It's a tough go in small business and in life. Here are the keys to making both work for you.Find the home site of author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com
A "Can Do" Attitude Gets Things Done
"We like to think if you need something done to your vehicle, we can do it."
- Kim Sturgeon, owner of Renous Automotive Repair (New Brunswick, Canada)
Kim is what we call a "can do" kind of person. Not much stops him.
Bear with me, this isn't a "thanks for the great car repair" kind of story.
Like the cleaning ladies of old who refused to clean ovens (too many strong chemicals) or windows (too much dangerous climbing without any safety harness), Kim and his mechanics will not repair your tires or do bodywork or paint your car. He will claim it's because they don't have the equipment. I'm pretty sure it's because they find such activities boring. They thrive on challenges.
I went into his shop to pay him for two recent repairs. One a simple cigarette lighter (accessory plug) repair so I could use the plug to power my GPS and MP3 player. The other more complicated because it involved a coloured spaghetti mess of wires behind a car radio that was draining the car battery every night due to a short, plus I wanted the radio changed to a different one. Most repair shops steer away from electrical repairs because they can be anything but straightforward. Not Kim and his boys.
The repairs and changes were done, but Kim was nowhere to be found when I went in. He had gone to Bangor, Maine, to pick up a part he couldn't locate in his own home province. He not only left the Canadian province where he has his shop, he left the country to get a part in the United States because a customer needed his vehicle repaired faster than it would take to have the part shipped by courier.
The chief mechanic told me the cars were ready to roll and how much it would cost. Twenty-five dollars. For two electrical repairs and a change of radio. Canadian Tire, the main supplier of automotive parts and supplies and repairs in Canada, charges more than twice as much as Kim per hour. Most dealers charge more than three times as much for "authorized" repairs. And they take twice as long as Kim to get the job done. I tucked a twenty and a five into the mechanic's pocket as he continued to work on a transmission he had just removed from a stake truck.
Last year I needed an engine replaced in one of my cars. Kim spent a good part of an afternoon phoning every wrecking yard he knew to find one. The following day I drove my trailer to Fredericton to pick up the engine he found. The day after that I drove my newly refitted car home. Kim takes little time making repairs to cars and trucks because he only has a small lot to store them.
He has people bring their vehicle repairs to him from all over the region. Every morning his lot is full, few remain by late afternoon. People count on Kim to do a job right, honestly, fairly and fast. For Kim that means a lot of business because dependable repair shops, sadly, are hard to find. People like his approach to business.
Oh, that drive to Bangor, Maine? About five hours of driving each way. In heavy rain the whole day (I know, I drove for four hours in it myself). Kim drove his full sized pickup truck, the one with the standard stick shift on the floor, on his right side. His right arm is paralyzed from an accident a few years ago on his snowmobile. He drives and shifts with his left. Better than most other drivers on the road.
Kim can do.
His approach to a problem is not "Can I solve this problem?" For him it's "How can I solve this problem?" It works.
You can do, too. It's all a matter of attitude. And perseverance. And, in Kim's case, using his head when he doesn't have two hands that work. He always has a problem solved in his head before his hand or his mechanics go to work.
Can do. At Kim's garage, smiles are free too. He gives a few with each repair job. People like that as well.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents who want to know all the needs children have to develop to lead a balanced life, not just their intellectual needs.
Learn more at http://billallin.com