|Strategic Planning Information|
Idaho Market for Automotive Businesses; Doing it Right
Anyone who has been watching the Idaho Market Carefully for auto services, knows that the market is ripe, ready and growing. I visited Southern Idaho after establishing franchises in Northern Idaho three years ago for our auto aftermarket franchise company. We have surveyed the competition as well and found that much of the original competition in these Southern Idaho markets is unsophisticated and not setting any speed records. Of course to their benefit it appears that they are not trying. But the area is growing and it is time for them to wake up and smell the coffee and get the show on the road. In the mobile auto detailing and car wash business there is much opportunity indeed.
As far as competition there is not much to worry about there. We met one competitor in the Twin Falls Area. He says he services Twin Falls, Rupert, Burley, Heyburn, Jerome, & Buhl areas. We asked him how business was. He said it was "SSSLLLOOOOOOOW !!!" Yet there is little if any competition and it did not appear he was trying to attract any new business, meaning there is a lot of work and revenue, which has been left on the table. His comments were quite interesting considering the population in the area is quite good and growing. We talked to his biggest area competitor who had a small unit he towed behind his Nissan Pick-up who washes car lots for seven of the areas largest dealerships. We then talked to the auto detailers who were satisfied, but had not a lot of great things to say about it. We took a closer look at the gentleman's rig that said business was ssssllloooooow, as he parked out side of the Wal-Mart in Burley, ID. And noticed that he does not seem to respect animal rights. He had a stuffed animal, a Tasmanian Devil, zip tied to his trucks grill as if it was a road kill. So much for brand image; we realize that in Idaho it is very difficult to drive year after year without hitting a Dear. But we imagine this guy does not slow down judging by his front bumper and bad attitude towards our fellow species.
As we started to look over his tow vehicle we noticed a few dents. He had two bumper sticks; one was DAMM, "Drunks Against Mad Mothers and the other was "Shit Happens." I am very much against Drunk Drivers in any state and we realize that countless Americans each year are killed by Drunk Drivers. The numbers are staggering and what many fail to realize is that we have had more drunk driving deaths in our country than Americans killed in W.W.II. In 2001 a relatively light year for drunk driving deaths, there were 16,653 official deaths from drunk driving and 1000 from drunk boating; that was only one year, imagine how many since WWII. Unofficially there were many more contributing deaths from drunk driving where it was a partial factor. We are the only franchise with a clause in our franchise agreement that if you drink and drive in a Car Wash Guys Truck you automatically can lose your franchise; here is the clause.
"3.15.2 Drunk Driving"
"You agree not to drink and drive a mobile car wash truck of your franchised business on a public highway when you may be over the legal limit of toxicity. You also agree not to drive your personal vehicle in the manner described above. Such violation of the law resulting in the conviction of a felony or misdemeanor is subject to termination of your Franchise Agreement."
All businesses in the auto industry should have such clauses in their employment manuals or if a franchise you may copy this one. Businesses should support Mother's Against Drunk Drivers. We have always supported local groups such as MADD and DARE and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say NO !" Programs in the past, because we believe that this type of behavior sets a bad example to young people. We must lead by example to insure a strong up and coming generation to lead us in the future. In Lewiston, ID we had a competitor who was selling drugs out of the back of his car wash. It was common knowledge in town. This is unacceptable; we therefore established our own car wash there across the river in Clarkston, WA. We believe that small business in the auto industry must be one with the community and stop such problematic and detrimental issues in their towns. Join us in putting a bite into crime.
We also noted that this competitor in Burley, ID had parked blocking part of a Handicap Spot while running into Wal-Mart to buy Beer and Munchies for the pending nightly smoke out party. While we do not condemn responsible drinking or care what people smoke on their own time, we see a negative pattern here with this particular, but common Idaho Competitor, so it appears that more responsible operators have a wide-open market in auto after market services in Southern, ID. Perhaps he was planning a party for the local Hospice and inviting over local donors? We understand that without a cover over his vehicle he was in a hurry to get home before the rain and probably did not want anyone to steal his radio. We just are a little perturbed about the lack of respect for our Physically Challenged Citizens throughout the Nation. All auto businesses should support the handicapped. Here is an idea of a way you can do just that in your community;
Each auto business should have policies in place to prevent abuse to handicapped customers. We have led by example in these issues and have always been on the leading edge of important issues concerning peoples of our countries, this is why our Franchise System and our team Members have agreed in advance to not park in or block handicap parking spots. Won't you join us and do the same in your Auto After market business? We are so serious about such abuses to the common good of the Physically Challenged that we have made it a part of our franchise agreement. Your auto business can copy this if you wish or make your own policy to fit your business model for your outlets and employees:
"3.15.3 Handicapped Spots"
"You, your employees, managers, partners, officers or directors agree not to park in handicapped spots for the duration of this Franchise Agreement unless you or they are actually handicapped and have a bona fide current placard"
We are the only franchise in the history of the World to make this an issue in our franchise agreement, but we should not be the last, join us now in setting things right. We mean it when we say we believe in the highest standards of conduct and respect for the communities we service. Of course this able bodied competitor in front of Wal-Mart had no "Handicap Placard" on his tow vehicle. We therefore asked him to kindly move his vehicle and park somewhere else. He gave us a really dirty look and then he did.
If you are in the automotive business; be a responsible business. Take pride in your community, get involved and be proactive in the fight against crime and drugs. Show respect to all your potential customers, no matter what their condition. Led by example; do it right. Won't you please Think about it?
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
Dotcom Business Plans Archive Project
One of the most important initiatives in the domain of business documentation is that of professor David Kirsch from the University of Maryland, who thought of a dotcom Business Plan Archive - , a project that consists of collecting business plans for posterity. The project was started in 2002, through the Web portal businessplanarchive.org. The site was built by Webmergers.com and the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, in collaboration with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.The project received financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Bounced Checks in Your Business Location Outlets
The new check cashing instant clearing will take some time to get use to. If checks clear immediately and deposits take a few days then franchise outlets may find more bounced checks in their establishment.
Top Ten Reasons To Create A One Page Business Plan
There is a story, about a business owner who wasn't doing very well. She had no business plan, but had heard, quite a bit, how creating one would help.
Business Plan: Planning the Operations
Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you can whip something together in a day or so, but without proper planning you are setting yourself up to fail. Many first time entrepreneurs have a bit of trouble writing a business plan, which will be acceptable to bankers and investors. One easy place to fall down on is the understanding of the daily operations of your chosen business model.
A Backup To The Internet Is Vital & Now Cost Effective
It doesn't take a Terrorist Act, Tsunami or Earthquake to put a business heavily dependent on the internet in the dark and effectively out of business??for hours or even days into weeks.
Innovate Today for Great Leaps Forward Tomorrow
How often does your company make a quantum leap forward? My guess is that, on a scale from "frequently (10) ? to ? never (1)" the answer is much closer to "never" because few companies have a process to innovate or think creatively. Very few attempt to formally think through their business model, their relationships with staff, clients, and vendors, and their product / service offerings.
Invalid Excuses for Poor Business Results - Rising costs
Note to Northwest Airlines ? It's not about fuel costs
Pave the Way to a Successful Strategic Plan
Many very successful business owners may never have had a formal strategic plan. Some think, "Why do we need to do strategic planning? We're doing great just like we are."
10 Ways To Make Your Business Unique
1. Largest Selection -
Regroup - How To Do It And Why It Works
Regroup?is this a new management trend? Not a chance! Regroup is simply an opportunity to end one month's business cycle, recap the performance of your company and outline a plan of success for the new upcoming month. Why does it work? Because it allows each person on your team to assess their performance from the previous month, and make any necessary adjustments for the new month. Here's how it works:
Innovators Role at Hard Times
One Research Scientist at the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Imaging Systems laboratory said Carly Fiorina was a marketing person put in change of engineers who cared nothing about the art and beauty of technology. She just wanted saleable stock to bring to market. He exhorts that when she walked into the HP Labs for the first time, she said that their new company slogan was "Invent." Then, she told them that the technology industry would never again be as exciting and profitable as it was in the '90s. That they'd all need to grow up now and face that fact.
Financing Business Expansion for Your Small Company
How you finance the expansion of your business is important. Borrowing and understanding the consequences of borrowing for your financing is extremely important. If you are going to borrow the money to finance the expansion of your business, you need to make sure that you are not going to get yourself into a cash crunch situation. This is where you are going to have a lot of money coming in from new business completed and invoiced but not have enough current cash flow. When you borrow you will be financing new equipment, locations, signage, or perhaps a new work truck on a credit line, lease or loan payments. The initial payments are going to be due before you get your increased income from the expansion in. This can be a major critical problem and we do not want this to happen to you.
To Go or No Go, That Is The Question
Last week we talked about a few of the ways to test the feasibility of a business idea to help determine if the idea really had merit or just looked good on the surface. To recap, I said don't bet the farm on the opinions of friends and family, consult with knowledgeable business experts, and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. This week let's take it a step further and talk about the creation of a formal Feasibility Plan which will help you determine the true feasibility of your big business idea.
Sony?s PSI Project
In 1989, Sony founded its Institute of Wisdom at the request of its founder Masaharu Ibuka and former chairman Akio Morita.
Consolidation in the Software Industry is Hardly New: Obsess About It or Risk Losing it All
Some analysts credit [Larry] Ellison with anticipating the consolidation in the enterprise software industry and leading the charge. Ellison 'called a major shift in an entire market, which was impressive.'(1)
The Impact of Price Popularity on Profits
The goal of almost every business owner is to generate a profit either for themselves or their shareholders. This can be challenging at best. So much thought and effort go into running a business, accounts payable, accounts receivable, dealing with vendors, customers, etc. Because of this people sometimes do not focus on one of the most important factors- pricing. Knowing how much you can charge for your product or service is invaluable information. Businesses typically want to increase volume and prices at the same time. In a perfect world that would be easy to accomplish, yet we do not live in a perfect world. So just how do businesses go about deciding how much to charge for a product or service?
Could You Be Setting Your Business Plan Up For Failure?
David E. Gumpert, author of Burn Your Business Plan, often tells the story about how he and his partner failed to raise money after sending their business plan around to venture capitalists and meeting with several others to make presentations. Disappointed by the fruits of their labor, they considered giving up on their venture in 1995. Fortunately, on the advice of their board of advisors, they chose to divert their time from massaging the business plan to making sales. The financing, they were told, would come later.
2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business
There is so much small business information available today that it's easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it's safe to say not all the information you'll receive will be of equal value. So it's important to be discerning when you're thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you'll find some suggestions don't match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.
The Power of Planning
I am surprised how few sales professionals, independent consultants, and small business owners take the time to plan the strategy for their business. Most people spend more time writing out a grocery list or planning a vacation than they do planning the direction or outcome of their business. Many will determine a vague or general idea of what they want to accomplish but very few actually identify the specific action steps they will need to take in order to achieve their goals. I'm not suggesting you create a 25-30 page business plan like a good friend of mine writes every year, but I do recommend that you begin outlining the goals you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.
If you've ever listened to Warren Buffett talk about investing, you've heard him mention the idea of a company's moat. The moat is a simple way of describing a company's competitive advantage. A strong competitive advantage, or a wide moat, gives a company sustainability, which, as investors, we're highly interested in.
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