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Prioritize for Profit

Order Reprints

I counted to 10 and took deep breaths before my coaching calls with “Tom.” Tom is a shop owner who would agree to do certain things but never followed through.

For example, he consistently failed to conduct the daily repair order audits. When I asked what happened, his response was, “I didn’t have time.” When I asked why he hadn’t updated his weekly portal data, his response was, “I didn’t have time.” When I asked if he updated his monthly budget, guess what he told me? That’s right: “I didn’t have time.” (Do you know anyone like Tom?)

One day I called the shop, and his advisor said he was out on a smoke break. After digging deeper, I discovered that Tom spent one hour per day smoking, but “didn’t have time” to do the things to which he was committed.

I was puzzled. How was it that Tom found one hour per day to smoke but never had time to do what we agreed to?

And then it hit me: Smoking was a priority for him, so he found a way to make it happen. 

Before you laugh at Tom, consider this: If something is a priority, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse. 

If you plan to accomplish great things in your shop, you must embrace the right perspective on your time. If Tom’s story didn’t move you, I invite you to take the briefcase test.

 

The Briefcase Test

Imagine that I have $500,000 cash in a briefcase waiting for you with your name on it. There’s one small catch: to claim your winnings, you must take the following actions over the next 12 weeks:

  1. Conduct repair order audits every day.
  2. Update your portal every week.
  3. Update your 5-Year Budget numbers every month.
  4. Attend your scheduled 20 Group Zoom meetings.

Would you do it?

Of course you would, and here’s why: Your priorities have changed, even though your “real world” time barriers remain the same. Since the $500,000 is a priority, you would find a way to create the necessary openings in your schedule.

Are you currently creating openings in your schedule to get these things done? If you answered no, the issue isn’t time—it’s priority. The repair order audits, portal entries, 5-year budget, and 20 Group Zoom meetings aren’t important enough for you to make the time for them.

What are your priorities for this year? Answering this question and staying on course is key to accomplishing great things.  To remove the most common shop distractions, check out ATI's Priority Robbers Checklist.

 

Your Two-Step Plan

ATI Fundamental No. 17 instructs us to set and ask for expectations. To accomplish great things, you must first set expectations for yourself.

The first step is to fast forward to your future. Imagine that it’s December 31, 2020, and you’re celebrating the fact that 2020 has been your best year ever. What specific outcomes would need to occur for you to feel this way?

Some common examples are paying off that line of credit, replacing yourself with a rock star general manager, and moving into the new building with more bays.

The next step is determining what you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to achieve these outcomes.

Doing those daily repair order audits will become a priority if it helps you find the lost gross profit dollars that can pay down the credit line. Updating the weekly portal becomes a priority if the data is helping you to track the number you need to average in sales to pay your replacement. Making the monthly updates to your five-year budget data becomes a priority once you have factored your new building into your budget costs. 

Linking your activities to your expectations will help you to accomplish great things in the coming year.

 

Conclusion

So, there you have it—you will always create openings in your schedule to do whatever is important to you.

If you commit to following the two-step plan, you can have a briefcase full of gross profit dollars waiting for you with your name on it. 

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of their automotive repair business. Stay on course to accomplishing great things with ATI's Priority Robbers Checklist to tackle your most common distractions.

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