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How to Join and Leverage a 20 Group

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FenderBender talked to John Niechwiadowicz, owner of Performance Consulting Services, about the benefits of joining a 20 Group, and how you can maximize the value out of your participation.

Joining a 20 Group forces you to step away from the daily grind and focus on improving the high-level performance of your company. 20 Group members can expect to be exposed to the latest breaking news from inside the industry, as well as business management techniques from other industries that can be applied to collision repair.

The key focus of any 20 Group is operational data analysis. Imagine the benefits of having 19 of your peers pore over your data, ask pointed questions, and share constructive observations and suggestions. The ability to tap into peer knowledge and experience on issues and obstacles you face every day is a huge benefit.

The three most prevalent sources of collision repair-specific 20 Groups are paint manufacturers, independent providers, and franchises or networks. Most paint sales representatives and business development representatives will be able to provide you with information on 20 Groups.

The appropriate way to judge which group is right for you is to simply get in there and try it out. Expect to attend the first group as a prospective member. That will give you a chance to see firsthand what a 20 Group is all about. You will likely be asked to share background information on your business—name, location, years in business, sales history and future plans—to allow the group members to get a feel for you and your company.

Membership requirements will vary from group to group. In some cases, groups are segmented by sales volume or business type—independent, dealership or network. Membership costs for 20 Groups can range from $150 to $600 per month plus travel expenses. Most 20 Groups meet three or four times per year, and are usually made up of shops from across the country, with a minimum distance requirement between members.

In order to maximize the value you experience out of participating in 20 Groups, be prepared to do the following: Submit accurate, timely numbers; be prepared; actively participate in group discussions; be ready to learn; offer suggestions and observations; ask questions; take it seriously and be committed.

Shop owners have to take a few days away from their business periodically to participate in 20 Groups, but the time away is well worth it. The quickest and surest path to success is to interact with other like-minded professionals striving for better performance.

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