Want to fix your Business? Focus on People First

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As leaders, how often do we delegate critical people "interactions" and tasks to others? Is interviewing new team candidates the first thing that gets delegated?  How about the training? It's been my experience that the delegation of critical people tasks happens more times then not.  Why?  Because it's hard work to hire people!  Its very time consuming!  Lets face it .. its a pain in the butt to keep training and coaching people!  But if you want to build  great teams, "hands on" is absolutely necessary. Show me an underperforming business unit, and you will most likely find the leader disengaged with his/her people and preoccupied with administrative tasks. As a leader, there is nothing more important then the time you spend with your people. If great performance starts and ends with great performing people, you must spend the time it takes to hire the right candidate and invest the time it takes to develop that individual.   Want to fix your business? Spend time … [Read more...]

Exiting My Business – Why Should I Plan?

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I talk to many business owners and I always ask the question, “How and when do you plan to exit this business?” It never ceases to amaze me how many people tell me, “I am never going to leave my business; this is my life.” Let me put that myth to rest immediately. Every business owner WILL leave their business. They may leave it vertically or they may leave it horizontally, but they will leave it. That being said, it is obvious that exit planning is very critical to business owners, but especially small business owners. Why? Let’s look at some statistics from the Small Business Administration. There are approximately 23 million businesses in theUS. Of these businesses, 99.7% have fewer than 500 employees. In other words, small business! Over 65% of these businesses are family owned or closely held businesses. Over 50% of small businesses are owned by individuals over 50 years of age. What does this say? There will be more businesses hitting the market for sale in the next … [Read more...]

Automotive Seminars & Update to RTS coming soon!

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Hi All ! Its been a busy few months!  I just wanted to update you, and let you know what I have been up to and what you can expect from RTS in the near future. Last October, I left TCi/Michelin to help out a Co-op up in Portland called NW Tire Factory.  Tire Factory is a group of  fantastic Independent Tire Business  owners located mostly in the Pacific Northwest.  Tire Factory is owned and operated by tire and service dealers just like you.  I made short work of building a sales team, developing a recruiting and value add program for their membership and even made a few friends along the way (Hi Steve, Andrew and Rob!). Prior to my detour in Portland,  I was working on a program called "The Complete Winning Strategy".  CWS is a comprehensive retail operations workshop and coaching platform inspired by my 18 years of  leading and assisting retail tire and service  teams.    The program assists store leadership in defining roles, setting goals as well as providing ownership … [Read more...]

RTS is looking for Contributors

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I started Retail Tires Solutions a few years ago as a place to post solutions and best practices for Independent Tire Dealers that I supported in the Western States.  I felt then (and still do) - that there really wasn't many good resources for tire dealers to get practical information and support. Shout Out! I am looking for new contributors to share best practices, insights, inspiration, new products or anything that would provide the RTS Community with some "Good Stuff" to help Independent Tire and Service Dealers. What does "Good Stuff" look like? Best Practices Business Philosophy Customer Success Stories Grass Root Marketing Ideas Why you do what you do ... How you built you business Or anything else that would provide guidance to fellow Independent Tire and Service Dealers. What's in it for YOU? On an average month, this blog site gets a few thousand page reads.  You could become famous ;-) or more likely, your contribution could provide the inspiration for … [Read more...]

Why its a good Idea to Offer an Inspection to Every Customer

I live in Arizona where there is no requirement to have an annual  safety inspection performed on passenger and light truck vehicles.  According to Info.com only 26 States now require regular inspections of automobiles "to rid the highways of dangerous vehicles with bald tires, wobbly suspensions, smoke-filled exhausts, and defective brakes and lights."  You can find that list of States here. If I owned a Tire and Service business in a State that doesn't require regular safety inspections, I'm not sure that I would need another reason to recommend a full mechanical inspection on every one of my customers vehicles at least once a year.  I would charge for that inspection as well. If you do need another reason to offer (sell) inspections to every customer, here is another one!  It has to do with identifying customers that are interested in having a safety inspection performed on their vehicle.  Believe it or not, there are lots of customers that are interested in having a safety … [Read more...]

Red Rules for Tire & Service Dealers

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At the end of the day, no matter what you believe - a standard is whatever you are willing to accept. Activities such as: hand torquing every wheel prior to the vehicle leaving the shop; double checking the oil level, filter and drain plug after performing an oil change and insisting that your people use protective items in every vehicle -  these activities seem like no brainers. However; It has been my experience, that if you don't communicate these expectations to your people, its tough to hold them accountable. Draw A Line in the Sand Here is a example of Red Rules that are used by one of my dealers: The following is our group’s “Red Rules”.  A Red Rule is the minimal acceptable level of performance that will be accepted from this point forward. We will offer every customer a Preferred Customer Card. All oil change conversations will include the option of a Maintenance Package. Every customer will be informed of our 2 and 3 year alignment policy. Every store will … [Read more...]

A Day in the Life of Retail Tire & Service

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  It all starts with a Plan - Here is Mine - What's yours? ;-)     … [Read more...]

Employee Wage Update:

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January will see a number of state minimum wage increases across the nation.  Arizona ($7.35), Montana ($7.35), Ohio ($7.40), Oregon ($8.50), Vermont ($8.15), and Washington ($8.67) will all increase. Owners are encouraged to check for state and local variances for certain occupations or situations. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has a helpful Web page for state minimum wage requirements.  However, this Web site posts changed rates once they become effective; it does not post future or expected changes. … [Read more...]

3 Bootstrapping Customer Driving Techniques

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One of the most stressful times in any retail environment is when you are staffed to the hilt but no customers are walking through the door.  You look to your left and to your right and you have hourly employees that you are paying to just stand around.  I have been there.  Not Fun!  While there in no sure-fire way to instantly acquire customers, there are some techniques that many dealers use that seem to be pretty effective. #1 Alway have a box of oil change coupons on hand like these.  If there are no customers in your location, then its a safe bet that your sales and technicians are probably not too busy.  With the oil change coupons in hand, point your staff to the nearest traffic intersection to hand out the coupons.  You will be pleasantly  surprised how may coupons are redeemed in the coming weeks. #2 Have an "A" Frame board on hand with an "unbeatable" oil change offer like this.  Put the "A" Frame out in front of your location when you have empty bays. #3  Have Free … [Read more...]

Alignment Strategy – What’s a Good Job?

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A good way to gauge whether or not you are maximize your Alignment Opportunities is to base you Alignments sold verses PAT. PAT = Potential Alignment Ticket Potential Alignment Tickets are work orders (invoices) that you have sold two or more retail tires on. I would focus on a goal of 70% Alignments Sold to Work Orders that you have sold two or more tires. Track it Daily for best results! If you need a tracking sheet, check these out. Good Selling, Pat … [Read more...]