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Repair Shop Advice

What Is the Big Picture Goal of Your Auto Repair Shop?

September 25, 2019

Some repair shop owners start out with big goals.  For many, however, the goal of owning a shop instead of working at someone else’s isn’t a world-changing one.  Some owners don’t enjoy working for someone else or think they could do a better job themselves.  Other people just enjoy building things from scratch instead of following someone else’s directions.

In the early days of any business, the best goal is the one that gives you the motivation to get out of bed every morning and work longer than everyone else.  It’s extremely hard to start a business.  One of the hardest parts of owning a business is having to do a bunch of work you don’t want to do – taxes, financials, and complying with HR laws take up more time than anyone wants.

But once you get to a point where you have a steady flow of customers and keeping the business running doesn’t take every bit of energy you have, it’s a good idea to consider what the big picture goal of your shop is.

Of course, your day-to-day goals will be similar to those of other shops.  You want to provide great vehicle service and customer service.  You want to provide a good living for your employees that allows them to enjoy their jobs and their families.  You want to make a profit, and build a management structure that allows you to step out of the shop (at least) a few times a year for vacation and other obligations.

But beyond auto repair, why does your shop exist?  Do you want to keep it small, and use the company as a vehicle to contribute to your community?  Do you want to continue to grow it, and use that growth to provide growth opportunities for the employees who have been with you since the early days?  Do you want to use your company profits to support a social or religious cause that means a lot to you and your employees?

Most people don’t just go to work to pay their bills.  They want co-workers they like, work they enjoy, and the opportunity to grow.  They want to contribute to their workplaces, but they also want their workplaces to contribute to them, and to causes they care about.  Having a business that supports a purpose beyond its own profitability will motivate you to succeed.  It should also motivate your current staff members and attract the staff who are focused on the needs of others rather than themselves.

It can also attract customers. According to a study by Clutch, 68% of people value businesses that contribute to their local community.  Customers want to know that their money is going to someone who cares about them and their community.  It’s a major reason people support independent businesses, and a core part of “Shop Small” marketing.

Does your business have a stated purpose beyond profitability?  How will its growth lead to better outcomes for your employees, your community, and to the causes you care about most?  If you haven’t stated this explicitly, you might be surprised how much of a positive effect it might have on your business!

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