‘Finding’ Ways to Win

I like motorsports. All kinds, including NASCAR, Indy, muscle cars, street rods, old classics and other collectibles. I’ve always had a special affection for drag racing and dedicated an important part of my life to it. I’ve also learned a lot from it.

Have you ever noticed how when racers involve themselves in business they are usually successful? I am referring to those who dedicate themselves to a successful business, not those who only use the business as a tool to fund their racing efforts. Think in terms of people like Rick Hendrick, Roger Penske, Don Schumacher and Kenny Bernstein.

Many key personal attributes lend themselves to success in racing and business. Examples include being detail oriented, persistent, energetic, competitive, resilient, willing to take on risk, possessing an expectation of excellence – and a desire to win.

Those attributes drive us to find ways to win.

Being an ASA member is a tool to find ways to win. Our networking and education opportunities are examples of this.

To find ways to win, we must learn, adjust, change and evolve to find winning combinations that allow us to win in our environment. As our environment changes, we must again adjust accordingly. It’s all about staying ahead of the pack.

In this issue we have an article on the traits of a top shop owner. We’re talking about winners. Another article discusses protecting your reputation in a digital age. Benjamin Franklin said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Our digital age only makes it easier to lose it.

As a drag racer, my reputation was critical. I made part of my living off match races. These were races that were arranged by track operators. I was under contract to appear at the track at a specific time prepared to compete. My team had to look and act professional. If I didn’t show up, performed poorly or let down the crowd some other way, my reputation was damaged. At risk was my opportunity to get bookings and the price I may command. The same applies in our auto repair businesses. There are significant consequences for a diminished reputation.

We also address in this issue the effects of consolidation by national multi-shop operators. The collision industry in particular is seeing consolidators buying up shops and growing at unprecedented rates. The largest consolidator – CARSTAR – has 440 shops in 32 states. Many regional MSOs are growing. Many are building their business models on insurance relationships, particularly direct repair programs. Many are working hard on providing superior performance, especially in terms of key performance indicators such as cycle time, repair vs. replace ratios, average cost of repair, and customer satisfaction numbers. This is happening as State Farm is rolling out its required parts purchasing program for the DRP shops across the country. Whether your business is small, medium or large, finding the way to win is changing. This is why we belong to ASA. We need to get the information on what is happening in our industry and learn about ways to adjust and evolve.

Here’s to winning.