By Charlie Elder, AAM, Chairman
December is a month that creates many different emotions. It is a time of holiday festivity and happiness. A time of sharing and gift giving. A time to spend with friends and relatives, renewing and improving relationships. It also ends a business year for many of us, and we contemplate what the new year will bring.
The end of a year often brings both happiness and sadness. Some are glad to see the year pass in hopes of the new year being better and holding more promise. Others are sad and will remember 2006 with fondness and wish it could last forever. In the business world, we do the same things.
This issue contains the "How's Your Business?" survey results. Most surveys have good and bad news in them. It is important to recognize trends in our industry and to adjust our business to take advantage of the positive and minimize the negative. This information can be very valuable to you as you evaluate 2006 and look for increases in 2007.
Whether we are willing to recognize it or not, automotive service today is more about relationships than about fixing cars. A strong relationship with your customer will keep them coming back and bringing friends with them. That is the "ace in the hole" that independent service dealers have over franchise dealers or aftermarket chains. We have the ability to build personal relationships with our customers that can last a lifetime. In today's competitive marketplace, we need to use every advantage we have.
As you enjoy your personal relationships during the holidays, be sure to enjoy your business relationships as well and look at ways to strengthen them in 2007.
At our fall board meeting, we explored ways that ASA can improve and strengthen our relationships with our members. It is a continuous process and we are trying to reach out and touch our members more often. If no one has told you recently, then I will - "Thank you for being an ASA member." Our service to you is the only reason we exist.
In closing out another year, may you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, etc. Even though 2006 has been a great year for me, I am looking forward to 2007 and the adventures it will bring. See you next year.