Two weeks ago I was baffled by having had my car towed not once, but twice in a single day (I know, who does that, right?). The first time because my key was damaged and went into theft mode and twelve hours (and a $180 key) later the rear axle went out on my truck as I was driving down I-85. As if that wasn’t bad enough three days after my car was towed to my mechanic my husband’s engine locked up due to a puncture in his oil pan from a road hazard. So our two car household was down to zero, and if you’ve ever been to Atlanta this isn’t a city you want to live in without a car especially living out in the ’burbs. With automobiles being the focus of my week I thought I’d share the business lessons found in driving an SUV.
- Evaluating Opportunity Cost is Important
Opportunity cost is the cost of passing on an alternative choice when making a decision. When I chose to purchase another SUV when my Explorer was totaled I had the option of buying a similar SUV, downgrading to a sedan, or moving up in size to the larger SUV. Being a blended family my initial thought was a larger SUV has a third row which means we all ride together comfortably. And in the back of my mind a larger SUV meant I sat even higher off the ground (my short girls will understand, I’m only 5’3). What I failed to do was to evaluate the true opportunity costs associated with the larger SUV. Had I chosen either alternative I wouldn’t consequently be spending spend almost $100 per tank of gas, almost $200 per tire, and $180 for a new key with the fancy chip inside.
Lesson: In your business you will have to make countless decisions, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. In your decision making process always consider the cost of not choosing each alternative allowing yourself to make more sound business decisions.
- Routine Maintenance is Essential
Although the issue with my rear axle wasn’t preventable had I been more diligent (and not a slacker) about getting my maintenance done as scheduled I would have known about the issue sooner and could have planned for the repairs as opposed to being hit with an unexpected four-figure repair bill.
Lesson: Like your car your business needs routine maintenance. How often are you re-evaluating your goals? Your target market? Your pricing? Your web presence? Your marketing strategy? Your partnerships? All aspects of your business need maintenance, things that are ‘right’ for your business today might not be a good fit tomorrow. Don’t wait for a problem to exist before you give your business a ‘tune up’.
- Finding the Right “Mechanic, Body Shop, & Detailer” is CRITICAL!
I have been going to the same mechanic for 6 years (and 3 vehicles) so he knows my car and my driving habits and he and his team at TNT Automotive (Shameless Plug for TNT Auto Repair located at 3743 Covington Hwy Decatur, GA 30032 (404) 941-9041). In that time I’ve had to get two transmissions, a rear axle, numerous brake pads, rotors, and other car parts that I don’t even hope to understand. And every time I have been comforted in knowing that I was getting a fair price, quality work, and good service.
Lesson: You need a solid team of people in your corner to give sound advice, help you fix what’s broken in your business, and promote your brand.
Keeping with the auto analogy, are there any other business lessons that you’ve learned from your car?