Article By: John Hill
“Hold on like there is an egg between your palms and the grips”. “Don’t look where you are; look where you’re going”. These were the instructions from a British riding instructor who was with us on an adventure bike ride in Moab, Utah a few years back. We were all riding some really high-end motorcycles, which we didn’t own. They had all been shipped in by the manufacturer. The manufacturer had us out to test the bikes before they were released to the public. Everyone riding had years of experience and we all were a little humbled by the manufacturer bringing in the instructors. For me it was an easy assessment; expensive bikes and the open desert. The manufacturer was simply ensuring their investment and did not want damage to their bikes or more important any injury to some of their top performers. The words of the instructors became permanently etched into my mind.
Running our business is much like an adventure ride. We’ve been doing things long enough to know the ins and outs and don’t really care to read the instructions every day. However, when things occur along our trail we may tend to tense up and try to grab on a little too hard. When the car that just won’t go away keeps coming back or “the” customer shows up. The one you knew better than to try to help…..the one who had spent/wasted all their money at four other shops before coming to you. It’s not that you were able to resolve their ongoing concern that they seem to share with everyone in the waiting area; it’s the fact that they had spent $3,012.83 fixing their concern (the one you had now addressed correctly for $243.17). You stand in awe wondering what the “good” customers must think overhearing the conversation.
It’s so tempting to look where we are at the moment in such situations. When we learn to look toward where we’re headed in business we can thankfully forget the patch of unexpected rocks and sand that found it’s way onto our path. When we may try to grip too tight trying to fix someone’s twisted mentality, we begin to lose control of our vehicle. When another bump may suddenly occur, we may tend to over react based on what we’ve just encountered. We should have left a little cushion in our hold to prevent us from too quick a reaction.
We need to let go of the grips a little and trust that things will work out just fine. While we can’t change the thinking of twisted people, we can get our minds back on track focusing on the wide open opportunities we have in business. Look toward having the six figures in a reserve account. Having the best equipment and trained staff with systems that work without our being in the middle of things all day every day. Look toward the chance encounter with one of your customers while you’re out shopping one weekend. To hear your customer say “Your crew really takes care of me” makes it all come together.
You may remember I was sharing in a previous article about all of our painting upfits. It’s been very inspiring seeing all the positive reactions from staff and customers regarding the bright colors. People seem to function at a higher pace when surrounded by bright cheerful colors and lighting. It’s made a huge difference in our team. Some are saying things like, “I couldn’t wait to get here today to see what changes you’d made over the weekend.” Give it a try if you haven’t already. It is proving very effective in motivating people. Keeping things clean and in order not only makes your team more productive; it impresses customers and makes them trust you more. They end up having you do more to their vehicle when they feel like you’re driven to keep improving your facilities. Invest in the needed equipment to make certain your staff has everything needed to succeed. The investment truly pays for itself quickly. It appears that the more we invest in our operations the more we grow. The more people want to come and work with us. Customers don’t care to come around a place that feels tired and dated where it’s apparent nothing is being put back into a business. It’s so neat to take potential hires and customers on a tour of the facilities. Everyone senses the ambition and desire more than any marketing materials could ever achieve.
OK it’s time to ride. How’s your grip feel?