It's a new year and as the calendar flips over to another January, the traffic in your shop slows to a trickle. With most of the country in the grips of old man winter, powersports purchases are the last thing on most people's minds. So what is a shop owner or manager to do?
Well, you could sit back and complain but that won't get you anywhere. Instead, do something. Take advantage of the downtime to clear up housekeeping issues that you've neglected this season, all of those nagging little things that you notice but never get around to doing. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. When housekeeping items go undone it sends a subliminal message to your customer that you aren’t paying attention to details.
So how do you start? Well, that’s easy. You just start. My suggestion is to come in a bit early tomorrow morning and look around the store with a fresh set of eyes. No better time than the present, right? Or better yet enlist the help of a friend or family member to take a walk around and make notes. Using an outsider allows a more genuine look at your store without any emotional or budgetary attachments. If you do it yourself, look around and write everything down, and yes, I mean everything, even the smallest seemingly insignificant item. If you leave it off the list you won’t get it done.
Systematically look at each department and every bit of your store for things that are not quite right. Does your front door still have decals and old sales advertisements on them? What about the broken tile in the corner or the stain on the carpet? Write it down. How about the damaged display in the parts department? Or the old mismatched hangers on the clothing displays? In the shop, are all of the special tools in the correct location and are all of the shop assets working correctly? Take the time to review all of your F&I procedures or the processes you use in your front office. Are they the best use of the time? Think of EVERYTHING and add it to the list.
Don't forget your digital presence. Now is a great time for a page by page website audit. Are there out of date sales or used bikes listed? What about the staff and about us page, is it current? Write all of these items down.
Once your list is complete, carefully review and organize it by department and priority. I’m sure some of the items on the list will require a capital investment or a contractor or some additional time.That’s OK, but make sure you put the plan to fix them in place. Distribute the appropriate lists to your department leaders and give them clear direction to complete the tasks. Assign a timeline and make sure that they have the resources required. Sure, you’ll spend a little bit of money now but as the saying goes “you gotta spend money to make money.” Be sure to get regular updates. The off-season will go by pretty quickly and you don’t want to miss this opportunity.
Be sure to make housekeeping a priority throughout the year and fix these things as they come up. It’s important not to get caught up in the day to day running of the business. Make it a point to bi-weekly walk through your store and get these things taken care of and please enable your employees to do the same.
So get going on the list and get things done!
Scott Lukaitis is a writer, photographer and powersports industry professional with more than 25 years of experience from the dealership to the manufacturer level. He owns and provides content for his websites njmotocross.com, lukaitisphoto.com, and scottlukaitis.com and is currently the chief operating officer at Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant.
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