Business Development webinar provides some very useful leadership tips
A big question that’s likely on the minds of many collision repairers is, how will the industry look post-pandemic and how can they structure their business to ensure they are prepared for the “new normal”?
In an effort to answer those questions and more, the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) hosted a business development webinar on June 16, entitled Structuring Your Business for Growth in the Post-Pandemic Boom.
Dan Holstein, award-winning Business Coach with ActionCOACH; provides some very insightful and useful tips to ensure that no matter what comes, your business will be well-positioned to thrive in the marketplace.
Optimism and opportunity
Holstein noted that at present, after months of lockdowns and economic uncertainty, people are looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. He said that traditionally, economic downturns or recessions are usually followed by a boom period and said that there are indications that this is what we’ll see as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is going to be an opportunity,” he said, “but I find that a lot of business owners are so busy at just keeping up with what is happening in their business they may feel they do not have the time nor the ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”
Even when small business owners have a plan, Holstein said that often the plan is not very succinct; or overly complicated, making it a challenge to execute.
To successfully implement change within your business that change must start with the owners and leaders in the organization and requires a willingness to be open-minded—embracing new ideas and concepts.
In the case of many collision repair shops, owners often started out as technicians before deciding to branch out and set up their own operation; consequently, they often haven’t had the opportunity to really hone in on specific business skills, such as human resources and marketing, in addition to the operational aspects.
The right people
Holstein explained that the number one resource for any successful business is having the right people, so it’s important for owners and managers to take stock of the staff they have and identify who the key players are, that they are in suitable roles and that the staff is positioned for growth.
He noted that you can have the best strategy in the world, but if you don’t have the right people in place you won’t be able to execute it successfully.
A key phrase that’s often heard is working “on your business instead of in your business”.
It’s absolutely a true statement but in reality, it’s often very difficult for small business owners to tear themselves away from the day-to-day operations and focus on planning for the future.
Holstein said he completely understands the situation and it wasn’t until he hired a performance coach that he really was able to compartmentalize everything and focus on specific tasks that needed to be done. He referred to the Pareto principle where 80% of results come from 20% of our actions.
Holstein said it was essential to be clear on what activities business owners need to be focusing on everyday and delegate as much as possible, daily operational tasks to other staff members.
To structure your business for successful, sustainable growth, Holstein said it was important that as a leader, the business owner or manager must understand where the business is heading and the steps required to get there as well as grasping what the core values of the organization truly are.
For service industry business owners, such as collision repair shop operators, there is often a strong temptation to jump in and solve operational problems, but if the roles of staff within the business are clearly defined and a plan for the future is properly blueprinted, owners should be able to focus on strategic goals for the business, leaving well-trained staff to handle these kinds of issues.
“Eliminate disruptions as much as you can,” said Holstein.
An interesting point observed is that when a business owner problem solves for their own staff, they take away their ability to learn, which actually impedes progress for both the staff member and the organization.
Instead, a far more effective strategy is to allow staff to take ownership of the situation and as the owner or manager, ask them to present some different solutions to a potential problem. In this type of scenario, Holstein mentioned, a couple of things tend to happen:
Firstly, you can identify whether or not this person is really correctly thinking in terms of the role they’ve been asked to perform. Secondly, by asking them to provide a solution, they are taking ownership of the situation—leveraging the power of critical thinking and engaging in terms of the outcome.
Doing so means you are training employees to be solution-centric, empowering them to take responsibility, freeing up yourself to work on the business and plan for the future.
When it comes to implementing change in the organization, Holstein said that truly effective change takes time and also takes effort. Therefore, he noted, it’s important for business owners and leaders to actually allocate the time and resources required to get important activities done.
Another factor that many business owners and managers don’t tend to focus on is their own belief system. “Often, we don’t have high enough levels of esteem about our capabilities and where we could go,” said Holstein, “so, changing identity starts with the belief level.”
In essence, Holstein referred to neuroplasticity within the human brain and how thoughts become reality. He said that when we think negative thoughts and think of them repeatedly, they manifest themselves in our reality.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to reprogram your beliefs into positive affirmations, telling yourself you can do things that you are highly capable of and that you are a world-class leader or CEO. And, do it repeatedly, for consistency is the ultimate key to success.
On another note, Holstein said it was also important to ensure that once you’ve identified your goals, once you’ve established the right mindset, the key is solid execution in order to achieve your objective.
Identifying and aligning, short, medium and long-term goals are essential, not only for yourself but for the team around you. If everybody knows exactly where the business is headed and the plan for getting there, knows where they fit in and are inspired and empowered to do their best, the result is a win-win situation for the business and its people, no matter what obstacles may come along.