By Joe Marconi
A recent report from Lang Marketing Resources Inc. reported that in spite of the economic climate, service stations, independent garages, repair specialists and foreign car specialists generated about 2.6 billion more in service revenue in the U.S. car and light truck aftermarket in 2011 vs. 2010. This revenue increase is coming primarily from the Do It For Me (DIFM) sector. In striking contrast, the same report projects that new car dealerships will lose more than $750 million in service market products. Service stations and independent garages now account for 29 percent of the total aftermarket DIFM market.
What does this mean for the average shop owner today? It spells out: Opportunity. This is your opportunity to continue to grow your business and be part of the growing DIFM market; a market that has chosen the independent auto service provider as its preferred choice.
One important factor; the strength of the independent aftermarket is not about price. National chains across this nation that have built their business model based on discounting and low price do not capture the hearts of the average consumer. Independent garages are typically priced higher on most basic services and repairs, but have far fewer issues with price. The average independent garage has proven that although price is always a concern with consumers, the actual determining factor in choosing a service facility is the relationships the shop has formed with its customers.
Every shop owner today needs to ask, “Am I ready for this opportunity and will I put together a plan for continuous growth”? The plain truth is that if your business is not growing, it’s falling behind. The level of success you achieve for your company is directly determined by how you plan for the future.
I want to make one thing clear; success is not measured against the success of others. Your personal success depends on your ability, the abilities of those who work with you, your determination and the steps you take each and every day to do better today than you did yesterday. You can build an empire, but that empire will be your empire. Too often people base success on the fortunes of people like Donald Trump or Bill Gates. What they achieved has no bearing on your personal success. That’s not to say there aren’t people reading this who have the greatness to become a Bill Gates. It just means that each of must work hard to be the best we can be and never settle for mediocrity.
Never settle for being average. Anyone can be average. Striving to be average can become a curse that breeds complacency. Once complacency sets in, your business is doomed.
Work hard to become your personal best. And don’t forget about the people who work with you in your company. Part of your job as a shop owner and the leader of your company is to recognize the strengths of the people who work in your company, and find ways to make them better. This concept will help ensure your success.
Growing your business requires taking the time to create a plan, determining what your goals are and outlining the steps you need to take to achieve these goals. It also takes vision; the vision to see your company in two years, in five years and in fifty years. Most of all, your plan must be written down. The great Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War”, preached that to be successful requires a well-thought-out written plan. If the plan is only in your head, it is nothing but a dream.
Growing your business is a journey, not a destination. Growth stops the day you put the key in front door for the last time. Make that last day your choice, not someone else’s. The decision is yours; if your business is not growing, it’s simply dying.
This article was contributed by Joe Marconi of Elite. Joe is one of the 1-on-1 business coaches who helps shop owners build more successful businesses through the Elite Coaching Program, and is the co-founder of autoshopowner.com.