Auto Service World
News   January 4, 2016   by Allan Janssen

What’s your master plan for 2016?

Now’s a good time to take a fresh look at what you’re doing.

If you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking a lot about 2016.

The end of the year is a good time to take stock of how things have been going in your business, how they can be improved, what you can do differently, and what your goals should be for next year.

All this week I’ve had a calendar in front of me as I tried to map out my next 12 months. I know circumstances will change. Life has a way of throwing curve balls. Probably before the end of February I’ll have to rip up my master plan and start all over again.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 10.35.53 AMThat’s not really a problem though. My view of master plans is a lot like my view of budgets and New Year’s resolutions. Making them is almost as important as following through on them.

There’s tremendous benefit in taking a 30,000-foot view of things. It allows you to take note of the changing terrain, the landmarks, and all the obstacles that stand between you and your goal.

Actually, defining your goal is an excellent first step. You have to understand what it is that you’re trying to accomplish in the long run. Believe it or not, that’s not always clear. Or it changes. Sometimes you lose sight of it. You become so focused on the little things that the grand design is completely lost.

When I catch myself mired in mindless tasks, I know it’s time to remember my ultimate objective. A note on our fridge here at work reminds everyone, “There’s no point in doing well that which you shouldn’t be doing at all.”

So maybe now’s the time to take a 30,000-foot view of your business. From this height you can more easily tell the difference between highways and country roads. You can pick out the short cuts. You can identify the dead-ends. And you can see the best detours around new obstacles.

No doubt there are some pretty big obstacles out there!

The automotive repair and maintenance business is in the middle of a major transition… and not for the first time. The introduction of vehicle electronics caused us to reinvent our services. The end of the break-down model brought a new way of looking at maintenance. Now social media is altering the way we connect with consumers. Longer-lasting cars and the evolving vehicle mix is changing what rolls into our shops. And accelerated technology is putting crazy new demands on technicians.

Without doubt we’re going to need training – both technical and management – to navigate the road ahead. We’re going to need data. We’re going to need good partners and role models. And we’re going to need some robust industry resources.

In many ways, we’re all just learning as we go. At ground level, that can be very challenging. Every path looks like a viable option. You can easily find yourself in a bog because you missed a turn in the road.

So take some time this holiday season to recalibrate your business. Get some perspective and tackle 2016 with a clear plan.

You can reach Allan Janssen at 416-614-5814 or

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