As fall begins, we are wrapping up the journey of two business owners who represent a composite of real-life problems clients face. If their stories were a movie, this would be where a fast-paced montage would gloss over all the hard work, as the characters level up in their circumstances and abilities.
The work these business owners put in was well within their abilities. What Eagle Corporate Advisors does — what we do for all our clients — is help sort out priorities, construct a plan, and focus those energies in the right places.
A Tale of Two Businesses: Part 5
Two years have passed. Fred Jr. and Stan have been applying lessons learned in regular workshops with Eagle, and their mindset has changed from treading water to being confident in navigating over the next horizon.
Fred’s Luxury Auto Services
Fred Jr. initially considered selling the business and walking away; however, Eagle’s assessment revealed he would not be able to get much for the business in its current state. As part of a plan to stabilize and grow the value of the business before selling it, Fred worked with Eagle to make systematic changes and hire key people.
Probate cleared after several more months, finally allowing Fred to access his father’s accounts and assets. With the stress lifted from his shoulders, he began to really enjoy working at the garage and interacting with customers and the older crew members who had worked for his father.
Once the value of the business hit the target he’d set, Fred had second thoughts about selling. After coming so far within two years, he wanted to keep going. The duties of being a business owner no longer seemed a burden — it was energizing to see things improve, and the business had become a stable form of income for his family.
During regular workshops with Eagle, Fred brainstormed new opportunities and ways to grow. He implemented strategic advertising and a targeted marketing campaign, offering discounts to other alumni of his alma mater. He joined the chamber of commerce and made connections. He hired mechanics to replace those who had initially left — then he hired even more.
Presently, Fred is in negotiations to purchase the neighboring business in order to convert it to three more repair bays and additional customer parking. He just held a big community event celebrating the shop’s 50th anniversary — the perfect way to honor his late father, reward his hard-working crew, and give back to the community.
Stan’s Auto Repair
After Eagle’s initial assessment, it was clear Stan’s major weakness was lack of office staff, so Stan’s wife agreed to come on board as an office manager to deal with customers on a part-time basis. She spearheaded front-of-house operations, with Eagle’s input, and oversaw the hiring of another office support person.
After a few months with this new dynamic, there was a noticeable uptick in profits, and Stan felt less overwhelmed. He could focus on what he loved best while his wife was handling paperwork during the day. They were both able to leave work at a reasonable hour to enjoy time at home together. It was an easy decision to reinvest some of those newfound profits back into the relationship with Eagle.
Stan reached out and partnered with a local trade school to became a mentor to students in the automotive program. He offered talented students after-school jobs as helpers in the garage and, by working with the school, was able to keep on top of the latest developments in the industry. His garage began to grow a reputation as a reliable place to fix newer hybrids and electric vehicles, and many of the teachers and students recommended Stan’s place to their friends and family.
With improved operations leading to increased cash flow, Stan and his wife were able to pay down much of the debt they had accumulated — so their monthly payments decreased, as did their worries. Regular workshops with Eagle helped smooth out rough patches as they arose.
After a year of hard work, they were able to take a short cruise on their anniversary and feel secure in the staff’s ability to run the shop. The next year, they upgraded their cruise to a full week in the Caribbean — as a last hurrah before the baby comes!
In the real world, we can’t speed things up into a cinematic montage or summary of accomplishments. Yet, looking back, this progress can be measured and appreciated.
• What do you see when you look in the past?
• What do you want to see when you look ahead?
• What progress have you made over the past two years?
• Where do you want to be two years from now?
• Will you get there if you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them?
Time is an asset, too. One of the most precious, in fact. Letting time go by, year after year, without a plan to grow your business is a waste of that precious asset.
The journeys that Fred and Stan took during our story illustrate how different one business can be from another — even two businesses in the same industry. Just like each business and its individual challenges are unique, so are the goals and family considerations of each business owner. A path is changeable, for any number of reasons. After some hard work going down one road, it might make sense to go in a new direction.
It’s hard to list everything we do at Eagle. We often say it’s easier to describe what we don’t do. We don’t dictate or make rules for our clients. You own your success, and you have the freedom to define what success will look like for you. We simply do everything we can to help you get there.