Auto Service World
News   November 14, 2023   by Greg Aguilera

From the Magazine: Investing in yourself

Don’t forget to take care of you, the shop owner

It’s time to put some focus on something closer to home: You, the shop owner.

You invest time and money in training your teams to enhance their skills and provide excellent service to your customers. But how much time and effort do you invest in yourself, your skills and your ongoing development?

People tend to rely on what they know until they’re exposed to something different. Unfortunately for many business owners, their lack of leadership skills often stems from a pattern of imitation. We tend to manage as we were managed and lead as we were led, adopting the habits and rituals of those who managed us. This often leads to a lack of deep understanding of how to become truly inspirational leaders for ourselves and our teams.

I’d guess 80-90 per cent of shop owners find themselves in this situation, which is quite ironic when you consider that many of us have our shops specifically to escape such limitations, don’t you think?

As a result, we are misinformed about the difference between management and leadership, and we confuse hard work for leadership. We then attend management training, with no leadership elements, regardless of the name of the course.

Both management and leadership are important for the growth and sustainability of the business, but in the long term, inspirational leadership becomes crucial.

Leadership starts with you — all of you; not just the work-based elements. Of course, these are important, but at some point, you’ve had a bad day at the office and taken it into your evening, your family or other areas of your life or vice versa.

This is where holistic leadership coaching comes into play. Yes, it may sound a bit out there, but bear with me. This approach examines all facets of your life, from your business and your health and wellness to your relationships with friends and family. It’s founded on the principle that how we do one thing influences every aspect of our lives.

If you don’t have a manager yet, this means that you get to wear both hats. But unless your default hat is the leadership one then a change is in order.

Numerous business owners are super successful in the money game but completely miserable in all other aspects of life. We know that money doesn’t make us happy but what it does is enable us to enjoy life. Therefore, holistic coaching helps to see the path to getting your life on track in every area meaning that you can earn more money and have a better life.

This does not detract from the hard elements that are required for running a business, such as bookkeeping, accounting and daily management of teams. But as your business grows and you have a manager, these are the elements that they will take over, allowing you to elevate yourself in the leadership game. If you don’t have a manager yet, this means that you get to wear both hats. But unless your default hat is the leadership one then a change is in order.

Returning to the shop and business, how many of you are planning or developing marketing and actions for January or even the next tire season?

Are you making budget plans right now? What about your conquest customers, as well as your social media and advertising strategies?

Most of you fall into one of two categories: One, you offer a slew of discount deals; two, you haven’t thought about it yet and are thus waiting for business to come in rather than going out and getting it.

In a changing marketplace, there is no space for people who are sitting still or not growing; they will be simply erased by the marketplace or end up at the bottom of the pond, which is a busy, cutthroat place full of customers you don’t want.

It’s time to think about how you will change yourself and how you will have a successful business going forward.

Greg Aguilera is a director of IAC Canada, an organization dedicated to the management development of repair shops in Canada. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the October issue of CARS.

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