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Before you tear off that last page in your 2007 calendar, here are 4 key business areas to take stock of:
Review your value proposition. Why do your customers come to your carwash? Is it because they know they will be in and out very quickly with a shiny dry car? Is it because everything is 'top of the line' at your wash — with every new innovation, in good working order, with an attentive attendant on site to demonstrate products and answer questions? Is it because you offer great detailing products and the space and time for your customers to pamper their car right on your lot? Whatever the reason, you should know it and build on it. Make sure the signage, the pricing, and the people working at your wash support your value proposition.
Do a check-up on your staff. Go down the list of everyone who works for you. The list should include not only those on your regular payroll but also your supporting cast of accountants, insurance agents, and even your suppliers. Are your people benefiting your business, or not? If you ask yourself the question that simply and answer it honestly, you will arm yourself with a great indicator of who you should invest in more in the year ahead (the 'yes' answers) and who you probably shouldn't (the 'no's').
Do a check-up on yourself. While you're taking stock of everyone around you, are you the owner your business needs right now? Do you have the right skill set, energy, time and commitment to do what is needed for your business for the next 3-5 years? The needs of a business change over time, from start-up needs to growth needs, to ongoing operational needs. What a business requires from its owner is different, for instance, when you own one carwash location, than it is when you decide to add a second (or third) location. Maybe you need a partner, or a second in command, or just a network of other savvy operators to bounce ideas off of. It starts with identifying what your business needs from you.
Devise a transition plan. No matter what stage your business is in, eventually you will hand the reins over to someone else. That could be a family member, a long-time employee, a partner who buys in to the company, or a third party that you sell the business to. You may need to groom someone in your organization, or maybe you will just need to groom the business for an eventual sale, but either way your business will benefit if you have a plan well in advance of that day.
Okay, that was some pretty heavy mental lifting you've done here, so go enjoy yourself and have a very Happy New Year from all of us at Blendco Systems.
Laurie Sherman is Co-owner of Blendco Systems, LLC. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.