Crushing Owner Fears

When I think back to when Tony and I opened our shop in 1999, There were the obvious things we knew we had to do to be successful. We had to be committed to our business and we were willing to do what it took to get things done. To us this meant doing it all. I mean everything from working on vehicles, scheduling & selling the work, bookkeeping, to shuttling customers, picking up parts and cleaning the restrooms. Looking back, I realized this was not a recipe for success. It was a trap for your business to control you. This way of thinking traps owners because the grit, drive, and excitement you start with become the routines and habits that can lead to burnout and hold you back from thriving for years.

A business needs to be profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable to be successful. When you have a business that is independent of you, it fuels you, your team and community, and you can have a life. The rewards are….

  • Long-term business health & security
  • Better decision making
  • Growth opportunities
  • Greater business valuation

Fortunately, there are lots of resources available today through associations, training, coaching, mentoring, and your shop management software to help you and guide you. Yet many owners get stuck because of the fears around being profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable. Today I want to unpack what I have learned over the last two decades.

Profitable – Healthy profits allow you to reinvest in your business.

  • Keep up to date with tooling, equipment, and technology.
  • Offer more pay and benefits to you and your team.
  • Give back to your community.

Sustainable– Systems and processes allow you to delegate like a pro.

  • Inspire and empower your team with resources needed.
  • Collaborate to align and develop your team.
  • Be able to step away as you need or want to

Enjoyable – Focus on the owner role (messaging, relationships, numbers) Bring passion back.

  • Enjoy going to work. See opportunities.
  • Enjoy the people around you. (Customers, vendors/suppliers, team, and community)
  • Plan for future growth

So, what holds owners back even with the many resources available?

The Not So Obvious: Facing Owner Fears.

Maryann Article Fear Picture1What is not so obvious is mindset or thinking about your business being profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable. That’s because what we believe, or fear aligns with our actions. If were don’t believe we deserve it or have earned it, we will hold ourselves back. I see this showing up as low labor rates, poor sales conversations, customer service communication/culture issues and team accountability challenges. When training and guidance are available, and people still have issues, I look for the not so obvious.

Profitable – Money Fears and Stories

Those who see money and profit as a tool to build a business that thrives will struggle less with profit. Those who fear how others will react struggle more with pricing because the money stories they tell themselves hold them back, even with business financial training. Example (“No one in my family ever had money or owned a business.”)

Sustainable – Delegating Fears and Stories

Many owners haven’t experienced good examples of leadership. They’ve had bosses who only told them what to do but didn’t set clear expectations, accountability or have a process the team could follow. People naturally self-access. They want to know where they go for support and where they stand.

Owners who take the team asking for clarification or sharing ideas as confrontational will struggle with delegating and leadership.

Enjoyable – Owner Role Fears and Stories

Focusing on the owner role is a game changer for your business.

  • Build and nurture relationships.
  • Set and share team and financial goals.
  • Get clear on messaging.

This may include developing new skills. The goal of an owner/leader is to create and build a culture that inspires others to be their best. We need to lead by example and focus on the owner role. Flip the belief that your business will fall apart if you stop going 24/7 or jump off the hamster wheel.

You’ve taken the risk and I am sure you have the grit and drive needed. But are you open-minded enough to shift your owner fears? When I dig deeper with owners/clients they tell me,

  • “Others may think negatively of me if we have healthy profits.”
  • “I have a hard time letting go because my business is my life.”
  • “I feel like I must do it all or else everything will fall apart.”

What if you could change your definition of success? When your business is profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable you can enjoy long-term success personally, and professionally. You will…

Be fueled by your work/business and people around you.

Be A happier person who others want to be around.

Have a high-performance team with the resources needed.

Be able to invest in your business, team, and community.

Crush your owner fears, by pushing through them anyway. Doing what we fear becomes easier over time and makes your business profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable. If your goal is to have a rewarding business and life, it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Rise up to the challenge my friends. Face owner fears and crush them.


Maryann CroceMaryann Croce, a certified partner of Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year™, is an operations coach/speaker and creator of ‘3-Day Weekends’ CoachingHer company Small Biz Vantage specialized in performance and leadership development for automotive and skilled trade business owners. She has been an auto shop owner since 1999. You can reach Maryann at (203) 913-7741 or Maryann speaks on achieving goals and work-life fulfillment