Making the Most of It

We all know too well how it began. For me I was in Daytona for the American Flat Track Racing TT Race where I have some pretty good connections and a “best seats in the house” kind of thing going on. It began that practice would be limited to riders only. That changed into we’re not going to have practice; we’ll just have the race. Then we were told it would be the race with no spectators. Well you know where that was going. I kept waiting to see where things would end up.  No race; no spectators……that’s how it was determined the how race would be handled.  I’d flew down mainly for the race so I didn’t do much else. Now my goal was to get back home before the airlines were shut down. I tried getting earlier flights once the race was cancelled. There were plenty of people much smarter than me and all the flights back to Atlanta were filled. I finally got out on Sunday morning and once back home I began contacting staff to plan for opening the shop Monday morning. No one knew what to expect yet everyone came in and things continued strong. The restaurants, breweries, hair salons, countless offices, and such near the shop were ordered to close. It was learned we were deemed an “essential business” so I began contacting shop owner friends from all over to best determine how we would follow proven protocol and keep things operating safely. Around the end of March as most everything was closed, traffic greatly slowed. We still had work coming in yet not what we wanted. I knew to keep everyone employed we were going to need some mind shifting.

I went to Sherwin Williams and bought everyone their own painter clothes. As we have multiple buildings, I appointed a lead for each building and we put our task lists in place. “Scott, you help by stripping the old caulk out of those windows in bays three and four. Terry let me know what you need so we can the prep the floors in bays seven and eight. We hope to have everything ready for epoxy this weekend.” Everyone went to it and supplies were coming in for all the projects. We had set protocol to protect staff and customers from what was going on. When cars came in, we went through our cleaning process which took a little time. As the cars were being conditioned for safe entry, everyone kept working on their various building projects.

I began reviewing our marketing and determining how to most effectively market without everyone on the roads. We shifted more to social media as it seemed everyone was home spending much of their day on Facebook & etc. We started reaching out to the community to determine how we could best help anyone and especially our customers who may be in need. Countless programs were initiated and like usual, some proved effective and others were quickly ended. Many are still in place and have proven highly successful, so we’ll keep trying to improve these programs. We began some rather extensive upfits to our loaner and shuttle fleet. Things we just never seemed to make time for previously was now being completed. It felt so good getting things in order.

By May, all the windows and floors were in top shape. The place looked amazing. Most all the painter clothes were washed and put away. My rep at Sherwin Williams had even stop calling me each morning to see what else we might need. Customers and staff couldn’t stop commenting on how great things looked. Everyone’s work attitude was noticeably improved. Amazing what a little slow time can accomplish! Cars were coming in again and everyone was working. It was so beneficial for everyone being able to find their tools and shop equipment in perfect order; ready to go.

It’s what we do in the off times that determines where we go in the good times. It’s so tempting to jump in the fear barrel hiding away until someone tells us it’s safe to come out again. Seeing the peace come over the staff who were fearing if they would even have a job was priceless for me. Being able to get them all so quickly bought in amplified our results. Their willingness to adapt made it all possible. Being able to help our customers and those in our community who were fearful with needs, was an even higher level of satisfaction.

It may not happen again for a while, yet things won’t always go as planned. Make your plans now for how you can best use the time when such events happen in life.

Uh ooh …..I need to go! Seems the power just flickered: we got to get the internet back up. Could’ve been worse I guess…………………right?


Article By: John Hill, Autotrends and IGONC