The Best of Times - BodyShop Business

The Best of Times

Within the past couple months, the largest insurance company in the world was bailed out by the government, one of the largest investment banks in the world filed for Chapter 11, and an investment house that was considered an American icon was purchased to save it from financial demise. But still, I believe these are the best of times. Please read on as I attempt to validate this seemingly insane statement.

We the United States have arguably the finest group of armed forces on the planet. They are the best trained, best equipped protective machine in the world.

When you get into the armed services’ fundamental operating plan, you realize it’s all based heavily on training and being prepared. When U.S. armed soldiers face off with difficult situations, they’re instructed to rely on the vast amount of training they’ve received in their careers.

My point is that we’ve all been here before. Whether it was the ’80s, ’90s or the millennium and the 9/11 tragedy, we were all forced to navigate a challenging business environment. We need to rely on those experiences to turn these difficult times into better times.

Past history shows us that times will get better, and those who focus their efforts on sound, basic business training will be better positioned to enjoy the economic recovery when it occurs. Just make sure your organization takes the time to be sure it’s operating under the basic principles that made it successful in the first place.

Our primary reason for being in business is to make money. The basic  principle of taking in more money than goes out seem so simple, but have you taken the time to review the elements of your business that make this simple equation work? Policies and procedures to control and monitor costs should be in place and reviewed regularly. Ordering guides and authorities need to be adhered to, especially during periods of lower volumes or uncertainty. And let’s not forget about personnel. Our people are our greatest asset in any business, but we as owners/managers need to review our resources to be sure that we not only have the right number of personnel, but that they’re assigned to the areas that make the entire organization as efficient as possible.

The other piece of the “making money” equation is overall revenue. Are you spending enough time marketing and selling your business? Do you know where your customers come from, and are you “messaging” in front of those customers on a regular basis? When your customers are “in”, are you focused on providing value? The value statement is becoming increasingly more important to consumers every day. They want to know if they’re getting what they bargained for. Did your organization provide the customer with a satisfying repair experience? If you’re not focused on your customer today, you better get focused.  

Other ways of adding to the bottom line center around creativity and thinking outside the box. Have you looked at other profit centers that can utilize space such as detailing, glass repair, sprayed-on bedliners or accessories? Don’t be afraid to try new things.

The last and probably most overlooked business focus is attitude. The funny thing is that it’s the only thing we can control 100 percent. We decide on a daily basis how we’ll react to a certain piece of news or information. Attitude affects how we accomplish our daily duties and, more importantly, it shows up in our employees.

This brings me back to my original statement. These are the best of times because these are the times we are in now. The good news is that we’ve been trained to succeed in these kinds of times and done it before. Circle back to those sound, basic business practices that have gotten all of us to where we are today and prepare for the future.

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