"Do you own your neighborhood?"
That's the question Automotive Training Institute coaches Don Wafler and Mike Warren asked shop owners at the 2018 ATI SuperConference a few weeks ago during a presentation on better understanding your market. During their lengthy presentation, they touched on four simple—yet essential—steps for becoming in tune with your neighborhood.
1. Survey the Neighborhood
Don't be afraid to walk into your local coffee shop or gas station and ask someone at the store who would they refer to in the local area for car care. Find out if they are recommending other companies and why, then try to cater to those needs.
2. Connect with Other Businesses
Join your local chamber of commerce and look into sponsoring events. By attending meet-and-greets and ribbon-cutting ceremonies and volunteering at food pantries, libraries and animal shelters, you'll start to discover which businesses are having the biggest impact on the community and how you can join in.
3. Connect with Local Government/Organizations
Establish relationships with local economic development and regional trade organizations. This not only contributes to future economic growth of your community, but also provides an opportunity for your company to gain exposure. Look into establishing relationships with nonprofit organizations that align with your shop's mission statement.
4. Plan a Community Event
Give yourself time to plan out an event that will inspire your community to check out your shop and its mission. Conduct research, create an event design, find a site, arrange for food, decor and entertainment, and provide transportaiton to event. Then advertise the event with invitations and social media.