Why is it critical to have the mindset of a business owner

Stop thinking like an employee

This past weekend provided time for reflection. Much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of the ringing phones and doorbell. I have often wondered if other business owners are like me, up to their necks in work with little time to reflect on decisions they have made or need to make. Do you schedule time out for just thinking?

Reading your comments on Face Book about whether or not to invest in your business training reminded me of how I used to think back when I got started in the auto transport business.

Looking into opening our auto transport business was an exciting time, until we learned the dollar amount needed to get started. See, I am right back where I started, talking just as I did back then…"the dollar amount needed".

Are you kidding me? When opening a business you do not think or talk like that. That is speaking a death sentence over your business before it is even given birth! A business owner invests into starting the business. A business owner has the mindset of building the business, using cash flow and deciding to learn while earning a living.

However, coming from corporate America no training was provided to help me think or change my mindset from an employee to a business owner. The journey would take me down several wrong roads before I would learn that the mindset of a business owner is critical for long-term success.

You do not spend you invest

Who really is to blame for brainwashing us into thinking it is too scary to invest into our own business? Should we blame our parents, grandparents or maybe the schools; better yet why not blame the government?

Wait! Why not start thinking like a business owner and take 100% of the responsibility for our own decisions! Now, there is a novel idea, what do you think?

You see, some of you wrote to me begging for coaching, to help you start earning money in your auto transport business. That is a mindset of a business owner. However, then in the same breath some of you spoke death into your business the same way I did over six years ago.

How you ask? Well, I can best explain it by sharing how I felt, talked and acted when we opened our doors in January 1995. Although I was hungry to build a business, I did not have a clue what it would really take. Coming from banking all procedures, products and customers were in place when I entered the work place.

When we jumped out of the pot and into the frying pan, no one explained that it would take an investment into the business to start it. Three months and $18,000.00 (U.S.D.) later our doors opened to our first client. There were no guarantees that our business would succeed no guarantees that we would even make our first sale! Yet we did make our first auto transport order; that first sale netted us $145.00. It was an exciting time in our office; however, now the reality of running a business would set in.

Next, the monthly overhead, as phone bills, bond payments, load board dues, leads purchases, office supplies and more poured in. Combine those expenses with repaying the loan we took for start up and our bottom line did not look so grand.

How could we continue to spend more money? We needed to make money, when would that time come? Rather than focus on serving our clients we were scared to death about making money. It did not take long to figure out that my mindset was that of an employee and not a business owner.

Risk versus worth

Looking back in retrospect I wish someone would have pointed me to a business coach that first year. Why? Had I known how business works before jumping in feet first I could have made better decisions. Would I still have started the business? Absolutely! The freedom our whole family enjoys because of being a business owner is priceless.

Had someone explained that investing into our business and our skills would provide stability in our business it would have made each month make more sense. With the proper training, we present a certain air of confidence to our clients.

They sense that you know what you are doing, in more than just providing free quotes for their auto transport. They can feel that you have the mindset of a business owner who knows how to run a profitable business. They sense that you are there to serve their needs and not just make a fast buck.

Now, do not get me wrong. We started our auto transport business to make money, just as any other business owner does. However, the focus cannot be on the almighty dollar, it must be on serving your clients needs long term.

You can sum it up like this. You can make a dollar today providing minimal service to your customers; or you can roll up your sleeves and serve your clients with extraordinary service to gain a lifelong customer. A lifelong customer will return repeatedly and refer their family and friends for years to come. Which example makes more sense to you? Which example is the mindset of the business owner and not an employee?

What brought these thoughts back to me?

A client called to schedule two vehicles with us this morning. He reminded me of his original transport and asked if I remembered him. Thankfully I did remember him, his transport and the circumstances revolving around it.

That transport was back in May of 2005! When he found out he needed to move again next month, he went through all of his records, emails and bank statements to find our name. He remembered the pleasant auto transport he experienced with our service to him. He also remembered the BAD experience he had with the other company, and their name, too.

Had I been thinking about how much money I was spending to purchase leads or systems to operate our business, I never would have met this customer. We never would have had the honor of serving a wonderful client who returned six years later with pleasant memories.

With kudos to our business coach and thankfulness to wonderful clients who have grown and shared our service with others, we are here to continue serving our auto transport clients with the mindset of a business owner and not an employee.

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
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