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There are some very smart people in our sector, who swim against the tide. Sometimes we look on and wonder why, and other times the whole process seems to be pointless.

The SA motor insurance business model when it comes to engagement with body shops is driven by a single commodity: How many repairs per week, and how much per repair. Inside those same companies they are not comfortable with giving work simply based on price / location, but that is exactly what the trade sees. How much better would it be to offer a depth of expertise on a specialist service, where the ability to charge for that expertise is recognised?

This requires a look at the business, standing in the shoes of the customer – no ‘consultants’ are required for this. Then it’s to take stock, literally, of the facilities, expertise and location. Then, why not go off to the nearest retail park or supermarket to get a flavour of the vehicle types appearing there?

This all forms part of deep thought, which you as a team member or business owner can do for yourselves. What comes out could be… we continue to offer a repair service for any wreck that lands on the car park outside the shop, but consider should that be everything, or filtered? For example, if we have a feeling a particular brand is heavily represented in the immediate area and are comfortable that our full structural repair expertise outshines competing businesses, perhaps we don’t want light scuffs/scrapes? Conversely, we might only want quicker repairs.

That gut feeling for what is right gives the strategy, and soon we need to quantify that. Here’s where some investigation comes into play. Based on information sourced from local dealers on how many vehicles, what models and makes, etc., are sold in the area.

The upshot is we can take business opportunities based on existing investments along with the skills in the existing team, quantify the cost of adding additional equipment or training, examine the payback, and once the whole thing is in a single plan, we will have the rate of spend along with the forecast increase in revenue, by month.

Right now, apart from our good health, cash is important. Thinking is normally critical to business success, and never more so than now. Hold on to the cash, think about what the business is doing, think about what it could do, secure new contracts and then – only then – do any spending.