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What's the Big Idea?

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Bryce Evans

A little bit of FenderBender history here: Our cover subject this month, Dave Mitchell, has in fact been on our cover before; he might be our only repeat cover subject since FenderBender became a national publication a decade ago.

Today, Mitchell is the president and CEO of Car Guys Collision Repair, an 11-shop network in Florida. In January of 2009, when he first appeared on the cover, he held that same title and position for Master Collision Repair. Different time, different company, different story, but, really, at the core of it all, there are a lot of similarities.

In this month’s cover story, “How They Did It,” associate editor Travis Bean profiles three collision repair operators and highlights the “ideas” and implementation strategies that make each of them successful. Mitchell is one of those three. I won’t give away the story here, as it’s a must-read, but I bring it up (and Mitchell’s past cover story) to point to a lesson that, while present in every issue of our magazine, is particularly overt this month: There is no one, single idea, concept or strategy that leads to success in business.

People too often are consumed with the fantasy of a quick-fix secret to success. And, sure, the vast majority of successful entrepreneurs do tend to have a defining moment of sorts that triggers rapid growth. But to see that one moment as the single change anyone can imitate to reach the same level is to ignore the strong foundation already in place, the core of the business that positioned it to take advantage of its big break.

And, like I said, this month’s issue of FenderBender seems to encapsulate that concept very well. Often, our main features showcase successful shop owners and hit on the business strategies that make them stand out. These aren’t the only strategies that make the business successful, though. In 2009, Mitchell’s cover story was about his strategies for training a strong team. This month’s piece is entirely different. He, just like many of you, demonstrates that success in this or any industry doesn’t come down to one big idea that changes everything; it’s the culmination of all your failures that led to stronger pivots, the process alterations that slowly built to systematic changes, the day-in-and-day-out dedication to steady, consistent improvement. It’s not easy, and it certainly isn’t simple, but that’s what makes it so rewarding.

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