Helping Shop Owners grow into the successful entrepreneurs they imagine themselves to be.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Elephants Don't Bite

Elephants Don't Bite
By Eric Twiggs

When was the last time you heard of someone getting bitten by an elephant?  As I reflect on this question I am reminded of “Mike" and "Larry", who are former clients of mine that owned two different shops back in 2010.    At the time, they both had been with ATI for eighteen months and averaged three thousand dollars per week in net profit. 

Both had what they believed to be a good crew consisting of a service manager and three technicians.  Mike and Larry were working ON the business and could leave their shops for extended periods of time without the results changing.

They were both in good health because they left the shop to go to the gym three days per week.  They both updated the portals, were current on their classes, and available for their weekly coaching call.

The only difference between Mike and Larry was that Mike invested one hour per week on hiring activities.  Every Friday morning at nine o'clock, Mike would refresh his Craigslist ads, review his applicant Rolodex, and interview at least one qualified candidate.  Larry didn't see the need to advertise his openings because he was already fully staffed. 

I told Larry what Mike was doing, but he resisted, reminding me of how loyal his people were to him.  After all, "his shop was different, and I didn't understand." 

Three months later, there weren't any noticeable differences in performance between Mike and Larry.  At the six month mark, they were still experiencing the same results.

Twelve months later, the differences between Mike and Larry were staggering.   Mike had lost ten pounds, increased his net profit to four thousand dollars per week, and was spending more time away from his shop pursuing his race car passion.  

Larry on the other hand, was no longer available for my calls because he was working the service counter and turning wrenches.   He went from averaging three thousand dollars per week in net profit, to fifteen hundred dollars.  Larry was experiencing health issues related to stress and the additional twenty pounds he gained.    

Why did one hour per week of invested time make such a difference in their results?  It's because elephants don't bite!    

It's not the elephants, It’s the little things that will come back to bite you.    The decision to do or ignore these little things creates a ripple effect.

For Larry, his failure to spend one hour per week recruiting, led to him to being caught off guard when his service manager resigned to work for the competitor.  The service manager leaving had a ripple effect on his lead technician, who left to go work with the service manager.

Larry being IN the business affected his profit results because he couldn't sell like the service manager.   His health declined because he didn't have the time to go to the gym like he used to

The failure to invest one hour per week on hiring was the root cause of his problems.  He couldn't blame "the economy elephant” for his failures! 

Mike also lost his lead tech during the same twelve month time span.  Since he had been interviewing anyway, he was able to hire a qualified replacement within two weeks. 

As it turned out, the new tech was more productive and had a following of customers from the old shop that followed him to Mike's location.   His strong staffing levels gave him the free time to hire a personal trainer which improved his health and led to his weight loss. 

The economy, your area, and "the lack of good people out there", are just elephants. Please stop reading right now, grab a mirror, and ask yourself the following question: "Have I been consistently doing the little things that lead to long term success?"

How you answer this question can determine where you will be one year from today!   Don't blame the elephants, because they don't bite! 

 PS.  I have a checklist that outlines the little things you need to do to find great people.  Email me at if you would like a copy.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Perfect Time

The Perfect Time
By Eric Twiggs

"There will never be a perfect time to do something that stretches you."  James Clear

I have fond memories of the summer of 2012, when my wife and I got the news that she was expecting our second child.   During my coaching calls, my clients would ask, "Eric are you ready?"  I would go home in the evenings, and my friends would ask, are you ready?   I would see my relatives on the weekends, and they would ask "are you ready?"  

As I thought about the sleepless nights and additional childcare costs, and wondered if I was truly ready. Then it hit me.  If your goal is to "give birth" to a game changing vision, there will never be a perfect time to start the process.   There will always be an element of risk and a feeling of uncertainty associated with your pursuit. 

What are you looking to give birth to in your business?    If you just sit back and wait for the perfect time, you will never reach your goal.   

Are you waiting for the perfect time to bring on that A technician that will free you up from turning wrenches? Are you waiting for the perfect time to invest in that management system that will make your life easier?    Are you waiting for the perfect time to hire that General Manager who will allow you to work ON instead of IN your business?   

The one factor that you may not have considered is the hidden cost, as it relates to how you are currently doing business.  How much is not having the right technician or service manager really costing you? 

 A recent Success Magazine study concluded that having the wrong person in a position can cost a business up to six times the salary for that position when you factor in lost sales opportunities, lack of repeat business, reputation damaging mistakes, and training expenses.   In other words, it may be costing you more now than it would if you hired the right person. 

The slowest week of the year is usually the week after you interview that person who could be a game changer for you.  I get it. 

Think of the inevitable drop in business that comes after the interview as labor pains that show up to test how committed you are to your goal.      I challenge you to not let the labor pains, keep you from giving birth to your vision.