Five ways to prepare your business for the future


The world’s an everchanging place and we need to stay on top of new trends and grab opportunities to make sure our businesses remain successful

Get on the property ladder

Many garages lease their site. Many landlords also own other commercial properties, often on the high street. And the high street is in trouble. You can’t turn a shop into a house or a block of flats overnight, and to do so takes money. This could be the time to approach your landlord to see if they wish to sell you the site instead of renting it.

Don’t fall for the land agent trap. One garage owner I deal with has been asking the land agent if the landlord wishes to sell. Recently, by chance, the garage owner met the landlord when she visited his garage for some work on her car. It soon transpired that she had wanted to sell for some time, but the land agent was not passing on the requests of each party. Why? It wasn’t in the land agent’s best interests.

Top tip: Establish a direct relationship with your landlord. A little research about their situation may be a powerful indicator of how keen they will be to do a deal.

Vans are the new high street

The reduced supply chain of new vans during lockdown has left a reduction in good saleable vans. However, demand has risen, as online shopping is delivered by van. If you have the capacity for vans, but don’t usually focus on them, now could be the time to target sales, servicing, and repairs.

Reduce debt

Easy to say, but if some debt can be paid down it may help you survive in the longer term. Interest rates are at their lowest since the inception of the Bank of England. While there is no sign of them rising soon, its pretty obvious that they will eventually. Usually such reversals take the economy by surprise. These exceptionally low rates are now the new normal but 10% – 12% has not been unusual in the last 50 years. As recently as February 2008 we had 5.25%. If you started your business during these times of low rates, it may come as a nasty shock to see what a rate rise looks like on monthly repayments.

Top tip: Don’t get a nasty surprise, take a look at what it will cost to service your debt if interest rates increase to 5%, 10% or even 15%, so you’re prepared and can manage.

Consider diversifying

We tend to stick with what we know, but someone has to maintain these odd little automatous delivery vehicles, electric caddy type vehicles, drones and all manner of other vehicles that will come onto the market in the future. Ultimately, either your garage will or won’t, but you’d be in a stronger position if you did. Think outside the box. What can you offer if your current business model suffers?

Ask your staff their opinions

Have you ever asked your staff what you can do to make improvements, increase profits or make savings? You may find that a member of staff is already dabbling in a new technology. Engaging with staff and tapping into their resources can make them feel more valued, which in turn increases loyalty, staff retention and profits.

Want to get your training and assessment in order before the deadline, download the IMI MOT Assessment now.