Industry News People

A Golden Opportunity Presents Itself: Take Action, Says McCarron

Order Reprints
McCarron-column-pic.jpeg

"If you held it together through the last two years, I promise that you can hold it together through whatever is thrown at you next," says Dennis McCarron.

This MTD exclusive was provided by Dennis McCarron, a partner at Cardinal Brokers, one of the leading brokers in the tire and automotive industry (www.cardinalbrokers.com).

Increasingly, there’s a lot going on around the world. As we lurched toward the end of 2020, there was a lot of celebration that the year was over and a great 2021 was ahead.

Then supply chain problems, a COVID-19 variant and the ugly stench of inflation started coming into focus. And by the end of 2021, everyone was just — well, silent about the calendar year change.

Understandably, a global pandemic doesn’t care if calendars have changed. The same can be said for inflation, a tight labor market or that nasty back-order list staring you in the face. 

Fact of the matter is, there is always some crisis — some pressing matter — to be dealt with at your store. And the last few years have been especially difficult.

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and ask “What if?” after what we all have experienced. What if inflation gets worse? What if tire prices continue to increase? What if my lead technician quits? What if my customers stop coming in?

Having made it through the pandemic, you’ve proven you have the smarts, skills and determination to persevere through some of the most difficult times in tire retailing history.

If you held it together through the last two years, I promise that you can hold it together through whatever is thrown at you next. 

The key to it is taking action and not worrying. Worrying only gives you gray hair and wrinkles. Worrying solves almost nothing.

Clinically, worrying is a reaction to a stressful situation. It does have a purpose. It focuses the mind on the problem at hand. 

The purpose of worrying is for you to acknowledge the issue, buy some time to solve the problem and then act on the solution. 

But spend too much time worrying and you can develop anxiety and a fixation on problems, regardless of their impact on your life. Anxiety needs to be treated medically by a doctor. Worrying just needs an action plan.

Are you worried? First, identify what you are worried about and tackle the issues one at a time. Writing things down is often very helpful, as it assists the brain in compartmentalizing complicated problems. 

Second, spend some time trying to figure out a plan — and the more people you can involve, the better. Include your spouse, significant other, family, staff or a peer you trust. 

If you find yourself fixated on the feeling of worrying and not the problem at hand, that’s your mind telling you to take a break. Go for a walk, go for a drive, go sell something — whatever calms you. 

Third, don’t think you can solve all problems in one sitting. Some challenges take awhile to develop good plans around. 

This is also another reason to write things down. It may take several days or a week or more to solve a problem and you don’t want to forget anything by not writing it down.

It’s also important to point out that often, bigger challenges like a tight labor market and inflation are not problems you are going to solve, so you need to focus on the parts of those problems that are within your control. 

There’s a United States Department of Labor statistic that says mechanical labor is running at or below 2% unemployment.

None of us are going to be able to fix that in a week or a month. However, what you can control is lowering your turnover, improving the working conditions at your dealership, giving out pay increases to those employees who deserve it and off-setting that payroll increase with a labor rate increase 

One of the great things about the tire retailing business is that it is very forgiving of mistakes. 

If you make a decision to act on a problem and in a few weeks it appears that wasn’t the best option, you can make a new decision. The market will forgive and forget. 

The absolute worst thing any tire dealership owner can do is nothing and ignore an issue. Retail is about opportunity and taking chances.

This year presents a golden opportunity to make positive enhancements to your business and modernize how you operate. That means better pay structures, better training, cleaner showrooms, using new technologies and taking chances. 

You are now in a window where you can make fundamental changes to how you do business.

I hope you take action this year. In fact, I hope you take several actions. This is the year to make it happen.

Related Articles

Shipping Woes Are Hitting Auto Parts Hard, Says McCarron

You must login or register in order to post a comment.