If you believe your car wash is stuck and that you have tried everything possible to increase your revenue and it is not working, I am here to tell you that you are looking in the wrong place for the right solution. What if I tell you that youcan grow your profit exponentially no matter how successful your car wash is today, or no matter how stuck you believe your car wash is?
You cannot erect a building without a foundation. Likewise, you cannot grow a business exponentially without it having a strong foundation. The following intangible principles are the groundwork that separates good companies from great companies: personal success recipe, asking the right questions, and creating a team culture.
THE PERSONAL SUCCESS RECIPE
On a daily basis, read books about successful entrepreneurs and profitable companies. Learn their philosophy and strategic marketing ideas. Write down these ideas and ask yourself how can you adapt them and implement them at your own car wash. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just change the hubcap.
Network with friends that are more successful than you are now or with those that already achieved their goals or dreams. If you are among your friends and you are the smartest person in the room, run and start searching for new friends. Network with the community you live in and join the local chamber and at least one non-profit organization.
Hire a mentor or a consultant. A consultant is a person who has over 20 years of experience in your field who can teach you how to avoid many mistakes and direct you toward proven strategies and techniques that produce results.
According to the American Small Business Administration:
• 30 percent of small businesses fail within the first year
• 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years
• 90 percent of small businesses fail within 10 years
But wait; there is a twist: 90 percent of franchisees succeed over 10 years. The question is why?
Forbes magazine conducted a study to find out the main reasons why many small business fail. The Small Business Administration and Success magazine conducted similar research and reached similar conclusions. The five main reasons why small businesses fail:
• Failure to understand customers and their buying habits
• Failure to clearly define and understand the market
• Failure to price product or service correctly
• Owners believe they can do everything themselves
• Owners’ unwillingness to hire an expert
As you see, all the above reasons are controllable. Most entrepreneurs fail because of their inexperience in the business world. It normally takes 20 years of hard work, research, and implementation to become an expert at running a successful business. Yet small business owners will most likely fail within one to 10 years. Experience and wisdom comes with time and there are no short cuts. The outcome of small business can change if, but only if, the owner hires a qualified mentor or consultant with a proven record. It is mind boggling that a person invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in a car wash, yet does not invest thousands of dollars in a mentor or coach.
Now you know the reason why franchisees succeed. The franchisors act as the consultant or mentor of the franchisees. They invested time, energy, and money into creating a profitable system that the franchisees have to follow.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Socrates’ most famous quote is “Life not examined is not worth living.” My mentor, the marketing guru, Jay Abraham, revised the quote to apply to the business world. Jay’s quote is “Business not examined and re-examined constantly is not worth owning.”
As a car wash owner, you must be asking yourself the right questions every day. The common denominator among the great companies and entrepreneurs such as Apple and Steve Jobs, Microsoft and Bill Gates, Amazon and Jeff Bezos is that they are really good at asking the right questions. Their great success, countless solutions to existing problems, and breakthrough ideas were born from asking the right questions then finding the answers through masterminding.
Asking the right questions is critical to disrupt the status quo, to innovate, and to grow profit. Asking the question, “Why is business slow?” is the wrong question to ask. Your brain will give you hundreds of reasons why business is slow. Instead, refuse to accept the current reality and ask the right questions such as:
• What can I do differently to increase dollar per transaction?
• What can I do differently to increase the number of customers?
• What can I do differently to promote our services more effectively?
• What can I do differently to improve customer satisfaction?
• What can I do differently to eliminate bottlenecks?
Whenever you are faced with a challenge, there are only two things you can do: either just complain or blame it on the economy, location, competitors, etc.; or question the issue by asking, “How can I overcome the specific challenge?” Many times the solution is intangible; therefore it is not visible to the naked eye.
Why are you in the car wash business?
Most entrepreneurs would answer by saying, “to make money.” Well, that is the wrong answer. Money is only the measurement of how successful a person is in solving a problem and providing an experience at the same time. Money is only the report card that is reviewed every month or every quarter to analyze how successful you are as an entrepreneur in servicing your clients.
For example, if you are in the car wash business, you are not in the business of washing cars. You are in business for something much bigger: to create an experience while solving a problem.
You are in the business of creating happiness and to make each and every client feel and look great every time they drive off your lot.
Once clients leave your property, can you guarantee they will come back to you for the next service? The answer is yes. You are in control. If you provided your clients with a great experience, great value, and wow service every step of the way, they have no choice but to come back. Clients will drive past competitors regardless of whether they have lower pricing or are more conveniently located.
When someone asks a car wash owner, what do you do? The answer should not be “I am in the car wash business,” but rather, “I am in the business of creating happiness. I am in the business to make sure every time you get in your car you will feel great, drive happy, and say wow.”
When someone asks you what do you do, a better answer is to leave them hanging. The best responses are those that pique the listener’s interest and that leads to more questions. A good formula to follow when asked what you do is:
• Did you know (list a problem or statistic from the car wash industry)?
• What I do is (list a solution you provide)
By saying what you achieve rather than what you do, you’ll have them hooked in.
CREATE A TEAM CULTURE
As a car wash owner you may oversee your operation and get to know some clients, but your employees are in direct contact with the clients every day. The manner in which you treat the employees is mirrored back to the way the employees treat the customers. If a business philosophy is based on building a culture to serve the employees and has the staff feel as if they are owners and are empowered to do what is right, then employees will put forth the effort to please customers and keep the best interest of the car wash at hand.
The American Society for Quality conducted a study and concluded that 96 percent of the reasons clients stop doing business with a company are attributable to lack of a relationship. That lack, the study found, is made up as follows:
• 68 percent of clients are turned away by the attitude of the service provider
• 14 percent are dissatisfied with the product or service
• 9 percent are lured away by competition
• 5 percent are influenced by friends
• 3 percent relocate
• 1 percent die
If you created a team culture and have a good relationship with your clients, they will, if they ever have a problem with your service, let you know, so you can solve the problem. Do you think your clients can be lured away by competition if you have built a strong relationship with them? Do you think their friends can influence them or, rather, will they influence their friends to come to you because of that strong relationship?
To have a successful car wash business, it is imperative that you understand and prepare this foundation for success. It is what separates the good from the great.
AJ Rassamni, an entrepreneur, inventor, and market strategist is the author of two books on the car wash industry: Increase Business 30% in 30 Days, and Dirty Cars Filthy Rich. You can contact AJ via e-mail at info@MyLoyaltyApps.com or info@DirtyCarsFilthyRich.com or text 559-284-1919.