May '19

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26 THE SHOP MAY 2019 Add to this an interest in early Datsun Zs, Toyota Celicas and Mazda RX-7s, and you have a major group of buyers that has little if any knowledge of '32 Fords, classic Cords or pre- and post-War cars. This is the type of information that is essential when you decide which vehicles to work on or specialize in (especially if there is a chance you may end up with the project if the owner runs out of money or lacks the desire to see it through to completion!). A classic valued at millions of dollars by the auction houses is only worth the money if there are buyers willing to spend that much, and based on what has occurred at the auctions lately, things may be changing rapidly. Specialize in vehicles that you and your team are passionate about, and your enthu- siasm will become contagious. It will attract the owners of those vehicles, because you'll be seen not only as a shop that knows the niche, but that has a deep understanding of the cars' specific characteristics and quirks. FOCUS ON CULTURE As a startup or small business, your culture can make or break the company. A posi- tive, committed workforce with the right environment will achieve success. The attitudes, activities, beliefs and values reinforced daily are the basis for the culture of your organization. How is culture built? Ask your staff what they think the company should stand for, so that they feel included. Then, highlight and praise the actions of employees who demonstrate those values, and you'll start to build the culture than you envision. Keep in mind that if the culture is wrong, replacing men and machinery won't correct it. This, more than anything else, will hold a shop back, and growth and achievement won't happen. BE THE LEADER Employees look to the most visible person in the company—the owner, founder or general manager—to lead from the top. Not all of them are natural leaders, and while they may have had a great idea in starting the business, managing employees with different skill sets may not be their strength. At one shop, the owner recognized that he couldn't be everything to everyone, and so he has a general manager, a shop foreman, a sales manager and an accoun- tant to organize the business. This allows of pride in what they accomplish. As a shop owner, take full advantage of the talents, backgrounds, experiences and attitudes that a diverse workforce can bring to your company. Believe it or not, it will help you to better connect with your cus- tomer base and to the public in general. KEEP PACE WITH TRENDS Recently, Hagerty Insurance noted that Generation X (born 1965-'79) and millen- nials (born 1980-'95) have displaced baby boomers and earlier generations as those most interested in collector cars. What this means is that the vehicles they grew up with and have an affinity toward—in this case early Mustangs and 1960s and newer trucks and SUVs—are currently the most sought-after. ALL THE RIGHT MOVES A committed workforce is an essential part of your culture. The right tools and technology help employees and shops achieve great results.

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