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Successful Auto Repair Shop Owners Keep Their Guard Up


Keep Your Guard Up by Rick White, President 180BIZ

I want to talk to you about two things. They're both around the coronavirus right now. The numbers are soaring, and I want you to make sure that you're not dropping your guard as it pertains to keeping yourself and your team safe and keeping your business open. In some areas, if you get the virus, they're closing businesses down for two weeks. That means your entire shop. Think about no income for two weeks. And then, by the way, the new CARES act requires you to pay your team when they're in quarantine. So, imagine two weeks with no income and paying the full payroll for two weeks. That would definitely suck. Make sure you're protecting yourself.

Keep Your Guard Up

  1. Call your Health Department:  You need to know what the guidelines are in your area. I'm not making this political, there is a virus out there. And the reality is it's not a big deal until it's a big deal.  I've seen this over and over again where people have refused to believe it.  And then all of a sudden someone's someone in their family gets really sick from the virus and they're eating crow. I don’t care whether you believe in the virus or not. Here's what I want you to do. Please think about keeping your business open. I want you to keep thinking about keeping your business safe, your people safe. So, the first thing you're going to do is call the health department, find out what the guidelines are.
  2. Require everyone to wear a mask: I highly recommend you and your staff wear masks in the shop all the time. The reality is you can't control what people are doing outside of work. You can inside require masks, everybody, including you. Wear them all day long. It's going to keep transmission down.
  3. Maintain social distances: Make sure you're keeping everybody apart and limiting people getting together.  Don't let them eat lunch or have coffee or go for smokes together. Put a bubble around your business where customers aren't coming in anymore. Do the contactless drop-off and payments. Don't let parts or salespeople into your building. Have them drop this stuff off outside.
  4. Sanitize regularly: Keep everything clean. Wash your hands a lot.

I've seen shops that have struggled through this process. They were very reactive. They didn't have a choice and it's hard as a business owner to have someone tell you to close your doors.

Coronavirus Fatigue

  1. Be aware of behavioral changes: The reality is we've listened to this stuff for a long time. It's in the news all the time and people are getting tired of it. Please be aware of behavioral changes in your team and or customers. What do those look like? They might be getting a little snappy and show frustration. They might be withdrawn. They might be acting carelessly. These are all indicators that someone is dealing with some type of fatigue issue. It really does happen. If you see that behavior, bring them aside and talk to them, but don't dictate. Don't preach. Simply ask them how they're doing. Check in with them and listen. Sometimes that's all they need is someone to listen. A lot of times we tend to do a few things when we are frustrated.  We make a problem pervasive. We make the problem bigger than it is.  I’m telling you this so you can help them keep it real. The second thing is they think the problem is permanent. They think it's going to be like this all the time. And it's tough. Brenda and I love date night. We would go to dinner and a movie. And then we would go to Barnes and Noble afterward for a chai and browse some books.  We haven't done that in forever and we miss it. My point is that we must be careful. We have people that are at high risk and I don't want to hurt anyone. So we've got to let them know that the problem is not permanent. We've got to let them know that this is just a moment in time. And yes, it's been an extended period of time, but it's not forever.
  2. Replace frustration with gratitude: Get them to stop looking at their life with a microscope and start looking with a telescope. See, when I'm looking with a microscope, it's all about me. It's about everything that's happening to me. That makes me a victim. Get then to realize that there are people out there that are dealing with a lot more than you are right now. There are people out of work. There are people struggling to pay rent. There are people that don't know where their next meal is coming from, regardless of what you believe of this pandemic. Those are the byproducts. You have a job. The fact that you have work and that you've got someplace to go and that you're busy, those are blessings. Realize that you've got it better than you think you do. There's always somebody that has it worse. So, I want you to replace frustration with gratitude. Look at how far we've come. Look at the lessons we've learned. Look at the connections we've made. Look at the differences that we've been able to adapt to. That is something to be proud of.
  3. Recognize your circle of control: You can't control the pandemic. You can't control the white house.  All you can control is you.  You can only control your intentions, your mindset, your actions. That's all you can control. Instead of looking at it as people are making you wear a mask, look at as you are doing your part to keep people safe and be supportive.  Think about WWII when people were having aluminum drives to support the troops. Instead of it being the army right now, it's our healthcare workers that need the support. We need to support them with our actions.
  4. Limit your input: There's a lot of negativity going on out there. Let's face it, in the news if it bleeds, it leads. Limit your exposure to the news and negativity. Fill yourself with better content.  Do something to feed yourself in the morning.
  5. Talk to someone: Make sure it’s the right someone, though. If you go to someone and they feel the same way you do, you’ll just feed on each other. You end up with a situation where it's just confirming. I don't want you to confirm what you're feeling. I want you to find someone that can coach you so you can coach your team.  Get them to see the bigger picture, get them to realize that there are people out there that aren't working. Get them to realize how blessed they are. We're going to be dealing with this as these numbers climb.

If you want to keep your business safe, in my opinion, you need to ramp up what you're doing from a safety perspective for your team. Please be aware of this, understand the feelings that come with it, and come with these actions.  And just care about your team and your customers. It's going to make all the difference in the world. Don't put your head in the sand. You're not going to like what happens. Deal with it head-on. Have a great week, thank you, and God bless.  Stay safe and go make some money.

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