How working 'on' your business can pay off better than working 'in' your business.Posted 12/13/2006
By Stephen Johnson
If you've ever gone to a concert or a play, then you know what it's like to be a member of the audience and see the participants perform on stage. By sitting in the audience, you are able to notice how well they perform. Chaos may be happening behind the curtain, but as long as the audience sees a flawless performance on stage, that's all that matters. Before a performance, the director or conductor oversees the rehearsals to make sure all of the participants know what part they play and what others' parts are too. The rehearsals are crucial in having a performance that goes off without a hitch.
As owner and manager at Number One Tire and Service, I have learned that sitting in the audience and watching the stage is the best place to be. When I first purchased the business eight years ago, I was working in it as a service writer. I was involved in the day-to-day functions with customers, technicians and vendors, not to mention the endless list of responsibilities that go with being a shop owner. I wasn't always a member of the audience; often I was a performer on stage when it came to working in my business.
I began working at Number One Tire and Service as a technician repairing cars, taking pride in my work and getting as much education as possible to keep up with the many changes in the automotive industry. After about five years, I was in charge of three other technicians and earned the title of service manager. After about eight years, I was working more with customers on a daily basis and even took a course at a local college to learn more about how to deal with difficult people. Then, 14 years after I started as a technician, I had the opportunity to purchase the business.
Change is not easy to do, but after some time, you get used to the idea and realize that things work better having a manager, whether it is the owner or someone else. Being able to sit in the audience and watch the stage, one is able to spot areas that need to be corrected or improved. Policies get written, profits get watched closely; everything gets watched and corrections can be made easier. Just like the actors, employees need to have rehearsals and know each co-worker's part in the performance. As a manager - who is similar to a director - you make sure the performance goes smoothly with no glitches.
Every shop owner's goal of managing his or her business is different. Some of them are happy to be playing all of the acting parts while others are not. I have found that to be efficient, productive and profitable, it works best for me to be working on my business and not in it.
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