It’s already cold here in New England and if business doesn’t change then I won’t make it until spring. Help! — Signed, Down and Out in New England.
Dear Down and Out in New England,
Ya know what you ought to do? Quit feeling sorry for yourself and get to work. You may be down, but you’re not out — yet!
The only way you are gonna survive is to get your customers back — with a vengeance — and get new customers, too. You will have to seriously work your ass off. I would grab that competitor (figuratively) by the throat and kick the piss out of them! It’s called old-fashioned hard work and 100 percent commitment. That’s the only way you are gonna win this war, and that’s exactly what you’re in the middle of — a war. You ready for that? It means changing your lifestyle, drastically!
Are you open seven days a week? Do you open early and stay open late? Are you personally there to greet customers and shake hands with every person that walks through your doors?
You need to be open when your customers are off of work, that means Mon-Sun until 7 p.m. We do a first-come, first-serve on service work on the weekend. People prefer to deal with the owner, so be there and be involved in everything that happens at your joint.
What about discounts? I’d rather have a little piece of pie rather than no pie at all! And I don’t take a day off, ever. The only time I’m not at my shop is if I’m at a motorcycle function out of town somewhere.
Have a bike night at least once a month. If you do a good job, it will grow. Go and hand out cards at other bike nights around town, shake hands, spread the good word about your store. Sell yourself.
It’s a drastic lifestyle change but, if you want to stay in this industry, then quit effing around, get up early and kick the ass of that new, fancy shop every stinking day. Out-work those fools. It’s you against them, and you are literally fighting for your chosen livelihood. Or, you can just keep doing what your doing and I’ll see you next time I drive through the Burger King. Maybe you can super-size my order at no extra charge.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews January 2012 issue.