Zar Syed had a vision in 2015 to make his shop, Mechanic One Auto Repair in Canton, Mich., the Apple of the auto repair industry.
And as his shop’s annual revenue grew rapidly from $450,000 in 2016 to $850,000 in 2017, he knew that his vision was indeed coming to life and the sales were proving it.
Wanting to make auto repair as simple for his customers as Apple makes technology easy for its users, Syed says that he’s thought about his vision every single day, which he feels is one of the keys to making any vision successful.
As business only grows, Syed shares his vision, how he made it happen and how all shop owners can make their own visions come to life.
A step-by-step process of bringing a vision to life starts by:
- Having a solid idea that you believe in and are willing to see to fruition
- Setting a business plan in place that states your idea and execution
- Executing the plan
- Setting parameters that ensure you stay on track of execution
- Ensuring it’s maintained once the vision is brought to life
- Setting a new vision and repeat
A vision is how you’re currently conducting your business and how you plan on conducting your business. It’s the present and the future. How do you see yourself in the future as far as expansion or a mission statement? There’s a lot packed into the word “vision.” But overall, it comes down to your company’s belief and how you want you, your employees and your customers to perceive the business down the road.
I realized I had a vision when I was working with my brothers prior to opening my own shop. We were conducting business just like any other repair shop. When I decided to open up my own shop, I wanted to conduct business completely differently.
Your vision has to inspire your employees and customers—that’s how you get buy-in. You have to show them every single day that you are promoting a better environment.
In my shop, the motto is, “changing the auto repair industry for good.” This is the foundation of the vision. We’ve recognized that there is a problem of technicians having a bad reputation when it comes to trust so we bring that trust back to the customer by being transparent and educating the customer and the staff.
For customers, the buy-in is easy because it’s all about their experience. This results in them leaving great reviews and others reading them. If you have different reviews, it will set you apart.
To live up to your motto, your services have to be unique and personable. Getting involved in your community will also help create customer buy-in. We sponsor several sports and do our “Sunday Funday” events.
My first vision for my business was being the Apple of auto repair. I have to revisit this vision on a weekly basis and make sure that I’m on track with what I planned on and what I wanted.
I wanted to replicate how Apple treats its employees and its overall simplicity. They provide ease of use for the consumer and, in our case, customers. Auto repair is such a complicated service and is a very dreaded thing.
To make it easier for our customers, we have a lot of transparency. If you have a broken car, drop your key off and we’ll take care of it. The main goal is ease of use.
When talking about Apple, you also need the appearance of Apple, so everything has to be up-to-date and state-of-the-art. We have a sleek design and are much more capable on the tech side. We have MacBook Pros throughout the facilities for our staff to use.
You need to have handbooks and procedures in place to create processes within your shop based on your vision. We have two handbooks: an operations handbook that dictates daily shop operations and a management handbook that dictates upper level management (hiring, recruiting, owner’s duties, etc.). Having these standards in a clear-cut company handbook is necessary.
You have to keep working at your vision to bring it to life. Seeing how your customers respond to your work is a large indication of how successful you are becoming.
Something that I do that helps me is getting two whiteboards and placing one in my office and one at home. Write the vision on the whiteboard and adjust it as needed. You may even want to simplify the vision into a motto to help it stick. When you look at the board every day, you can determine whether you are getting closer or further away.
If you find yourself drifting away from the vision, you, as the owner, have to self-evaluate. What am I doing on a daily basis to bring us closer to the vision? Am I doing the daily staff meetings? Am I completing my daily tasks?
If you pass the test you have given yourself, then repeat the same process with the next position, like general manager, the technicians, all the way down to the help. You will most likely find the lapse somewhere in between. This will help ensure that the vision is being followed from top to bottom.