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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How To Get More Done At Your Shop With Less Effort

How To Get More Done At Your Shop With Less Effort


Eric M. Twiggs

“The problem isn’t having too much to do, it’s not knowing what to do next.” Michael Port

Charles Schwab was the Bill Gates of 1918.  He was one of the richest men of his day, and the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, one of the largest producers of Steel during that time.  Despite being the “top shop” of his time, he felt that something was missing in his business.   

He scheduled a meeting with Ivy Lee, a well-known productivity consultant.  He asked Lee to show him how to get more done with less effort.   Lee agreed to meet with each of Schwab’s key executives for 15 minutes. 

How much will this cost me?” Schwab asked.  To which Lee shockingly replied, Nothing, unless it works.   After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.” 

Three months later, Schwab was so happy with the progress that resulted from Lee’s meetings, he wrote Lee a check for $25,000.  A $25,000 check in 1918 would equate to $400,000 in 2018 currency!   This proves that there’s value in the ability to get more done with less effort.    

When I ask a shop owner about updating the portal, the number one objection I get is: “I don’t have time” When I ask a service manager about sending the digital inspection photos to the customer, the number one objection I get is: “I don’t have time!”

When I ask a service advisor about making follow up calls, what do you think the number one objection is?  That’s right, “I don’t have time.” 

Here’s what’s interesting: Some of these individuals are cigarette smokers.  A recent survey concluded that smokers in the workplace spend up to five hours per week taking cigarette breaks. 

So, how is it that they have an extra five hours per week to smoke, but no time to follow your processes?   

It’s because smoking is a priority for them.   So, the Twiggs Translation for “I don’t have time” is, “this isn’t a priority for me!”  Here’s the cold, hard truth: You will find the time to do whatever is important to you. 

Ivy Lee helped Schwab’s team to establish priorities and find time to do what’s important.   Keep reading as I explain exactly what Lee taught the executives.  If you apply what I’m about to share, you’ll get more done with less effort.   

Your Big Six

Lee instructed Schwab’s executives to make time at the end of each day to write down the six most important things they needed to accomplish the following day. 

They were then instructed to prioritize the six items in order of importance.   Any unfinished tasks were moved to the following day’s list for completion. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Great information Twiggs, but this isn’t 1918.  What priorities should I establish in my shop today?”   I’ve discovered that the best shops in America are strong in the following three areas:  1. Finding great employees 2. Improving gross profit 3.  Networking with new & existing customers.      

The key is to identify and execute at least two tasks per day, every day in each category. (2 tasks X 3 categories = Your Big 6)  

Your Big Six in Action

At the end of your day today, identify two tasks from each category to be done for tomorrow.   For example, to find great employees you write: “update technician ad”, and “schedule interview with the technician applicant.”  (Yes, I do recommend doing this even if you’re fully staffed!)

To improve gross profit, you write: “Do the RO Audits” and “update the ATI portal.” (You can’t manage what you’re not measuring.)   Under customer networking you write “Update the google my business post” and “make five follow up calls to existing customers.” 

In one week, you will have taken 10 specific actions to find great people, improve gross profit, and network with your customers. (2 actions per day X 5 days) In three months, you will have taken 120 specific actions in each of these key areas of your business.  (10 actions per week X 12 weeks =120) 

Initially, you may find it hard to identify your big six items.  Once this becomes a regular routine, it will require less effort and you will get more of the right things done each day.


Have you ever met a stressed-out farmer?  The reason you haven’t, is because he knows that he’s planted the right seed into the right soil, during the right season. 

He is responsible for the sowing and not the harvest.  As long as he does his part, he has no reason to be stressed.

Executing the big six is like planting the right seed into the right soil, during the right season.  Over time, you will get more done at your shop, with less effort, and experience less stress. 

Your customers will be so happy with the experience, they will treat you like Ivy Lee by writing you a big check!

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. Email  to receive a time management log that will help you establish your six daily priorities!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How To Become A World Class Shop Owner

How To Become A World Class Shop Owner


Eric M.  Twiggs

“The best performers set goals that are not about the outcome but about the process of reaching the outcome.”  Geoff Colvin

Are you a mediocre shop owner?  What really separates the best owners in the world from everyone else?   I came across some information from the world of Olympic figure skating that may help you answer these questions. 

In his book,  Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Geoff Colvin outlines the differences between the elite figure skaters and those who are mediocre. 

Through his research, he found that the ordinary skaters spend most of their time practicing the jumps they can already do. The jumps they have always done.   The jumps that are in their comfort zone.

The problem with continuing to do what you have always done, is that you will continue get what you have always gotten.  The mediocre skaters continue to experience the result of not winning an Olympic medal.

The elite skaters on the other hand, spend more time practicing the jumps they can’t already do.  The jumps that are outside of their comfort zone.   The jumps that ultimately win Olympic medals. 

Mastering the more difficult jumps, requires the elite skaters to fall more during their training sessions, than the average performer.  But in the end, they get up on the medal stand because they aren’t afraid to fall down in practice

Every year we have a select group of shop owners who consistently make it to the ATI Top 12 “medal stand.”   In speaking with these leaders over the years, I’ve discovered the following trend: They tend to embrace new ideas that are outside of their current comfort zone.   

For example, the idea of using digital tablets feels uncomfortable, but they embrace it. (BTW, all 12 of last year’s winners have a tablet based courtesy check system!)   The idea of always hiring even when fully staffed, feels uncomfortable, but they embrace it.

The idea of offering a 3-year 36,000-mile warranty feels uncomfortable, but they embrace it.   These ideas are the equivalent of a figure skater practicing the triple axel! 

The mediocre performers on the other hand, are unwilling to do what’s uncomfortable.  This is like the skater who’s only great at doing the figure 8!    

If after reading this, you feel like a mediocre shop owner, I have the following good news:  Yesterday ended last night!   Your new path to becoming world class can begin today!    Keep reading to learn two strategies to become a world class shop owner:

Use Discomfort As Confirmation

Several years ago, I moved to a new town and was looking for a Karate school to join.   I was referred to two different dojo’s, and was able to test drive both by attending classes for free. 

I attended the first school’s session which was similar to the styles I had studied before.  I was comfortable with the format, familiar with the techniques, and I even worked up a mild sweat.   The instructor seemed like a great guy.

The second school was a different experience.  The techniques were new to me, the drills were exhausting, and I wondered why anyone would pay for such abuse, as I cursed the instructor under my breath! 

I ended up choosing the second school, because I knew that the pain would push me to get better faster.   I used discomfort as confirmation that I was on the right track!

Remember when your ATI coach first suggested implementing the pricing matrix, and you immediately felt a pang of discomfort in the pit of your stomach?  The first thought that came to your mind was “I can’t do that!” 

The reason you reacted this way, was because your comfort zone was being challenged.  Today, using the pricing matrix isn’t as stressful for you.  Since you pressed through the initial feeling, you’ve grown to a different level.   That feeling of discomfort was the starting point of your progress. 

The next time your coach suggests something that makes you uncomfortable, and you feel that pang in the pit of your stomach, try thinking, “I must do that” instead of “I can’t do that.”   The uneasy feeling is just confirmation that what you’re about to do is critical to your success.

Find A World Class Environment

Back in the early 90’s, I heard a motivational message from Tony Robbins that changed my life.   I was watching one of his motivational infomercials, and head him make the following statement: “Success leaves clues.”

He went on to stress the importance of finding people who had already achieved the results that you aspire to, and asking them what they did to get there.   After hearing this, I was inspired into action!

If my goal was to run a double-digit sales increase, I found someone who was already doing it, and met with them. 

If someone was having success hiring technicians, I picked up the phone and asked what they were doing to find them.  If another manager always had high customer satisfaction scores, I would reach out to him and eventually model his process. 

What I learned was the following truth: You can’t achieve greatness in isolation.   Finding a world class environment is critical!

Every gold medal winning Olympic skater has the following things in common:  1.) They had a qualified coach 2.) They had access to a more advanced skater who could mentor them. 3.)  They were surrounded by others who had a goal of winning  “the gold”   

As an ATI member, I know you have a qualified coach.  But are you being mentored by another shop owner who has the results you aspire to?  Do you consistently associate with other like-minded shop owners who want to become the best of the best? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then congratulations!  You are on your way to becoming a world class shop owner.


So, there you have it.  If you use discomfort as confirmation and find a world class environment, you can become a world class shop owner.    I hope I have inspired you into action, so that you practice the triple axel instead of the figure 8!

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Email to receive a three-step process that will help you find a world class environment, so you can model world class behaviors. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How To Become A Fearless Shop Owner

How To Become A Fearless Shop Owner


Eric M. Twiggs

“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” Michael Jordan

“What did you fail at this week?”  This question was posed to young “Sarah” by her father each night at the dinner table.  So much so, that it became part of their dinnertime routine. 

If she had nothing to report, her dad was disappointed.  When she told him about how she “bombed” while trying out for the role in the middle school play, she received a “high five” and was congratulated.

Then Dad would ask her to write down what he referred to as “the hidden gifts” from the experience.  In other words, he wanted to know what she learned from her failures that would help her to succeed in the future.

Little Sarah grew up and graduated from College with the goal of becoming a lawyer.  This was her dream!  There was one small problem.  To get into law school, you must pass the LSAT test.  She failed the test and was denied admittance.

Sarah shifted her focus and decided to become a business owner.  As she was attempting to launch her concept, she heard the word NO for two straight years.  

For two years, she was rejected by investors. For two years, she was rejected by the banks. For two years, she was rejected by store owners. 

So, whatever became of poor little Sarah?  Sarah Blakely went on to become the youngest self-made billionaire in history!   She is the founder and CEO of Spanx, a company that sells leggings, undergarments, and maternity wear in sixty-five countries! 

When asked to explain her success, she attributes it to her father redefining failure for her at the dinner table.  Failing in her quest to become a lawyer, turned out to be a billion-dollar hidden gift!  

If she had succeeded on the LSAT test, she would have failed to become a billionaire!

Sarah’s story is confirmation of the following truth:  If you have a commitment to persistence, there is no failure. There is only feedbackOnce you reframe your failures as feedback, you become fearless

So, what can you do to use failure as feedback, and become a fearless shop owner?  Keep reading to learn the billion-dollar secrets.    

Lose The Microwave Mentality

In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy makes mention of the microwave mentality.  Thanks to fast food, instant messaging, and overnight mail, we are a society that expects instant results.  

He uses the example of the slot machine winner that you see in Vegas jumping up and down after a big win.  All you see is her sudden success.    What you don’t see are the hundreds of times that same person lost on that same machine.

You see the Top Shop Owner on Stage at the Super Conference celebrating his success.  What you don’t see, is the struggle that led to that moment.   You don’t see that day when his best technician left for the competitor. 

You don’t see that day when he spent $1,000 on a new acquisition mailer that resulted in a $19.00 oil change.  You don’t see that day when he ran the employment ad for a state inspector, and only the fork lift drivers applied.

The first step to becoming a fearless shop owner, is to lose the microwave mentality.   It will be harder to bounce back from your set back, if you’re looking for the quick fix.   The moment you begin to view success as a process, you will be positioned to view failure as feedback.

Embrace Flexibility

I have a friend from college named “Rick” who is a pilot.  Before he takes off to his destination, he inputs the coordinates into a GPS navigation system.    Once the plane takes off, factors like the weather and changes in the atmosphere, will cause the GPS to change the flight path. 

From the time the plane takes off, to the time it arrives, the path may change several times for various reasons.    The destination is fixed, but the flight path is flexible. 

Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.   Most shop owners who fail to achieve their goals, do so because they quit the after the first failed attempt.  Instead of changing their path, they give up on the destination. 

For example, let’s say you set a goal to hire your replacement this year.  You run an employment ad and get zero responses, and react by quitting on your quest to find help.  The fact that you got zero responses doesn’t make you a failure.  The fact that you gave up on your goal does.   

The flexible leader will view failure as feedback.  Instead of quitting, she would change the title, change the bullet points, add a sign on bonus, and repost the ad.  The hidden gift from this experience would be that she learned how to write better copy.  

Being flexible is the second step to becoming a fearless shop owner.  It takes courage to continually change the path until you arrive at your destination.


So, there you have it.  If you lose the microwave mentality and embrace flexibility, you can become a fearless shop owner.   What did you fail at this week?  What did you learn from it?

Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Email  to receive a Failure Takeaway Sheet to help you document the hidden gifts from the experience. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How To Achieve The Impossible At Your Shop This Year

How To Achieve The Impossible At Your Shop This Year


Eric M. Twiggs

“Anything is possible if you have the right strategy.”

Have you ever been asked to achieve the impossible?  The story is told of two sons who were asked by their father to rebuild a brick wall in front of his business.  There was only one problem; the sons were twelve and nine years of age! 

The twelve year old was designated as the project leader, and he and his brother went to work.  A year and a half later, the wall was completed!  Years later, the oldest son shared the following details to explain how he and his brother achieved the impossible:   

“You don’t try to build a wall.  You don’t say, “I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.” You don’t start there. You say: “I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. And you do that every single day, and soon you’ll have a wall.”

The twelve year old grew up to become someone who achieved the impossible on a regular basis.  You may have heard of him, some guy named Will Smith, who has starred in films that have grossed over $2.8 billion dollars!  He achieved the impossible one brick at a time. 

His success was due to shifting his focus from the solid wall to the single brick. Now, you may be thinking, “Cute Story Twiggs, but what does Will’s wall have to do with me?” 

 It has everything to do with you. 

As you embark on 2018, hiring the right technician may seem impossible.  Leaving your shop without the profits leaving with you, may seem impossible.   Growing your car count after raising your prices, may seem impossible.

If you aspire to achieve the impossible, the key is to fall in love with the process.   But here’s the problem:   Focusing on the process doesn’t guarantee that you will achieve your desired outcome.   

So the question becomes, how do you fall in love what the process, when the outcome isn’t guaranteed?  Keep reading and you will learn my two step plan. 

1.     Find Your Motivation

“What’s my motivation?”  This is a common question that is raised by actors like Will Smith, while preparing for a particular role.  The actor wants to find out what’s driving their character to pursue the goal that’s written in the script.   The actor knows that he can own the role, once he knows why the character wants the goal. 

What’s your motivation?  You can become successful at achieving your goal once you know why you want it. 

For example, after asking yourself why you want to hire a general manager, you may discover that the desire to be free to attend your daughter’s soccer games is what’s driving you.   You’re tired of always having to say, “Daddy’s has to work today.”

This desire for freedom will drive you to refresh your employment ads each week.  This desire for freedom will drive you to conduct at least one interview per week. 

This desire for freedom will drive you to network with your vendors and tool reps.   By finding your motivation, you can fall in love with the process, and achieve the impossible! 

2.     Focus On “Becoming.”

Last week, I was speaking with Jessica, the service manager for Cobb Tire, located in South Carolina.  We were talking about setting goals and achieving the impossible.  She told me that she lost 160 pounds in 2017 by following a strict diet and exercise process. 

“How did you stay motivated to follow your routines?” I asked.  Here’s what she said. “I knew that by achieving the goal I would become unstoppable, because nobody could tell me that my other goals were impossible!”   She kept pressing forward, because she was motivated by who she could become in the process of pursuing what she wanted.

What are you focused on becoming?  Let’s say you have a goal of finding and keeping the right technicians at your shop this year.   To accomplish this, you commit to the process of interviewing at least one person per week.  This time next year you will have interviewed 52 technicians.

When it comes to hiring, you would become unstoppable.  Nobody would be able to tell you that finding technicians was impossible, because out of 52 attempts, you will have found at least one! You would also have several candidates in your rolodex waiting to come work for you!      


So, there you have it.  By finding your motivation and focusing on “becoming”, you can achieve the impossible at your shop this year.    If you focus more on the process than the outcome, you can build a great shop, one brick at a time!   



Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS. Email to receive a listing of The 7 Biggest Blunders of Goal Setting, so that you know what NOT to do in 2018!