February 2006

It's all up to you Part II of II

Do you look for excuses to work less? Do you ever complain about how much money you’re making?

Last month, we talked about two entrepreneurs, and what was different about them and their success.

Across town, another business entrepreneur, Bill, is going through much the same kind of beginning. He’s just not making what he wants to make. But his approach is different. He goes to work early and stays later than anyone else in his small company. He looks at every aspect of his business. He talks to customers, tries to learn what they really want or expect. He makes changes he can afford to make. He goes to seminars. He participates in his trade association. He asks his more experienced and successful peers how they did what they did. He keeps and studies his operating metrics regularly; making changes he believes will improve his business. He reads and reads and reads. Bill also takes the time to clean his place of business himself (because he can’t afford to pay someone else to do it at the time) and keeps it looking sharp as a whistle.

After awhile, Bill notices that his revenue is going up. His shop seems busier than it did a year ago. He’s becoming acquainted with his customers and vendors by first name. He knows many of their likes and dislikes and does his utmost to give them the kind of service they seem to like. He’s even checked out his competitors, including Joe, to see how their shops look and function; he’s talked to a few of their customers, even went in as a customer himself on a few occasions just to see how they treated him. He always came back with new ideas, and he always put the new ideas into play.

Two years down the road, Joe is still wondering why his paychecks are not sufficient to pay his bills. Bill, on the other hand, is enjoying a significant increase in sales and has hired an office manager, has a happy sales team and two auto dismantlers working full-time.

Bill has more free time, but, unlike Joe, he doesn’t take it. He still gets to work before anyone else and generally leaves after everyone else has gone home. Much of his time is spent analyzing the way his business operates. He also spends more time developing relationships. He takes his banker to lunch now and then, and visits his vendors to see if there may be better ways to manage their service to him.

Joe still rides the edge of obscurity. Hardly anyone knows him; they just know of him. He never goes to the association events. He seems jealous of his competitors, never shares anything about the industry, and actually runs down his competitors to his ever dwindling list of customers. He has a hundred reasons why his business is poor: a lousy location, bad weather, lack of good employees or any of an infinite number of excuses even though every competitor has his own set of obstacles.

What’s the difference between these two men? Is it circumstance? Or did they actually have something to do with their “fate”?

Bill took charge of his destiny and Joe did not. Bill took every opportunity to learn more about his business, about his customers, about his peers, vendors and industry. Joe did not. Joe always put complaint first and took every opportunity to escape. Bill developed a strong work ethic. Joe became lax and lazy, justifying his bad luck on changing times and big money competition. Yet both operators were equally skilled, faced similar opportunities and had the same access to resources and mentors.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Ron's free monthly auto recycling e-newsletter, with news and tips, register at www.autosalvageconsultant.com.

Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!

Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at WWW.autosalvageconsultant.com He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, rons@rdsinvestments.com or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.


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