best owner.
After two slow days, let me tell you, I will start freaking out. I’ll make calls and dive in. Here’s my advice: Do not wait to see what will happen. Do not call others to validate your excuses. Instead, dig in to your business. Find out what’s wrong and do something about it. If it’s car count, then listen to every coach you can and determine whether or not it’s an execution problem. If leads went down, find out if your ads actually hit. Start doing outside sales today and send out an email blast. Look at options on a rebate letter, free oil changes and gift certification. What I’m trying to get across is that you need to do something.
You have to end the month better than last year. If you give the thumbs up that it’s ok not to be as good as last year, then your business will continue down that path. It’s the same with staffing and hiring. You should be interviewing every week—even if you think you’re fully staffed. The day that you think you are fully staffed is the day that a tech gets hurt or your manager leaves for another job. Be prepared to make a change. Don’t be held hostage due to the work that comes along with interviewing, hiring and training or fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is what got you to be an entrepreneur—don’t forget that.
This fear is why so few become the best-of-the best and stay there. To achieve this level, it takes dedication, persistence and hard work. Don’t ever catch yourself making excuses for a down week. Do something about it.
Here are a few tips from some of the best of the best in their respective industries to get you inspired to stop making excuses and start making a change.
“I'd say my number one tip is to spend time with other top business owners.” Ashleigh Lucas, owner, Lucas Euro Care
“The customer is King. Do what’s right for the customer and profitability will follow.” Beth Barron, CEO, Chabill's Tire & Auto Service
“Great operators work through systems as much as possible. This makes it easy for everyone to be on the same page. It’s when we go outside of our systems that employees get confused and unmotivated. Systems make it easy to recognize great performance and make corrective actions when necessary. Finally, great operators must be great at communicating and training. Never stop training.”Greg Sands, CEO, SRSANDCO
"Customers want to be respected and to conduct business with people they like. Never underestimate the importance of company culture to your business and its impact to your bottom line."Alan Smith, president, Valentine Enterprises
“Think like an entrepreneur. Create like an innovator. Perform like a teammate.” Adrian J. Cronje, CEO and CIO, Ballentine Wealth Management