Shop: Loren’s Body Shop, Inc. Owner: Greg Lobsiger Location: Bluffton, Ind. Facility Size: 12,000 square feet Staff Size: 9 Monthly Car Count: 65-70 Annual Revenue: $2.6 million in 2020
With the end almost in sight of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses are wondering what will become of them in the new year, and how they will move into the future. For one shop owner, the answer is his time-honored tradition of setting new year’s resolutions. Greg Lobsiger, owner of Loren’s Body Shop in Bluffton, Ind., expertly employs a system of achievable and measurable goals to constantly improve his shop.
A dozen years ago, Loren’s was barely topping $540,000 in sales per year. By 2012, that number was over $1 million, and in 2020 its sales topped $2.6 million—testament to Lobsiger’s tried and true goal-setting technique.
Lobsiger sets the foundation of this system during his annual “state of the shop address” every January. During the meeting, Lobsiger explains the shop’s goals, his employees’ goals, and how they can be achieved. For example, in 2020 Lobsiger set the goals of attaining 20 percent growth, 20 percent net profit, and more than $3 million in sales. While the COVID-19 pandemic kept Loren’s from achieving those goals, the shop still saw positive growth.
Lobsiger set even more ambitious goals for 2021: to achieve 2020’s goals, to have his employees make at least $100,000, and to ensure they all have “long-term mutual prosperity.” You too can set good, realistic, and achievable goals—Lobsiger offers his goal-setting tips:
Make Realistic Goals
While Lobsiger says having a reach goal is important, he stresses setting goals that are realistic. Setting a sales goal of $6 million, he says, when the market can only support $4 million, will only lead to a shop owner and his or her employees feeling like they have failed.
Setting unrealistic goals turns employees off from trying at all. The next key to setting goals for the new year is ensuring employee buy-in. Lobsiger says he addresses this issue by incentivizing his employees to work as a team. He accomplished this by creating a bonus system where every employee receives the same bonus when the shop meets its monthly sales goal. When the shop meets its goals, everyone gets a piece of the pie, says Lobsiger.
Accountability to the Goals
Shop, employee, and self-accountability are the next steps in setting and achieving goals. Lobsiger says he focuses on the numbers: with a $3 million sales goal, he breaks it down to sales needed per day. Loren’s employees meet three times per day to discuss and adjust their progress toward the daily goal, an idea implemented by Lobsiger.
Continuously Address Issues
Throughout the day, if an employee runs into an issue that stops the progression of a car, he or she writes it on the problems board. At the daily meetings, the crew discusses if the problem is a bad SOP or if an employee strayed away from a good SOP. A continuous monitoring of problems is the next tip to set and achieve goals. Lobsiger says that this method either identifies bad SOPs, which need to be addressed, or provides a learning experience for the employee.
Lobsiger’s last and most recommended tip is for shop owners to read books on business. He says he wasted years learning rock songs when he should have spent years learning how to make his business better. He says he could not stress enough the importance of reading.
Hope on the Horizon
Moving into a year of uncertainty is daunting, but following the Greg Lobsiger method of goal setting can take some of that uncertainty away. Instead of being bogged down by overwhelming, long-term goals, break them into bite-sized pieces. Focusing on small, daily goals will keep you grounded in turbulent times and will allow you to meet your goals with ease.