IS YOUR BUSINESS DIVERSIFIED?

WITH SERVICE INTERVALS CHANGING IN THE INDUSTRY BECAUSE OF INCREASED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY, HOLDING ON TO THE OLD STANDARD METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS CAN BECOME A MAJOR MISTAKE.

by Bob Greenwood AMAM 

Today management must look at their business and where it is going based on its current business model. 

Consider that to have the right “balance” of business is critical for bottom line performance. What I mean here is ensuring you have a business that is diversified between retail consumer business and small fleet commercial business. Both are different and both have to be managed properly on behalf of the client. 

Diversification can provide stability to the “volume” of business required so that the peaks and valleys are not so big. Being too busy misses net income. Being too slow destroys net income.

How are you executing a plan to attract the right amount of commercial business to your store? Have you got a solid plan that differentiates you in the marketplace so when you are talking with a fleet owner or manager you can point out what you do in a unique way that saves that fleet money? It’s not just about price, so that isn’t a key differentiator.

This means you must do your homework on that fleet by asking the right questions in order to prepare a professional proposal for them. It also means face-to-face discussions, so now your time must be properly planned to seek out new business. Consider setting aside a minimum of one morning or afternoon a week to set up appointments to go after new business. You are not in the shop for that time; you are out promoting your business and setting up appointments. You are going over a proposal that day with a new potential fleet client.

You are making valuable use of your time because you are working “on” the business, not “in” the business. 

Another aspect that must be studied and set up properly before meeting with any new potential client is your payment policy. You cannot afford to be dictated to as to “how” they are going to pay you and you end up with an account that pays every 45-to-60 days. That is not good business.

That doesn’t work for you, so coming up with a solid plan to be discussed in a professional business manner is critical to completing the presentation package. Of course, you accept credit cards or cheques, but you must establish a proper payment policy. Is it going to be weekly, or twice a month, i.e. 15th and 30th of each month until the account is paid in full.

Remember you are not someone else’s bank and you require the cash flow in order to service the fleet with your professional technicians who are under continuous training to ensure their knowledge base is at the top of the industry so no client is let down. On top of that, the software and equipment requirements today consume a lot of cash and your client must understand that cash flow is critical to ensuring their fleet is managed to the level of their expectations.

Take ownership of your business and your processes when diversifying your company. You won’t get them all and quite frankly you don’t want them all, but the ones you do get will, I’m sure, become great clients because they respect how you approached them and how you do business to ensure they are not let down. 

Bob Greenwood can be reached at greenwood@aaec.ca or Toll Free 1-800- 267-5497

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