The last time I saw a family doctor make a house call was on a black and white television. Aside from a large animal vet that came to our house one time while I was growing up, no doctor ever came to diagnose or treat me or any member of the family.
Meet John Cannon of My Car Doc, self proclaimed graduate of bad car repair companies. He knew after working for one that there had to be a better way to give customers respect and value.
How many hours a year do you spend waiting to get your vehicle fixed? Instead of making you schedule appointments at the repair shop and waiting in a dirty, noisy, and cramped waiting room for an unspecified amount of time, My Car Doc comes to your home or place of business to fix or maintain your vehicle. John says that most businesses allow him to do repairs in their parking lot because they realize the cost of unproductive time spent at a repair shop. Some of the local office parks have regularly scheduled days as an employee benefit for tenants.
Asking John about what he learned as a business owner, he reports, “I was surprised by how quickly I became recognized throughout the social circles as the face of My Car Doc. I was also surprised by how much people wanted to get to know not only about my business, but also about me personally.”
This is personal branding and is a key issue for any new business–you are always on. You are the face of the company and people will associate your business with how you come across in all situations. Regardless of the impact of social media—or maybe because of the impact of social media—people buy from people and any time day or night you might be in front of your next prospect. No amount of marketing replaces face to face contact and personal relationships for the small business owner. John has learned the power of networking and personally spreads the word about his unique business.
John also said that his customers changed his business. “Be open to new ideas and suggestions from your customers; what they want and need is what you need to know to stay successful.” Target marketing is important but we cannot forget that the market may be smarter than we are. The market gives us valuable feedback on our offering. Too many entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in providing their service from their lengthy technical background that they fail to listen to what the market is telling them. John’s suggestion is a good one–you have to pay attention to the market and you have to listen to your customers. Your best idea will be improved when you listen to what you can’t or don’t do and then add it to next week’s offering.
Many repairs can be done in your driveway or parking lot if you have the know-how and tools and they aren’t messy—serpentine belts, air conditioning, alternators, brakes can all be done with nothing more than an open hood and maybe a simple floor jack which looks like a tire change. While the value of time is high for so many people, My Car Doc charges less than the traditional car repair shop due to low overhead.
“When you boil it all down, helping people is what My Car Doc is all about; it’s why I started this company and why we charge less than most shops in town for the most convenient service possible in Indianapolis.”
At the end of the day, you must be perceived as valuable business. What are you doing that is truly unique and what is the market telling you?
Click here for information on a nearly free workshop on Sales and Marketing in 2009 and Beyond presented by Business Ownership Initiative.
For more info on My Car Doc visit MyCarDoc.com.