Archive for October, 2008

You have all the tools, now let’s put them to best use!

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Just before the beginning of summer, my son broke his arm in an ATV accident. After minor surgery the next day to insert two metal pins in his wrist and six weeks in a cast, it was time to remove the cast. I will admit, I was excited to take him to that doctor’s visit because I was more than a little curious to see what these pins looked like and how they come out. To some, that may sound morbid but I have never broken anything and was curious.

First, the nurse removes the cast. Then she cleans the arm, careful to avoid the area with the two extruding pins. The doctor comes in and I move a little closer to get a good view. He inspects x-rays and tells my son he might feel some pain. At the same time she hands the doctor a pair of vice grips she says, “We got some new ‘equipment’ in today and I can not seem to open these ‘pliers’.” The doctor takes this locking wrench and proceeds to try to pull them open with all his might. After watching that for a while and just before I lost my straight face, I stopped him and asked him for the “vice grips”. I showed him how if he squeezed the lever on one side, the grips would pop open without having to bust a gut. Because it was my boy on the table, I then showed him how to adjust his “new equipment” by turning the round thing on the end of the one side.

When we turned back to my son I could see his outlook on this whole situation has taken a dive! At age 14, he is smart enough to get concerned when he sees his dad assisting the doctor, so I said jokingly, “Maybe we can pull the staff together afterwards, and have a training seminar on the new equipment.”

The doctor then gets the grips locked on the first pin and pulls. Just as the first pin is pulled free the grips come unlocked because the lock was not tight enough and they come out of the doctor’s hand. The pin and the “pliers” drop down on to my son’s wrist, not hurting him. However, it scared him, the nurse and even the doctor to the point I could hold it in no longer. The whole scene was straight out of a comedy and I could not contain my laughter.
The next pin went much smoother and once again my son is four wheeling with two straight arms. This whole story, though, can be applied to many businesses I see in the field every day.

In order to get to where you are now, it took hard work and commitment. You own your own business. You decided years ago to take a path few ever take and fewer still ever survive. You took risks, made decisions, and today, you reap the reward because you chart your own destiny and enjoy the rewards of working for yourself. Just like that doctor, you have to see clients, handle mountains of paper work, deal eith staffing and inventory and all the other things that come with being your own boss.

When you started out, you probably handled everthing on your own. As you grew you began to hire more help or brought on family members. This allowed you to do more business and you continued to grow. Even in today’s current market, for some dealers it is not a matter of IF they will grow this year, but by how much? Those dealers are often the ones making the most out of the tools they have. They are not making excuses, they are not giving up, and they are the ones willing to pull that second pin out even when the first one did not go all that smoothly.

For VIADA members, the toolbox and the equipment shed are full! The Association works hard to keep you abreast of legal and legislative issues. All the notices they mail and fax you are also on the website, www.VIADA.org. Nothing complicated about this tool. The site has over 100 pages of information available to you 24/7/365. Lois, David and others work hard to keep you informed of everything from meeting and education class schedules to upcoming workshops and online ordering of forms and materials. In order to access the MEMBERS ONLY section of the site, you simply enter the zip code listed on your VIADA membership and your VIADA Number listed on the front of your Member card.

Another tool available to you online through your association is www.VirginiaUsedCarDealers.com (VUCD). This site provides a free link to all members’ websites and emails as long as VIADA has your website and email addresses on file. There are thousands of dealer searches performed by car buyers at this site and all it takes for you to benefit from this tool is updating your VIADA member listing with Natalie at the VIADA headquarters.

For as little as $35 a month, though, you can turn this tool into a real piece of machinery! VUCD provides the following services exclusive to VIADA Members Only:
1. Unlimited Vehicle Listings with multiple photos.
2. Automatic daily feeds of your inventory to other free online advertisers like Google.com, Oodle.com. and more.
3. Links from multiple parts of this site back to your own dealership website.
4. Access to a Craigslist and Ebay template creation tool.
5. Access to data feeds of your online inventory to all other paid online advertisers like Cars.com and others.

If you have any questions about these or other online tools, please let us demonstrate how to put the tools you already have available to you to good use.

Writing this article got me thinking about how the doctor removed those pins before getting his new equipment?