Five Ways to Jump-Start Dealerships After Tough Times

Battle-weary dealers can take some straight-forward but important steps to help reinvigorate business performance and get on track to achieve long-term goals. Here's what they can do: Clarify direction It is critical to clearly understand where your business is headed. Look at your current situation with a fresh set of eyes and then establish goals for where you would like it to be. Do not be constrained

Battle-weary dealers can take some straight-forward but important steps to help reinvigorate business performance and get on track to achieve long-term goals.

Here's what they can do:

Clarify direction

It is critical to clearly understand where your business is headed. Look at your current situation with a fresh set of eyes and then establish goals for where you would like it to be. Do not be constrained by what you think is likely to happen. Consider what you want, what you really want, first.

Start with realistic “stretch” goals. For example, you might consider making it a goal to increase your sales teams time walking the lot or set more time for yourself to interact with potential customers. Push yourself just a little, and then break your goals down into pieces while designating milestones to measure progress.

Create accountability

Once you have decided upon your goals, build in accountability for yourself. How will you ensure that these things will happen? What systems, processes or people are you going to put in place to drive them to completion? Put in such checks and balances. Without true accountability you may be setting yourself up for mediocre results. However, you take a big step if you create these assurances with meaningful deadlines.

Open up

When you run an auto dealership, it is easy to get stuck by yourself at the top. Open yourself to accepting help.

First, while it might not seem to make sense right away, consider hiring to fill the roles that take you away from performing the most critical functions. Owners often do not take this step and lose the opportunity to serve their own highest and best use.

Second, look for support organizations in your area. Peer-to-peer advisory groups are a great way to harness the experiences of other business owners who are facing the same problems.

Monitor your work/life balance

All too often, business owners become so consumed in their businesses that they forget to enjoy important events and everyday moments in their personal lives.

Take time to examine your business time and your personal life to identify those areas that are not working as well as you would like. Be mindful of your stress levels. Just because you own a business does not mean you need to be there 24 hours a day.

Get excited about your business again

You have weathered the storm and you can take pride in that accomplishment. Remember the energy and enthusiasm you had when you first started selling cars, then re-inject that vigor into your business today.

Dave Mischler is managing director and facilitator for several Inner Circle Chicago groups of 8-12 non-competing business owners who advise each other and accelerate the learning curve associated with managing and growing a company. Website: www.il1.theinnercircle.com.

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