Both the personal and business benefit of having a trusted friendship with another business owner is invaluable.
For your shop, it provides an impartial view into your business from the outside, but from someone who understands what it is to own a repair shop. Knowing you can lean on a fellow shop owner when big decisions need to be made – or just the everyday decisions – is something that successful shop owners like John & Lynn Eanes of Galveston Automotive Professionals of Galveston, TX and Steve & Angie Taylor of Taylor Tire & Automotive of Kaufman, TX know firsthand.
“I don’t get as upset about the highs and lows of business as I use to, but when I do have them, my first call is always to Steve. Not only does he make me laugh, he always reminds me that this is just a temporary thing and I have the knowledge and the drive to get through it. Steve helps me to circle back around and gets me re-centered and that’s invaluable.” – Lynn Eanes, Owner Galveston Automotive Professionals
“John and Lynn compliment the gaps in our strategy and that’s very beneficial. They come from more of a corporate background. I come from an independent background. John worked for dealerships. I never have. And that’s really beneficial from a business workflow standpoint. Besides our friendship, from a business standpoint, it’s very complimentary.” – Steve Taylor, Owner Taylor Tire & Automotive
Strengths of Others
Everyone has their own areas that they’re just better at completing. Maybe it’s finances, marketing or production. And the inverse is true…perhaps you’re not as comfortable updating policies or recruiting. That dynamic is a great reason to cultivate friendships with other shop owners.
Knowing that you can pick up the phone and talk to both a friend and shop owner at the same time is a huge advantage.
“Recently, just from an HR standpoint and knowing how to communicate for the best results, is something that I reached out to Lynn for guidance. I was dealing with an employee who was moving on and talking to Lynn was really helpful on what to say…and how to say it.” – Steve Taylor
Everyone Needs a Cheerleader
While you certainly may already have a partner in your corner, it’s great to have a good friend in your corner. And if that friend is also a business owner all the better.
Who doesn’t like to hear that they are making the right decision, that how they’re handling an issue is the right way to go? That’s not to say you also don’t need constructive criticism, but a ‘pat on the back’ or a ‘way to go’ shout out is nice to hear also. And hearing that from a friend can be encouraging and a real motivation to keep going.
“John and I are together a lot but there are times when I need someone else’s perspective. Steve will just listen…no matter if I’m fussing about work or maybe John! It’s s an awesome relationship to have.” – Lynn Eanes
Another plus to these industry friendships is that while you may have a spouse or partner or even a parent who’s always been your sounding board, sometimes you can’t be totally open with them. For whatever reasons. But a buddy, a compadre, a friend may be easier to talk to and accept the truth from. That’s just the way it is sometimes.
Lessons that Others Have Learned
Every business owner has gone through their own ups and downs. With each up and with each down, a great shop owner learns something. Those practical lessons learned should be shared with friends. Friends that also own a shop. There is nothing more powerful then talking and sharing with another owner. And if they’re a friend also, it doubles the impact of the lesson you’ve learned.
“We try to be supportive of each other. We want success for each other. If I can take one idea from them that I can implement at Galveston Auto to make it easier…that’s the whole point of networking. It’s not me convincing them to do it my way. It’s me saying this is how I did it. Maybe there’s something in that idea that translates to your shop. Take it and maybe there’s something there for your shop.” – Lynn Eanes
It’s All About Your Goals
Knowing where you’re going, both personally and professionally, is a key area a good friend in the business can reinforce with you. Managing the business day-to-day is certainly needed but having a game plan for the future makes the difference in a good shop and a great shop.
“Lynn pushes me to reach my future goals continuously with a singular laser focused viewpoint. She always pushes me to look at my goals for the future. The four of us are constantly talking about our goals and we all remind each other what those goals are.” – Steve Taylor
Trust and Respect
While all relationships can be tricky at times, the relationship with not just a fellow shop owner but a friend needs to have some guiding principles in common with all involved. It comes down to two important words, TRUST and RESPECT.
“Our relationship with the Eanes is a matter of trust. When they tell me something that I don’t see clearly because of my own blinders they let me know. I trust their judgement. I know what they are saying is in my own best interest.” – Steve Taylor
So pick up the phone and call…or attend a local networking event…or if you’re a client of DRIVE, talk to a fellow client. You already own the same type of business so you have that in common. Next step is to see if you have other common interests like fishing, racing, kayaking or travel. You’re bound to find commonality. And from that commonality you will grow that trust and respect that Lynn, John, Steve and Angie have!