The Importance of Working ON the Business

Shop owners, do you take the time, whether 10 minutes a day or 1 hour a week at a minimum, to work on your business, rather than in your business?

There will always be more cars to upgrade, modify, and change. You accepting one more job today that forces you to stay late tomorrow will not make or break your business. Supervising and critiquing every little thing that your team does shows that you do not trust them and burns up your time. If you truly do not trust them, you need to figure out why and solve that problem. If you do trust them, leave them alone. You have better things to do.

I work with shop owners on a weekly basis to provide a dedicated piece of time focused on working ON the business. These chunks of time can go in many different directions, discussing profitable financial practices, efficiency and morale boosting operational and organizational changes, getting clarity on strategic direction, and refining leadership tactics.

These meetings represent an investment in the long-term future of your shop, your team, and the livelihood of your family. You may be just starting out or you may be a veteran in the industry – if you want to grow your shop and create even better, more quality levels of success, you have to put in the time to work ON your business.

Let’s take a tint shop for an example. You are working 10 hours a day tinting windows, and you have two people working for you doing the same. You pay them correctly, using paychecks with tax withholdings set up by your accountant, who does your taxes once a year. You have an LLC, and customer policies are written up and mounted on the wall in the office. You have been working at this same rate for a few years with a few late nights, but haven’t seen the growth you were expecting with consistent marketing – you are paying someone to do your social media for you, after all. You know you’re making money, but you’re not sure where would be best to invest it next to continue growing.

The first step you need is to take the time to set your goals, have them reviewed and confirmed, and then use them to determine your next course of action. Without this, you will continue to work, without any meaningful change, forever.

Goal setting is one of the most crucial aspects of working ON your business. I am, in this case, not exclusively referring to SMART goals. I have found there is a different technique to employ when you’re looking to break into a new level of growth.

Visualize where you want your shop to be in 1 year from today and answer the following questions:

- What does it look like?

- What kind of cars are inside?

- Who are your customers?

- How many people are working for you?

- What services do you offer?

- How are you beating the competition?

Now, work backwards. Where are you now, and what do you need to do to get to your ideal goal for 1 year from now?

Here is where bringing in an advisor can be useful. We are all at risk of tunnel vision and confirmation bias. You think you have the perfect idea, but the minute you start describing it to someone else, you realize it has its flaws. Taking time to discuss your plans with an advisor and receive input and suggestions is invaluable to your future success.

Identify 3-5 tasks that you can do every day that will bring you closer to your goal. These tasks can (and should) change daily as you evolve and grow. For example:

- Save $100 from today’s sales for repainting the shop walls

- Document one process that can be used to train the next new hire more efficiently

- Discuss with my accountant how we can get more detailed data from our finances

Do your tasks, without fail, every day. Between the three tasks above, I estimate you would take about 15-30 minutes out of your day. Give your staff one more window to tint, and you’ve freed up that time.

Over the course of the year, as your tasks evolve, you will move closer to your goals. Take 15-30 minutes a day to work ON your business, and you’ll begin to see how valuable that time becomes. Soon you’ll want to grow that time and keep investing back into yourself and your business, rather than just working in the same job, day after day.

In conclusion

Facilitated or not, taking the time to work on your business will pay dividends. Make the time to ensure you are leading your shop in the direction you want it to go, and doing everything you can to make sure it’s adequately resourced and accomplished in an efficient manner.

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 Subscribe to DPA Weekly at


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