The BIG Question
It’s a favourite of mine, and one we ask of all garage owners that join the Auto iQ business development program….
“Do you have a business or a profitable job?” Not sure which one you’ve got. Carry on reading.
That questions a doozie and is often met with a few seconds of silence followed by a mixed range of answers whilst the questionee arranges their thoughts. The question is designed to be provoking and entice the garage owner to work through the differences between the options.
Different sides of the same coin
So… What’s the difference between a profitable job and a business. It’s a fine line with a BIG difference.
Quite simply if you have a profitable job the income from your work (where you spend your hours in the day) reduces when you’re not doing that work. You might be able to get away from the business for a week or two but longer than that will have you sweating, you’ll wonder if your techs are efficient without you in the building, concerned that your numbers are going south.
A business on the other hand, will run without you being there for a significant length of time. Which one do you have?
Now…. I can feel the tension elevating as some of you may be rising from you chair ready to give me a good talking too. Hangfire though and hear me out. In no way am I saying that having a profitable job is wrong. Quite to the contrary. If that’s what you set out to achieve then who am I to say any different. Here’s the deal though. Most garage owners DON’T embark on this amazing journey to be ‘self-employed’, they do it to build a bigger and better future for their families. They did it to have more time with their loved ones, the funds to allow this and probably have early retirement thrown in with the business providing the income. Can a profitable job do this or do you need a business that’ll run without you? I think you know the answer…
What’s the difference between….
So you’ve decided that a business is preferable to a profitable job. But is there really that much of a difference? Let’s take a look.
It often comes down to nothing more than a state of mind that separates these different sides of the same coin.
Let’s compare the owner with a profitable job and the business owner. At first glance, I’d challenge you to notice the difference. They’ll have a business that they’re proud of and rightly so, they’ve worked hard to build it. More often than not they’re both skilled technicians, have the respect of their team as well as their customers. Then how can it be the one earns significantly more than the next. One word. FOCUS.
Our owner with a profitable job will be very focused. He’s focused on his own ability to fix the vehicles in his workshop often working shoulder to shoulder with the technicians. The technicians respect him because of his technical ability and work hard alongside him. All admirable qualities.
Our business owner also has a laser-like focus, his target is a little different though. His gaze is firmly fixed on a vision of the business he’s building and knows that long term success requires not only focus, but patience. He’s acutely aware that the one thing that will bring freedom and the time with his family (the reason he started this venture) is the team he builds and trains.
This isn’t to say that he doesn’t roll up his sleeves and lead from the front when required, it’s just that his daily focus is on the strategic functions of the business that drive success, rather than the day to day tasks that so many owners get caught up in. There’s a huge benefit to this as well…. You get to keep the skin on your knuckles.
It’s a proven fact that we all move through our day in the direction of most dominant thoughts. So what does your typical business owner ponder? Now I can’t read minds (how cool would that be) but I do know that these are the questions that need to be answered.
- What business am I building and how do I know when I’m there?
- How can I separate my business so that my customers know I’m different from my competitors?
- What do my customers want from our products and services?
- How can I effectively put that message in front of them?
- How do I price our services so that I offer value with high margins?
- What does my ideal team look like?
- How can I ensure they produce consistently high results?
- What metrics do I use to assess the performance of the business?
These are just a few of the strategic questions at the forefront of a business owners mind. And therein lies the main difference. Our owner with a profitable job will primarily spend their days carrying out task based activities.
In contrast, the business owner will decide on what a desirable outcome should be. Consider the options and assess each on their merits before documenting this as a plan of action. Once the strategy has been decided upon he’ll then communicate this to his team who will carry out the tactical work to ensure the desired result is met. We could summarise this concisely…. ‘more time thinking, less time doing’.
You can’t just flick a switch
You know I said I couldn’t read minds? Well that’s not wholly true. If you have a profitable job but would like to own a business you’ll probably be thinking…
‘Great, I’ve worked my arse off to get here, and as much as I’d love to focus on the strategic aspects of my business I’m never going to be able to find the time to do that. Anyway… I don’t really get this branding, marketing, management, metrics and financial mumbo jumbo and do we need all that for a garage?’
Am I right? Well, even if I’m close fear not. We hear these ‘thoughts’ on a VERY regular basis and I’d be surprised if you didn’t have them. It’s completely normal and of course, you can’t turn to do this overnight. The key is in breaking the ‘mumbo jumbo’ into manageable insights specific to your business.
Here’s the deal…. If you’re looking to turn a profitable job into a business that serves you life, then finding a little time each day to work on the strategy that drives your business will have you wondering why you didn’t start down this path years ago.
You don’t even have to do it all at once. You just have to break the cycle and think differently.
What are you waiting for? Why not start now.