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Up On The Roof – How To Plan For What You Can’t Plan For

When unexpected things upend your day, do you have a backup plan for when it all hits the fan?


There’s an old saying that you should fix the barn roof while the sun is shining. Being prepared – and taking care to protect what you’ve worked hard to store away – will help you weather the inevitable downpour.

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What happens when the storm is accompanied by an earthquake AND a plague of locusts AND a zombie apocalypse? Welcome back to 2020.

As we have seen over the past 12 months, it probably didn’t matter how prepared you thought you were – a hard rain was coming, brother, and it was going to damage your treasures. How well you prepared determined how much you’ve since had to rebuild.

“Sometimes, you don’t realize how steep the roof is until you actually get on it, and find there may be more damage than you first anticipated.”

As we’ve learned from speaking with shop owners, service advisors and technicians over the past year, tough times have given an awareness that planning is more important than ever. Not just long-term, big picture, 10-year goal-setting planning but, “Do we have what we need to get through the next 10 days?”

Obviously, the global pandemic that is COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc and many businesses are still struggling to come to grips with the best next steps. Across the South, snow and ice paralyzed places more used to frozen margaritas than frozen pipes. 

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Customers are dealing with their own crises in their own lives so your traditional marketing efforts may not be getting their attention. Are you in a position to handle the next round of crazy that is probably waiting around the bend?

As contributor Vic Tarasik asked me recently, “When unexpected things upend your day, do you have a backup plan for when stuff hits the fan?”

This issue of ShopOwner addresses this topic directly. From business and management topics focusing on real-world applicable practices that you can implement in your shop today, to broader reminders that this industry is full of people eager to support you, we recognize that from challenges comes a sense of resiliency.

Of course, it’s not always easy. Sometimes, you don’t realize how steep the roof is until you actually get on it. There may be more damage than you first anticipated. And, yes, it may cost you some money to get the job done right. But the payback can be swift when the rain does start falling.

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On a personal note, the Babcox Media family is mourning the recent passing of one of our colleagues, Tim Fritz. I worked with Tim for nearly 30 years, much of that as the Brake & Front End team in the mid-’90s, and then more recently with Tim being the digital editor for Brake & Front End, ImportCar, Underhood Service and ShopOwner.   

Despite his quiet nature and reserved tendencies, Tim was recognized by many in the industry – and, whether you knew it or not, Tim probably considered you a friend.

None of us were prepared for Tim’s passing and his contributions to the ShopOwner team will be sorely missed. Our condolences go out to his family. 

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