The untapped talent pool

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Recruiting and mentoring women can be a key to your company’s growth, success


Are you overlooking half of your potential new hires? You are if you aren’t actively recruiting women into your organization.

Talking recently with Marlene Spence, I was reminded of just how many talented, hard-working and successful women I’ve met in our industry. When I was an MSO, for example, the majority of my estimating and administrative staff was women. Most had little or no previous experience working on cars when I hired them. But I found they had great attention to detail, a critical skill when identifying damage or line matching an estimate. And I found them incredibly empathetic with customers, which studies have found is a crucial element required to earn a customer’s trust and business in our industry.

Marlene is a great example of the opportunities for women in this industry, beyond front-office jobs. Those of you who know just how many shops I’ve been in throughout my career may be surprised when I say that Marlene is, hand downs, the best painter I’ve ever seen in my life. Her custom work is unbelievable (you can see some of it in her “Portfolio” album on her Facebook page.)

“I was an art major at Honolulu Community College when I had a 1969 Dodge Dart that needed rust repair and a new paint job,” Marlene told me. “I took it to a friend who did that type of work and went to his shop every day to watch how he repaired and painted that car. I was so interested that I switched my major from art to autobody repair and painting.”

Marlene is so humble that she might not tell you that by the time she graduated in 1999, she received outstanding student awards from her autobody and painting instructors and fellow students.

Her career has included everything from painting U.S. Navy submarines to working as a paint mixer and tech for several jobbers in Hawaii and Oregon. She ran her own custom-paint business for four years. And she now is with Hi-Line Distributors, a jobber in Hawaii, where she is involved in testing and training of new p

roducts in Hawaii’s somewhat unique climate and market.

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Paint materials profits

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Think you’re not making enough profit on paint materials? Here’s the process I would use to determine if this is the case and if so, fix it.

First, I’d look at your profit-and-loss statement to see how you are doing against two key benchmarks for paint materials. I’d look at your sales to make sure that paint materials account for 10 percent or more of your total sales. Then I’d look at your cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) to make sure you weren’t spending more than 6 percent of your total sales on paint materials.

Those benchmarks on a per-job basis mean that for a $1,000 job, you should charge $100 or more for paint materials, and your paint materials costs for that job shouldn’t exceed $60.

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Retail Tip Gross Profit Margin

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Tips on how to figure out your Gross Profit Benchmark

Green Street Funding: Small Business Funding feels elusive and hard to obtain, but that’s not the case.

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Green Street Funding: Small Business Funding feels elusive and hard to obtain, but that’s not the case..


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Small Business Funding feels elusive and hard to obtain, but that’s not the case.

Business owners feel like this:
In my experience working with business owners, lending institutions and other financial avenues, the truth is that most business owners have not made themselves students of finance.  Oh sure, they can handle banking, payroll, accounts payable and receivable, and the multitude of other financial matters that a business owner deals with; but this is usually done by need and to manage crisis, not with strategy and future needs in mind.
So when the time comes that business feels a cash crunch, or a positive opportunity to grow, expand, seize market share etc. they do what most every business owner does.  They walk down to their local bank, hat in hand, and say ” I need money for my business, can you help me”?
This leaves the business owner vulnerable to many unnecessary negatives:  quality of the business lending person they sit across from, quality of the bank they are asking, quality of the products and appetite of that lender to offer money to businesses, quality of personal credit, business credit, financial documentation and business plan.