Do you know Nakai, the RWB widebody 911 mystic who travels the world, privately hired to build cars?
Not a bad gig, right? Nakai has accomplished the exact strategy I will outline in this article.
How you position your shop is the most important ingredient for growth. There are two ways to grow your shop: expand your service offerings to do more for existing customers, or do fewer service offerings really, really well until you’re synonymous with widebody 911s, LS swaps, interior experiences, or branded liveries.
Let’s start with where you’re at right now.
You are offering something that customers are buying. Bolt-on installs, tuning, fabrication, electronics, wraps…customers in your area know you for providing a service.
When you started your own shop, you had an idea of what you wanted to do for your customers. Are you still doing those things? Have you expanded? Are you still doing work that you can do efficiently and to a high standard?
I talk with lots of shops that take on work that isn’t exactly their favorite. They may not have full confidence in what they’re doing. Maybe a performance shop is taking on wiring. A wrap shop starts throwing in wheel powder coating.
Expansion is good – it helps you sell more and provide a larger range of services to your customers. However, expansion can also hurt your shop.
Expanding (trying to sell more) into areas where you aren’t efficient, where you aren’t profitable, and where you aren’t able to deliver your highest level of quality leave you open to making less money, delayed jobs, and unhappy customers.
It’s a trap. You may see happy customers and a higher car count at first. Over time, however, there is the potential for strained employees, financial stress, and time management issues.
Does this sound familiar?
My advice, if you find yourself in this situation, is stop trying to sell more. Instead, focus on selling better.
Picture your best customer.
Who are they? What do you sell them?
Do they bring you car after car with softball jobs, pay on time, and show up when they’re supposed to?
Have they funded you through multiple long builds and given you the freedom on the details while you help them accomplish the big picture?
Are they a dealer that has supported you and pushed your packages for years?
Now ask yourself: what if you could clone them?
Forget all the odd jobs. Comfortably say “No, we don’t do that. But I know someone who does.”
How do you get there?
Start designing your whole shop around your best customers and your best services. Sell your other tooling, let go of your underutilized staff, and update your marketing and branding.
Your best customers and your best services are your highest value. Treasure them. Promote them. Improve them. You are a standout in that arena, be it stereo upgrades, chrome deletes, exhausts, or tuning.
Don’t think there will be enough demand? If you cut out those other services, do you think you’ll run out of work? The way you’re going, you will run out of work anyways, whether through burnout or bankruptcy.
You have proof of concept – your best customers are buying exactly what you want to sell. Now it’s up to you to generate demand.
Specializing means you can raise the price. Doing it all means cutting package deals. Specializing means investing in the perfect tools for the job. Doing it all means spreading your capital thin across tons of different tools.
Selling more has the potential to grow your shop, but selling better will always work.
Find yourself struggling to grow? Try selling better.
Driven Performance Advisors
Driven Performance Advisors helps shop owners and specialty parts companies increase efficiency and improve profitability to grow from $1M to $10M in sales. Schedule a consultation at drivenperformanceadvisors.com.