A business reflects its owner and managers. Because a tire dealership mirrors those individuals, it will only grow as much as they let it.
Counselors and therapists say the first step toward turning around a troubled person is getting this person to admit he or she has a problem. For instance, Alcoholics Anonymous is known for getting participants to state, ``I'm Joe and I'm an alcoholic.''
My experience traveling around this industry has taught me that many owners and managers need similar therapy. The boss should recite the following mantra: ``This business is exactly what I made it. I take complete responsibility for its appearance and performance.''
I have absolutely had my fill of the whiners and complainers bemoaning the fact that they can't get good help. They're fed up with the motoring public at large. They think all their vendors are crooks.
I think the only reason these bosses don't blow their own brains out is that pulling the trigger requires making a decision and taking some kind of action-something they aren't inclined to do.
Shall we take these in order? (For the sake of brevity, let's call this owner or manager BOSS.)
First of all, what kind of image does BOSS himself project? Does his personal appearance telegraph a positive self-image and self-respect?
These are the prerequisites for projecting a wholesome professional image.
Or does BOSS' appearance come across as being a notch or two above street bum? You say he shows no concern for commonly decent grooming? He looks like a slob? There's nothing about his appearance that suggests he's in charge of the operation? His language-even in mixed company-is downright vulgar and disrespectful?
In many previous columns, I've emphasized the old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. What kind of first impression is BOSS making on motorists and on prospective new hires? If BOSS doesn't care about his own image, how concerned could he be about looking after someone's vehicle or taking care of the hired help?
BOSS constantly whines about the low quality of help he gets. Hmm...a third-party observer would note that the help looks as scuzzy as BOSS himself does. A very simple fact of working life is that scuzz attracts scuzz while class attracts class. If you doubt me, ask a well-groomed, first-rate technician about his or her experiences interviewing at such a business. They're repulsed by scuzz. They're not interested in making a career (yes, I said career) tolerating the sights, sounds and odor of scuzzballs!
What's more, BOSS' facility also looks as classy as he does-it's a grease pit! Classy techs know getting dirty is part of the job, but it doesn't mean they relish working in a dungeon. First-rate techs aren't enamored with service shops where one ``skates'' over slimy floors.
Second, BOSS is disgusted with what he perceives to be the cads and cheats who allegedly chisel his service staff for every price break and freebie possible. BOSS doesn't realize that his dealership's down-at-heel, threadbare image repulses the desirable, value-conscious consumer. What's more, he's always plied his trade on the assumption that a lower price overcomes all objections and basically solves all problems.
However, low prices attract the price-driven chiselers BOSS says he despises. What kind of long-term relationship can a service facility cultivate with price-driven people? There's minimal chance of a long-term relationship because these motorists simply skip down the pike in search of the lowest price for the repairs they need.
Finally, BOSS has nothing good to say about his vendors, either. But like his workers and customers, he attracts a certain type of supplier. Remember, the only feature BOSS markets is price, price, price. Therefore, he has to purchase parts with the same philosophy: Low price rules.
But what a surprise-the low-cost suppliers can't afford to provide value-added features such as better deliveries, inventory, warranties etc.
Mr. Tire Dealer or Service Shop Owner, you are the one making the bed. If you choose to make a bad one, lie in it. But if you want better, only you can step forward to improve your lot in business and life. Think about it.