To make a profit is not a reason for going into business, it’s a result of going into business. The core reason anyone goes into business has to be deeper than financial gain. The security of regular income and lower stress levels relating to a weekly income are far more appealing than the risk, stress and the gamble that is, going into small business. Any small business owner knows this. There is always a deeper reason, there is always a passion and drive that made one person risk everything in pursuit of it. Businesses that were born of the desire for financial gain alone are always the first to fall. The stats are heavy with a huge percentage of small business failing in the first few years. Not all of those failures can be explained by poor motive but I suspect a huge chunk of them can be. So this fuels the real question. What was our reason for doing this in the first place? What was our motive and passion at the time of conception and now four years down the track have we remained true to it?
The knowledge of this subject has not always been known to me. The information and ongoing research into all things business started with frustration for me. I knew small business was hard work as my father had started his own whilst I was in high school, but I have become fascinated in it. What is the difference between the businesses that are born and grow to become Apple, Pixar, Virgin, Starbucks and those that become a statistic? It became a search for the differences between those who make it and those who don’t. Conferences, endless books, webinars and training courses all on the hunt for the “silver bullet” that will ensure GDL will one day be a household name in Sydney. I have not yet found a single solid “this is the formula” and I doubt I ever will, as there are many differences between the success stories. So much of it comes down to an internal desire to make it no matter what and in some cases a bit of dumb luck.
In my years of research I stumbled across a public speaker and author Simon Sinek. Simon had developed the concept of knowing your “WHY” and has put on the table for us, what may well be the closest thing to the “silver bullet” of success so far. I highly recommend his books, “Know Your Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”. Much of his amazing knowledge is avaliable for free via youtube releases of some of his speaking appointments around the globe.Whilst working through the information that Simon lays down we discovered why it is that our business is booming, why its growing at such a rapid rate and why we are yet again in a situation where we need bigger premises just twelve months after upgrading our premises. We have discovered the reason people choose to do business with GDL over some of our competitiors and why some local shops are struggling.
What we do at GDL Automotive is not that amazing. Four years at TAFE and almost any human being could have the same skill set. In fact there are those in business on the Northern Beaches who are most probably more skilled than our team at fixing cars. Yet fixing cars is not all that hard. We’re not the cheapest, were not the most skilled and we are definitely not the most experienced (all our staff are currently under 30 years old) but something we do ensures our business not only survives but in fact thrives. The reason for this is consumers don’t buy WHAT we do, they buy WHY we do it.
Most of our clients are probably unaware of this yet they are still drawn to us for the exact same reason. Simon does cover the biological reactions that happen in the human brain when they buy your WHY instead of your WHAT. This does explain why people are included in this process even if it is unbeknown to them.Recently we did a large amount of work on our USP which in business terms is your “Unique Selling Position”. This is, “what do we offer that our competitors don’t?” In our case, its the free pick and drop off service anywhere on the North Shore. The trouble with relying on your USP as your only drive for getting clients to develop loyalty to your business, is that there is nothing stopping your competitors from copying that and if they were smart, they would copy it. Its a free idea, anyone can have it. But a great USP does not breed loyalty, your WHY breads loyalty.
So WHY? Why did we begin GDL, why did we take the risk to do something differently and why are we different? GDL was born out of complete frustration at the blatant dishonesty that happens within the automotive industry. I’ll not go into stories surrounding what I have witnessed or been told to sweep under the carpet or even in a few cases critisised by co-workers for speaking out but we all know this is the truth of a very corrupt industry.I dreamt of an industry built on honesty and integrity. I dreamt of a shop where everything we did and said, told the customer “you are getting a fair run here”. Mechanics argue the win some, lose some theory which somehow justifies their behaviour or the smash repair quoting system nicknamed “funny money, funny time” that is deliberately designed to make the invoice confusing. The fact of the matter is, argue what you want but consumers know when they are getting a raw deal even if they can’t prove it. You can justify it until you’re blue in the face but if you’re not gaining repeat clients you have a problem.
We believe the industry can change and we strive to turn this around. Its a massive task but we believe it can be done. When we discuss this with people they always use the word trust. The trouble with trust is, it is an emotion. We all trust someone we know is a complete screw up and we probably shouldn’t. Trust comes from having a relationship with someone. Its not a character trait.Our WHY is to change the automotive industry into one of integrity.
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”, this is what we dream of. How are we going to change the whole industry? We have no idea but it starts with one workshop, our workshop. And that is exactly why we have a booming loyal client base.
The first step in making this a reality comes down to the team you recruit. It’s common practice to recruit people based off skill set or experience. Resume businesses boom from rattling off credentials and experience. To me, in business this is a complete joke. Any human brain can learn, you can teach people the job but you can’t teach people values and passions. Our interview process does not even touch on experience or skills becasue we don’t care, we can teach you to drain oil and replace brakes our way. Our interview process is about finding out if the potential employee shares our WHY. You could be the best mechanic in the world but if integrity is not one of your core attributes then you’re better suited at a dealership. You want a team who will work for you even if you can’t afford to pay them from time to time. Recruit based off WHY, and they work for the dream not for the pay cheque.

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