This month I am going to waiver slightly from the lessons in my book. I have consulted for a number of yards this year and have been thinking carefully about what the common threads to weak performance (or failure) are. Some folks are doing real well (defined as 15% to 25% net profit) while many are just getting by, if at all.
These reasons some folks aren’t doing well aren’t speculation; they are based on my actual experiences this year. Here we go (these aren’t in any special order):
- Failure to change– I know right away when I visit a site, within one hour, if significant progress is going to be made. At least 50% of the time, I hear a lot of defensive posturing and reasons why what they are doing is the right thing. Even when I explain that I have seen their situation many times before, and a change will help, they won’t hear of it. Most folks think problems are unique to their site, when in fact I see the same problems over and over.
- Too many employees-This is the single biggest problem. Most of the time I hear all the reasons why this employee can’t do this or that. (See number one.) If you aren’t doing at least $15k per month per employee (many are doing $20k plus), you have too many employees.
- Unresolvable family issues-Dads (and moms) that won’t get out of the way, unreasonable expectations on value, and/or unwillingness to recognize that new blood (and energy) is needed. I guess it’s an ego thing, but I always say I hope I will recognize when it is time to move on and choose to sell or pass on the business when I am at the top. Many passed the top some time back and are waiting for those days to return.
- Unwillingness (or inability) to use the computer-The power of the information in our computers is unbelievable. About 10% of the sites to which I go are actually using the sophisticated tools their computer provides. Many are looking for “advanced techniques”, or “secrets”, but aren’t doing anything resembling basics.
- Unwillingness to get help-I talk to lots of folks that are struggling but say they can’t afford help or are waiting for something to happen or change. It is unfathomable to me. I always tell folks they will get these costs back in a day or so on just one or two of the many ideas I (or someone) will give them. There are lots of folks out there tossing good money every month, recurring money, every month, until they wise up. I remember in 1987 when we had one of the worst months we had ever had. Things were dismal. What did I do? I installed the Auto Info computer. Within months our business had picked up, not because of the computer, but it was just one of the tools we used, albeit an important one.
- Work ethic & sense of urgency-Where did it go? My friends and employees (and even my clients) will tell you my sense of urgency is hard to satisfy. Do it yesterday!
Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!
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Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. He now manages his real estate holdings and investments, and does limited small business consulting. You can learn more about him at WWW.salvagingmillions.com. (Click on “more about Ron Sturgeon”.) He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or firstname.lastname@example.org.