Doug Grills, AutoStream Car Care Center, multi-shop owner, Baltimore, MD (Six Locations)
Chris Monroe, Monroe Tire and Service, shop owner, Shelby, NC. Chris got on the track to becoming an industry superstar at the early age of 10, as his father started Monroe Tire in 1974. He took over as the owner of the shop in 1987, and has been able to increase Monroe Tire’s sales for 30 consecutive years despite a high volume of competition and a flat population of less than 25,000 in his community. Chris’s success in business hasn’t gone unnoticed, as his shop has consistently been voted Best of the Best in his community for Best in Tire/Automotive Services.
One reason for Chris’s success is his commitment to training and to self-improvement. Chris not only dedicates his time to improving our industry, but to making a difference in his community as well. He serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board, is on the Small Business Advisory Council and was recently appointed as a trustee at Cleveland Community College, speaks regularly at high school and college classes about small business ownership, and also contributes to his local schools in countless other ways. His shop has contributed to drug abuse prevention council, to children’s homes, to churches and to far more causes than we’re able to list. Additionally, on the shop’s 40th anniversary they celebrated by donating a completely refurbished vehicle to a person of need that the community selected.
Key Talking Points:
The most important trait for learning and development? Humility. Be humble, learn and grow.
When you realize you don’t know everything is a breakthrough moment
Never be the smartest person in the room and except that
You may not know the help you need until you start getting involved with a peer group
Build on your success
It is OK not to be right. Accept that and be a perpetual student.Accept that and it is a release
When in the peer group there are different levels of success and the diversity of the group bring perspective you can’t get anywhere else
Don’t focus on you (your goals and aspirations), focus on your people (their goals, dreams and development) – and the rest will take care of itself.
Doug has his people have goal postser’s and he has them on his people.
Have a business model that’s Employee-centric vs. Customer-centric – when I started, I thought the customer was king. Turns out, have a vision and treat your employees like royalty and they’ll take care of everything that your customers will ever need.
Develop a brand earlyYou want to be in the back of people's mind so you are thought of when automotive service is needed.
Be remembered as the company that supports community
Get in front of your brand, make it human
It takes years and must be consistent
It is like a NASCAR race. You want to be in the lead. You have to hold your
Stress reliefWorry is the biggest waste of time
You worry about stupid stuff
You have internal and external stress
Find outlets to reduce your stress
Find work-life harmony and the discipline it takes to make that happen
Review your expenses every six months at a minimumMitch Schneider talks about expense creep. You must pay attention to your costs
You may be top-heavy within your staff
Managing your expenses is a mindsetKeep a mindset that things aren’t good, even if they are, you will be able to call on that ‘mindset’ when things are not good
SalesIf you take care of your people and customers your sales will happen
People do business who they know, love and trust
Get a comprehensive review of your financials from a financial expertGet in-depth knowledge of your financials from your CPA or your Business Coach
If you are just starting your business, start it with a business coachIf you want to retire young get into a peer group or hire a business coach
You can not NOT afford it
Don’t pretend you know it allYou may believe that the older person doesn’t know what is the right thing to do
Many feel it is hard to take advice from older people
You are proud with a tough exterior, be humble. Set pride to the side
Admit you need help. An example of strong leadership
Find your purpose so people will follow you
Getting the right answer and finding the correct path is what matters
Create a reserve account and deliberately put money in it each week
A special thanks to Ron Haugen, Chris Monroe, and Doug Grills for their contribution to the aftermarket.
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