Bunch: The Value of a Common Enemy

May 20, 2022

In business, one of the best ways to rally your team together and grow your shop is to identify a common enemy, shops in your area you can measure your growth against and compete with for market share in your region. 

My brother is four years older than I am, and we were known to my parents and our friends for fighting like cats and dogs. The only time we were united is when somebody was coming after us as a family. I remember a neighborhood bully confronted us in the alley behind our house. He tried picking on both of us simultaneously, but, when we joined forces, we were able to chase the bully away. 

We saw this concept in a very big way in the United States back in 2001 when the Twin Towers were attacked. People set aside their differences and were united against the common enemy that attacked our country. For a short time, divorce rates went down, families came back together, and we were more united as a country than ever before.

We see this right now in the war between Ukraine and Russia. The president of Ukraine has created a fantastic PR campaign and achieved the goal of uniting most of the world against his aggressor, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia. (I find it interesting that now the media calls him a dictator.) Putin is not very popular on the world stage, while the Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy, has been able to garner money, weapons, and support from all over the world for his cause. 

Even though the Ukrainian army was slated to be the underdog in the war, and everybody thought Russia would take over the country in just a few weeks, we are seeing a very different result. We see that Ukrainian troops have high morale and are united in their fight against their aggressor. In contrast, there are continued reports of low morale within the Russian forces, and many of them are surrendering without much of a fight.

Identifying an ‘Enemy’ to Promote Growth

Having a common enemy is a way of uniting people around a cause. Whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not, as humans we are very competitive; we see that in sports, in life, and in business.  One thing that breeds competition is having someone to defeat or someone to be better than. When it comes to building culture and rallying your team around a cause, who would you say your common ‘enemy’ is? 

What ‘cause’ do you have in your current business that your team could rally around? It could be as simple as reducing the number of comebacks, increasing tech productivity, and increasing the amount of Google reviews compared to your competition. It also may be the dealership up the street, the chain store down the road, or another independent shop.

It's not that I don't believe in the abundance mindset, but I'm competitive enough to say that I want as many cars in my bays as we can handle. Then, and only then, are the competitors around me welcome to the leftovers!

Several years ago, when one of my biggest competitors opened a shop just up the street from me, instead of being fearful of them taking away business, we went on the offensive and, during our shop meeting, had a moment of silence, honoring their defeat, knowing that they would regret competing with us.

The enemy that I currently focus on is the reputation that independent repair shops have in general society. Although we have made great strides in building trust, we are far from slaying that dragon and being known in the country for being trustworthy, reliable, and up on all the latest technology to service the newest vehicles. 

A large part of the population still chooses to only go to dealerships or national chains because they feel more comfortable with the warranties and the perceived skillset of the technicians working in these organizations.

Our job as independent repair shop owners is to unite against the common enemy of public perception. Educating our customers on the services we provide, the technology we offer, and the banner programs that we are a part of that provide our customers with a nationwide warranty is just the beginning. The professionalism of our staff, the look and feel of our facilities, and the training and certifications of our technicians are all part of changing the public perception. We are all truly more powerful together!

Standing Up to An ‘Enemy’ That Threatens Growth

Another avenue that we all need to consider is being a part of industry organizations that lobby in Washington on our behalf. Many organizations are fighting to keep the Right to Repair in our favor and force manufacturers to share repair information with us. You may have a good relationship with your local dealership but know that we see manufacturers systematically working to not allow independent shops access to the information and technology needed to fix their vehicles. When we are united, we are a powerful group, and I know that none of us fear competition, but we do ask for a level playing field.

Take a few minutes and think about who you and your team consider the ‘enemy’ of having the business you want and dream of and put together a battle plan to defeat the enemy the best you can, knowing that you can leverage the cause to build camaraderie and unity within your team. 

Email me your comments at [email protected], I would love to hear your feedback.

About the Author

Greg Bunch

Greg Bunch is the founder/CEO of Aspen Auto Clinic, a six-shop operation in Colorado, and the founder/CEO of Transformers Institute, a training, coaching, and consulting company for the auto repair industry.

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