The Business Should Not Own You

December 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Courtney Cole - Also by this author

Do you ever hear this in a dealership? “We just don’t have time to train. I’m swamped! That takes too much time in the real world. We can’t have managers out of the store. I’m tired of it not getting done; I’ll just do it.” Does any of this sound familiar?
Have you ever looked at what you make and figured out your hourly rate? For example:

$200,000 ? 52 weeks ? 40 hours = $96 per hour
$100,000 ? 52 weeks ? 40 hours = $48 per hour
$40,000 ? 52 weeks ? 40 hours = $19 per hour

What if you wanted to make $1,000,000 per year?
$1,000,000 ? 52 weeks ? 40 hours = $481 per hour.

For simplicity, I’m going to round these figures to $20 per hour, $50 per hour, $100 per hour and $500 per hour. I understand that you might work more than 40 hours per week, but I think this will work for the purposes of this illustration.
Now, the big question: where do you spend your time? How often do you check emails? What does this pay? Do you buy all the cars at the auction? What is this worth? Could someone else be doing the buying while you are working on developing your managers? How about the vision of the dealership? Does everyone understand what it is? How about job descriptions? Do your people use checklists? Do they have thorough job descriptions?

Spend a week tracking all your activities and put a dollar value on them. Are you making coffee in the morning? Is this a $10-an-hour job? Would your time be better spent doing $100-an-hour jobs? If so, then delegate this activity to someone else so that you can concentrate on activities that are worth more to you and the dealership.

The whole idea is to get rid of time-wasters that can be delegated and to concentrate on items that add real value to both you and the store. The first time you do this, there might be huge guilt. It’s kind of a natural reaction. Should the owner of the company be doing car deals? Or is he or she better served by directing a vision of the company, meeting people in the community and keeping strong relations with the factory? You might be comfortable working car deals and appraising vehicles, but it might also be limiting your overall growth opportunities.

Do you like having a to-do list at the beginning of the day and then crossing them off? The bigger the jobs, the fewer cross-offs you are going to have. However, how nice is it to have all your processes defined and the steps to completing them written down? Does this eliminate some of the fires that ignite throughout the day? Does it give you more time to concentrate on the things that are going to make the business more profitable and thus more efficient?

Now that you have some more time and your life is not in chaos, what can you do to improve your life overall? Sometimes business owners are conditioned to think about assets and liabilities, but ignoring one’s health and energy is one of the greatest ways to move a key asset (yourself) into the liability column. Let’s talk about health. You can make a lot of money in this business, but does it really matter if you are overweight and do not take care of yourself? Create some time on your calendar for exercise. One of the secrets to getting more done each day is to pay attention to your physical energy and do everything you can to enhance, store and build it. It does not matter if it is running or lifting weights. Get in a routine, and you will have much more energy to do your job.

How about eating habits? Are you eating doughnuts in the morning and fast food throughout the day? You can make a change by eating eat meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and you’ll feel so much better. Habits are huge when it comes to being healthy and wealthy.

Finally, let’s talk about technology. Does it dominate your life? Are you constantly looking at your cell phone or computer for emails or texts? Create some boundaries. Do you have the right people hired? If so, they should not need to get in touch with you. You should own the business; the business should not own you.
Work on the highest-paying jobs and take care of yourself. Business and life should be enjoyable and prosperous!

Vol. 8, Issue 10


  1. 1. Brian L Gaines [ December 14, 2011 @ 08:08AM ]

    Courtney, Nice Article and worth Remembering, especially during hectic Holiday Season.

    I think as owners/operators we do have a tendency to try and do everything ourselfs with out delegating authoritie in fear it wont be completed right. We need to make the time and show our staff what is expected out them in order to take the hectic out of the day. And Definitely eleiminate fast food.

    Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, to your Family and your Staff.

    Best Wishes,

    Brian Gaines


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