Chad Counselman, President of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) gives some ideas on making improvements in your vehicle recycling business, including through delegation, building new business relationships and taking risks.
The health of your business is equally as important as your personal health. Have you made New Year’s Resolutions for your business? If not, I would like to challenge you with three ideas for the new year.
Empower an employee to do more (Delegate)
Delegation is a word that we all hear more and more, but we don’t truly understand what it means and how we can grow our operations by simply turning over responsibilities to someone else. If you are anything like me, you struggle with the idea that someone else will not do as good a job as you are doing. We are all alpha-leaders that think that we know best and don’t want to trust someone else with important tasks. However, delegating responsibilities allowed me to grow my facility much faster than I could have done it otherwise.
I developed a rule of thumb about 5 years ago: If someone else can do what I’m doing and do it 80% as good as I can do it, let them do it for me. I started empowering other people to handle tasks that I had monopolised for years. I soon realised that a 23-year old could buy cars just as good as I could when I gave him the proper tools and training. I also found that quality control could be done by a dedicated employee, instead of me having to load every part on the delivery trucks. I empowered a manager to verify the hours worked by each employee, each week.
Are you getting the gist of my delegation efforts? I worked to remove responsibilities from myself so that I could focus on issues that had a higher return. I hate to use this term, but here it goes: I began to work ON the business, not IN the business. By removing time-demanding tasks from my daily responsibilities, I was able to begin to look at the larger picture – I was able to evaluate systems, processes, procedures, and philosophies of the operation. I began to see things in a different light because I had the time to observe them, instead of being stuck in the middle of performing them.
It is not recommended to delegate major responsibilities to start with. It is also not smart to shift too many things off of you without establishing systems to verify that they are being performed properly. So, be careful as you start to empower others to do more, but it’s time to start and January is always a good time to start something new.
Initiate a New Business Relationship
Business is more about relationships and perception than many of us will admit. Customers follow salespeople because of relationships. We choose who to sell our cats to because of relationships. We even choose to not buy cars at a certain auction because we don’t like a certain site manager. Admit it, relationships drive business decisions all day long.
As the business owner, you need to be working to build new relationships on a regular basis. You should be visiting body shops and garages in an effort to gain new customers. If you are not, you should start in January. You should also create a system that challenges your salespeople to build relationships with new customers. Buy a mail list, do a mail out, and use that list to assign future customers to each member of your sales team.
Build a relationship with another yard owner. For this example, the other yard should not be a competitor in your area. Share ideas and information. Bounce ideas off of one another. Be open and honest. I found that when I explain a process or procedure to another owner, I gain perspective on it myself. I learn more about my own operation every time I explain it to another owner. Don’t be afraid to build a relationship like this with another owner. It can truly be game-changing.
Take a Risk in 2020
Large organisations don’t build themselves. They are built over time, one step at a time. Each step is calculated and executed in an effort to mitigate risk, but grow profits – but there is always risk when changes are implemented. It’s our job to be courageous and take these risks in order to continue to grow our businesses.
What risks are you going to take in 2020? Are you going to expand deliveries into a new market? Are you going to add a new set of trading partners? Are you going to dismantle more cars?
Run the numbers. Do the math. Evaluate potential outcomes for each decision. Then DO SOMETHING. Take the risk. Go for it! Make the change. Your competitors are probably making changes and taking risks. Don’t get left behind by not taking a risk.