I want to share with my friends how I defined SUCCESS in my muffler shop.

S = Start your day early. Earlier than your co-workers. I would get in an hour of exercise, prepare the morning coffee and review the appointment schedule before any employee arrived. I would set up my orders and lie out the parts needed for the jobs already in the shop and still have time, because I trained myself to arise around 4 a.m.

U = Unite your crew. They spend more time at work than with their own families, so make them a family unit. I called them “weekly cheerleading meetings” when we would meet early every Friday morning. I was their cheerleader, stress on “leader.” We would start an hour early for the meeting and I would feed them breakfast, talk about the week and any challenges we were to face. We would share any ideas/tips to get the job done right. They became a family unit.

C = Challenge them. Let them have their own ideas to run by you. You want them to be creative and grow, so that your business can grow. Employees become excited about their work when one of their ideas are implemented, which in turn challenges the other employees to be creative.

C = Compliment them on a job well done and do it in front of the others. I would do some fun things when one of my co-workers took on a challenge and completed it. Just as an example, we get in several vehicles with broken bolts in the heads and if you have ever been there, you know how tough some of them could be. I thought, “What can I come up with to make this a challenge, versus a headache?” That is when I decided to design an award. I put one of the extracted broken bolts on a neck chain and called it the “Broken Bolt Award.” I handed it to my employee, the very first time, and had him wear it outside his shirt. He had extracted three broken bolts out of the notorious Ford 460 heads. I could not believe what happened next. Those men wanted that award so bad, that they would line up for the next Ford with broken bolts, just to wear that chain. Nine broken bolts on one Ford was the final count for the most bolts removed and the technician did not even complain.

E = Encourage your co-workers to take time off with their families and friends. I shut the shop down on Saturdays, so they could do just that. I was so surprised by the outcome. We did more business in five days than we ever did in six, because our shop family was rested and had weekend stories to share when they returned on Monday.

S = Serve your co-workers a plate full of positive reinforcement. Serve your community in some way, volunteering to make your community better. And yes, we must serve our clients, who make our business possible.

S = Success is not always monetary gains, but how we feel when our day is done. You can never hug the money, but if you can change the lives of those that work with and for you, then I feel you have succeeded.