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Arming You for the Future

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It’s a different business world that we inhabit, to be sure. And for independent tire dealers, the future is a scarier place than at any time in history.

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Tire dealers today have concerns beyond the basics of sales and profits. Their ability to compete is challenged by changing consumer attitudes, a still-strained economy, seem­ingly untethered consolidation on the distribution side, and more aggressive co­mpetition from car dealers and their own suppliers.

And more.

Despite these obstacles (some quite unnecessary), independent tire dealers remain the primary mover of consumer and commercial tires. With P-metric and LT-metric lines, independent dealers hold marketshares of 63% and 80%, respectively – well ahead of mass merchants, warehouse clubs and company-owned locations. Still, car dealers are taking an 8% chunk and show no­ signs of abating.

“Survive and Thrive” is the mantra of those Tire Review readers looking to remain integral to the industry in the coming decades. Long-lived dealers understand that change is a constant, one best met by a thirst for knowledge and a search for the best education possible.

The School of Hard Knocks (many of you are among its long list of alumni) is truly old school. It served its purpose back in the day, but today’s dealers want real-world examples, opportunities to share and learn, and data that points to the best practices that can lead to further success.

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The Top Shop Award program was not intended as yet another honorarium, but as a powerful way to showcase dealers from which we can all learn. Our Top Shop Winners and Finalists show all readers that they are not alone and that there are ways to conquer those success-blocking obstacles.

Recently, we took it a step further by creating (with Strategic Alliance Group) the Top Shop Total Business Group, a powerful premium peer-to-peer educational opportunity that draws from the hundreds of tire dealers identified as being among the very best. Long-term, TSTBG will expand and engage more and more tire dealers looking for effective on-going education and support.

Our relationship with many like-minded tire people helped create the Center for Tire and Service Education, of which I am a founding board member. The first session of its Tire Leadership 21 program was recently completed, a truly monumental event for this industry. For the first time, tire dealers can help their managers-in-waiting and future owners be better prepared for the future, helping ensure their success in this great industry.

Often the best education is not about anticipating what will be, but seeing things as they really are. Numbers don’t lie, but managing by the numbers and understanding what are the resulting best of best of practices cannot be accomplished without real-world numbers.

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To help find those real numbers, we are launching the Tire Review Tire Industry Benchmarking Study.

A truly comprehensive, continuing survey – the first of its kind – it will define trends and best practices to help independent tire dealers better manage their businesses, providing critical benchmarks so that owners and managers can improve sales, manage costs, leverage opportunities and optimize profitability from their operations.

This survey digs deeper than the financial-based benchmarking familiar to many of you. The Tire Review Tire Industry Benchmarking Study will examine the types of services, products and brands offered by tire dealers, their structure and make-up, as well as look at how they are investing in their business.

And more.

Best of all, a unique scoring system allows tire dealers to truly and fairly measure themselves against other dealers – regardless of size or shape or geography – giving us the opportunity to highlight the most meaningful best practices and spotlight the industry’s top performing tire dealers. More on this later.

Already some very forward-thinking companies have come on board as sponsors of what will be an annual effort. And the survey itself is being conducted and the results analyzed by The MPI Group, a well-respected B2B research firm.

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The research is only as good as the input, which is why I am urging all of our tire dealer audience to participate and reap the benefits from this industry-wide research effort. Take a few minutes to provide honest and complete responses to our survey questions at TireReviewSurvey.com.

As an added bonus, all dealers that complete the entire survey and provide contact information will receive a free Customized Benchmarking Report that compares their operations against all dealers who participated. And they will also be eligible for the Tire Review Top Performers list.

All responses to this survey will remain entirely confidential. Only Tire Review and The MPI Group will have access to your individual responses; report findings will only be reported in the aggregate.

So please get online and get involved in the Tire Review Tire Indust­ry Benchmarking Study. Help yourself, help your business, and help your future.

Visit TireReviewSurvey.com now.

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