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Auto Repair Shop Owner's Daily Dose 1: Problems and Control


Problems and Control by Rick White, President 180BIZ

This CoronaVirus is a little bit scary. I get that. It's not just a little scary, it can really be overwhelming.  Sometimes you feel like you're all alone with the problems that you’re facing and that it's just you against the world.  I am here to tell you that is not true. You can't let the fear take control. Zig Ziglar said it best. He said, “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” Now, most of us are coming into this with a business that isn't quite where we want it to be.  It's not as busy as we want it to be. We're not making the money that we want. And now this virus hits us and it's overwhelming. I’ll say it again. It's overwhelming.

There are two things I will share with you. The first thing is what I call the three P’s of problems.

Pervasive: The first thing we do when we have a problem is to make it pervasive. What do I mean by that? We take one issue and generalize it.  For example, when I'm talking to a business owner and I say, “Hey, how are things going?” The owner responds, “Business is just terrible. It's horrible.” After I start digging, I find that the owner can pay his bills.  He has a great team.  He can get the parts that he needs.  But he doesn’t have as many cars to work on as expected. Business isn’t horrible, one aspect of the business needs improvement.  Dig deeper to understand and identify the real issue.

Permanent:  Don’t make the problem permanent.  Fear sets in when business is “horrible.”  Fear turns a bad day or a bad week into, “My shop is going out of business.”  Fear is future-oriented.  We’ve become afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet.  I won’t sugar coat this.  There will be hiccups along the way and obstacles to overcome. But by identifying the real issue and taking action, massive action, we can make the problem temporary.  You are capable of adapting and overcoming the obstacles that come your way.  You will come out stronger and better off than you were when this all started.

Personal: We tend to make problems personal. We tell ourselves that we are the problem. It’s my fault, I can’t do this.  We doubt ourselves. It’s that little voice in our head that doesn't want us to grow and succeed.   Don’t make the problem with you. Don’t make it personal.  Everything that you want in life is on the other side of that fear. Instead of worrying and being afraid, think about how others are adapting to the situation. Restaurants have closed their dining rooms but are still offering take out or drive-through service.

Below are three steps to help you navigate the issues the virus is causing in your business.

  1. Identify the problem.  People won’t bring their cars in for service for fear of getting the virus.
  2. Make a plan.
    1. Offer vehicle pick-up and delivery service.
    2. Step up your shop cleaning and vehicle cleaning practices.
    3. Offer free oil service for people in the health care and law enforcement industry.
  3. Take massive action.
    1. Create and post videos on social media about how you sanitize your shop, about how you clean the vehicle before and after the work is performed.
    2. Send email letters to your customers explaining your plans and how social distancing is still possible.  Remind them that you have a dropbox and how online payments are possible.
    3. Help the community in any way that you can.

Generally, with problems, we make them pervasive, we make them permanent, and we make them personal.  Stop doing that!  Recognize the situation for what it is.  Come up with a plan.  Work the plan.  If the plan isn’t working as well as you’d like it to, then adapt.  Modify the plan to overcome the issue.

The second topic I will share is about control and where you should be investing your time.  There are three circles shown below. They are:

The Circle of Control: What’s in the circle of control?  Me or I.  That’s it.  The only thing that I can control is me.  I can control my attitude.  I can control my intentions. I can control my focus.  I can control my actions.  I can control my reactions.  I can control what I focus on, the meaning I give it, and the actions that I take.

The Circle of Influence:  This is where the people are.  I can’t control other people.  All I can do is influence. In order to influence people, you must have trust. People must get to know, like, and trust you. They must see that you care and that you know what you’re talking about, that you are credible.  That’s the two components of trust. Caring and credibility. Your community is scared because of the virus.  Let them know that this is a moment in time, and you’ll all get through it together.

The Circle of Concern:  This is situations, events, and circumstances.  I can’t change anything in the circle of concern.  I can’t make the economy get better.  I can’t make the virus go away.  I can control the weather. I can’t control the presidency or election.  I can, however, control how I react to any of these things.  Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” Ask, “What can I do about it? What am I going to do to make a difference?”  We all tell ourselves a story every day of our lives.  In that story, there isonly one of three roles you’re playing.  You’re either playing the HERO, you’re playing the VICTIM, or you’re playing the VILLAIN.  Which role are you playing today?  Today I choose to play the HERO.  I choose to be the hero for my family.  I choose to be the hero for you.  I choose to be the hero to serve you, to help you navigate through this shaky time.

Recognize that this is a temporary situation, an event. It’s just that.  It’s a situation that’s outside of your control.  It is, though, a time to step up and figure out what you’re going to do about it and take control of yourself and your business.  Do something to make it better.  It might be helping your neighbor with household supplies.  It might just be seeing someone who is in need and helping them. Recognize what you can control and do something positive.

God Bless.

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