There are many things I enjoy doing … sometimes I've even been called "Jeana of all trades." No matter what I do, I give it 100% because anything worth doing is worth doing right. There are so many blessings that come with giving it your all-satisfaction, pride, fulfillment, joy, etc. Why do you do what you do? Do you give it your all, every time? And whom do you do it for?
Before our shop opened four years ago, I remember all there was to do in preparation. Not only were we remodeling the physical building but we were also preparing the business side of things-I even remember doing a few interviews in my paint clothes! My husband and I were working almost 18 hours per day for the two months prior to opening. There was so much to do and so little time to do it-and of course there were problems along the way. However, it seemed every single obstacle we ran into, a creative solution came about to get over it, under it or around it.
When it comes to independent businesses, businesses that aren't large companies, dealerships or franchises and that don't have any base processes or guidance to start, how does one begin to learn the ropes? Where can one find help and mentors to do things best? These past four years have gone so very fast and we grew so quickly that it would sometimes make our heads spin. But in the midst of the spinning, we found an automotive training company, ATI, specifically developed to help auto repair shop owners across the country. They provide classes and coaching for all areas of business.
Once we had the basics down with their general classes, we got more involved and became part of a 20-group. These groups consist of approximately 20 shops from all over the United States who meet quarterly to share ideas, brainstorm solutions to problems, discuss best practices, hold each other accountable and so much more. Sometimes we meet in a classroom setting in Baltimore where ATI is based. Other times we choose a shop to visit within the group and fly to their location to critique their facility and business as a whole as well as provide helpful feedback and advice.
Last month, we had the privilege of hosting our 20-group right here at our shop. Not everyone made it but we had 15 incredible shop owners in attendance. After a tour of our facility, they were split into groups and given specific tasks to perform. One group interviewed our business family, another critiqued our facility and the last reviewed our processes and procedures. We then met off-site to hear their thoughts and feedback. What did their fifteen "fresh sets of eyes" see that we could improve upon? What might we change to make our shop better for our customers or our business family? What do we do well and what did they learn from our business?
These are men and women who "get" our industry, who struggle with the same things we do, who have hundreds of years of combined experience, who are from all over the country and whose main goals are to succeed and help us succeed. Can you imagine the value of a team such as this, swooping in to help us tweak this, modify that, refine this, alter that … and so on? It was almost like a having a whole group of personal trainers focused on different areas of the body to make the whole body be the best it can be.
A word of caution-20 groups are not for the faint of heart. It's not like plastic surgery. They don't come in and do the work for you with some nips and tucks in all the right places. They are personal trainers. They tell you what work needs to be done then they call you to make sure you are doing all of your crunches, pushups, squats and any other exercise they've recommended.
Did you know groups like this exist? And not just in the automotive world, there are groups like this all over the place and for so many different things. Have you ever wanted to better yourself? Have you ever wanted to be a part of a dynamic group of people that are encouraging and who want to be encouraged? Most people who are in these groups are passionate about their business and motivated to make it the best it can be.
Why would we care to spend our time doing things like this? Why not just go to work every day, do what you can, fix cars and go home? Why do we do the things we do and give it 100%? Because we were created to. We were created to passionately serve others no matter the business we are in. The best way to do this is to draw alongside other people with the same goals and passion and to help each other live out this great purpose.
I hear a lot of people talking about purpose. I've always been in awe of missionaries who go to third world countries and serve. What a great purpose! But we can't all do that. We have to succeed where we are lead and where we are planted. If we are planted in Rochester, MN in an auto-repair shop, then we have the unique opportunity to embrace our industry and serve people while servicing their cars. We keep people's vehicles safe and reliable so they can get to work, transport their families, take groceries home, take vacations and serve others too. Isn't that a great purpose?
What's your purpose? Do you give everything you do your all? Do you have people who give you ideas, help you set goals and keep you accountable? I recently had a keychain made with one of my favorite verses on it to remind me who I am working for and to give everything my all (Col 3:23-24). With that daily reminder, with my business partner (my incredible husband), with ATI and with our great 20-group, I am fully equipped to serve a great purpose, even in Rochester, MN.
By Jeana Babcock