Who’s in Your Corner?

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Mike Urban owns and operates Urban Automotive, in Oakville, Ontario. You can reach him at [email protected]. Photo Mike Urban

Good coaching and support makes all the difference.

As a small business owner for almost 20 years, I often get asked the question from clients: what made you want to get into business for yourself? The answer is easy for you to find because it’s right on my profile picture on my company’s website, which states quite matter-of-factly:

“A man of humour and bourbon, he’s the boss because he’s never been a fan of taking orders.”

Independently minded

I feel most entrepreneurs are likely in the same category in one way or another. Some call themselves “free spirits,” while others may describe themselves as “lone wolves” not afraid to take on challenges as long as they are the ones calling the shots and have their destiny in their own hands.

The big question is… is that truly what is best for them and their business?

Back in 2016, I received a random email from a source that I knew absolutely nothing about, inviting me to sign up for a meeting at a local hotel to discuss ways to make my business more profitable and provide me with more personal time. The email got my attention. At that point, I was in business for 12 years, working an average of 50 to 60 hours per week, and was in debt more at that point than when I started the business 12 years prior.

I half-heartedly signed up for the meeting, and two weeks later, I attended the meeting at that hotel, with about 25 other shop owners. The information being provided was from a coaching company in the U.S. that solely focused on auto repair centres. The presentation was insightful and enlightening, and I was one of the two shops that day to pledge allegiance to this company and sign a one-year contract.

Solid relationship

Seven years later, I’m still with that company. I have a weekly 30-minute coach call with a man whom I have only met three times in person in my life yet can honestly call him my brother. He coaches over 90 other shops across North America and has always been able to guide me down the right path by sharing the experiences that he has encountered in dealing with shops and owners.

I travel at least twice a year to the U.S. for meetings to discuss trends, and forecasts for our industry, create goals, discuss challenges, and encourage as well as be encouraged by men and women just like myself. Many of them are extroverts and consider themselves “alpha.”

I know what you’re thinking… Put a group of those same personality type people together in a room, and you are creating a recipe for disaster. But that’s not the case. Through countless discussions, video and phone calls, as well as conferences, my company has benefited greatly, and I have grown as an individual through the hundreds of shop owners in the U.S. and Canada because of them.

Takeaway tips

I was part of a recent shop tour in Arizona where 30 of us visited a service centre that is well-run and very successful. At the end of the visit, they had pages and pages of suggestions and insight from the group that, if implemented, will no doubt take their shop to a whole new level.

So, who’s in your corner? Who’s providing you with constructive criticism? Who’s holding you accountable for your focus and your success?

Surround yourself with like-minded people and be open when you talk about the different trials and tribulations that you face on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said it best:

“You will be the same person five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Hopefully, this article has perhaps motivated you in some way to look in the mirror and realize the reflection is the person responsible for your success. Until next time.


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