What Is Your Business Strategy Costing You and Your Shop?

When I think back to when Tony and I opened our automotive shop or my dad had his construction business, we all started with a DIY (Do It Yourself) strategy model and traded time and effort for money. I find it’s the most common when starting a business. We take the technical skills we have and believe we have enough knowledge to start a business. After all it took years of experience to hone those skills.

The challenge with the DIY model is it takes years before we realize that there is more to running a business than technical skills, knowledge, and experience. DIY requires a significant amount of time for research. because there is so much to learn, at the cost of a personal life and relationships.

A business has 5 pillars: These are the foundational areas that need attention. Sales, Marketing, People, Financials, and Operations/Technology.

Just because we are strong in one area doesn’t mean the others will fall into place. I’ve seen many businesses reach a level of success but get stuck there because DIY takes so much time and effort that it’s impossible to scale, because you’re doing it all. Many owners wish they could take a vacation, find the right help, and enjoy each day again.

Have you ever had a customer who got stuck after trying to DIY a repair? They don’t have to right tools, maybe the wrong parts, and they watched a few videos and believe they are ready to tackle the job. Then they downplay what you must do to fix what they did. Don’t fall into the trap of DIY for years. It will lead to frustration.

Here are the other two business strategy models.

Dfy Maryann Article Picture1DFY (Done For You) – This is more of a franchise model. You are buying the systems and using their marketing and sales techniques. You’re limited to how much you can customize. You pay a price for the system (franchise fee). While the DFY strategy saves business owners time, the most expensive option. There are well known franchises in all types of industries. This model is only as good as the franchise, the level of support/training they provide and the willingness of the owner. I’ve seen some come and go in different parts of the country. This is a good fit for some owners. Especially those who haven’t been in the industry very long or don’t have guidance with the business side of the shop. Tony and I did our research. We interviewed a couple of franchises in our area and quickly decided it wasn’t a good fit for us. Tony understood the industry and I had a years of banking experience. We were open to seeking out guidance when needed. It was a good call. The franchises we interviewed are no longer in our area.

DWY – (Done With You) – This is my favorite model. I love the flexibility and customization for your industry niche and your area of the country. DWY involves you working with a mentor to develop the best plan for your business. Instead of having to do everything yourself, you learn from the experience and insights of a professional. It’s like having someone walk you through your business while holding your hand. They have a repeatable system that works with each stage of business. Guiding you to navigate challenges. You have support and accountability.

As a shop owner since 1999. I stepped out of the industry to find a performance coach in 2014 and I never looked back. Once Tony and I improved our performance as owners/leaders our business changed. We reached a new level of success, and were able to navigate through lots of challenges with confidence. Covid effects on our business, illness, and loss of loved ones. Our family is closer than ever, and our business is more profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable. It worked so well for us and others using the framework that I became a 90 Day Year certified partner and can guide you to next level your business.

Most owners and clients tell me they wish they worked with a coach/mentor sooner. I realize how hard it is to get out of the DIY trap. It sucks you into thinking that your saving money which you are at first but it’s not a long-term strategy.  What you are sacrificing is priceless. A personal life and relationships in the name of your dream. In the end it costs you more. Just like the customer who tried the repair themselves and now must get it fixed correctly.

My advice is reach out to a coach or mentor before you feel the pain or long-term effects of DIY. Find one who understands your stage of business and is a right fit for you. Here is a free download to help you get started on “3 Day Weekends”. This is not a four-day work week. This is a performance system that puts you in control of your work week. Stop working 50, 60, or 70 hours a week. Have a business that is profitable, with a great team and is enjoyable. Design a rewarding business and life.


Maryann CroceMaryann Croce, a certified partner of Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year™, is an operations coach/speaker and creator of ‘3-Day Weekends’ Coaching. Her 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@SmallBizVantage.com Maryann speaks on achieving goals and work-life fulfillment SmallBizVantage.com