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Patti Hoying In Perspective

Editor's Notebook

Life is a Banquet: Sourcing Inspiration from the Outside In

Be a “pick and choose” business innovator. The tire and auto industry is changing quickly with more shifts to come, and you have to be ready.

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Patti Hoying In Perspective

An afternoon of trap shooting with tire dealers, members of the Georgia Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, at their annual meeting in July.

Pick and choose. That’s what the nuns at my high school once called my approach to religion. I was a “pick and choose” Catholic – and they said it like it was a bad thing. But it didn’t bother me. The reality is that I spent much of my free time reading the bible, studying the history of that time for additional context behind the stories, digging into inspirational books by Christian ministers (Dr. Norman Vincent Peale remains a favorite) and especially talking to others from different religious upbringings to better understand their view on things in an attempt to expand my own. And while I remained rooted in the expectations and doctrine of my own faith, I continue to seek inspiration in the traditions of others.

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One of my favorite adopted traditions begins at sunset on Sept. 9 – Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and the start of their High Holidays. What begins with a celebration recognizing the sweetness of life (complete with apples, honey and other goodies) concludes over a week later with Yom Kippur, a time of atonement that includes fasting, prayer and personal reflection. While I enjoy a glass of champagne as the clock strikes midnight at the end of each December, there is something satisfying about a deeper kind of celebration – recognizing the goodness in our lives and the need for improvement. I also like that it comes at the perfect time – harvest season, back to school, the leaves just starting to turn.

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Of course, I didn’t grow up Jewish. Nor do I have a Jewish family or bloodlines. But I do eat an apple on Rosh Hashanah as I reflect on what I appreciate most in life and take a few hours around Yom Kippur to revisit my January goals, making adjustments to stay on track. I find inspiration by taking an outside approach.

If you’ve been keeping up on the news, I think you’ll agree these are interesting times, somewhat of a “new year” when it comes to the industry.

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When people ask my opinion of the trends and how they might approach their business moving forward, I tell them to wake up a little nervous.

  • Continue to look for ways to improve and realign your business practices with your goals.
  • Make the adjustments to stay on track.
  • Seek inspiration from businesses outside your industry and beyond your comfort zone.

In other words, be a “pick and choose” business innovator.

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The tire and auto industry is changing quickly with more shifts to come.

The more time I spend with tire dealers, the more I find them divided into two camps – those that embrace the challenges of change and the opportunities that go along with them, and those that think the shifts taking place are simply “more of the same,” nothing to worry about.

Regardless of the camp you’re in, seeking inspiration from outside sources can help shape your business approach so you stay ahead.

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Taking a “pick and choose” approach is like stepping up to a smörgåsbord. With so much available to you, I invite you to dig in – or at least build a sampler platter to try new things in small ways before you figure out what works best for you.

Consider reflecting on the following:

  • How can you better serve your customer?
  • What conveniences can you offer?
  • Where can you increase efficiency?
  • What do you want to be known for?

For dealers, it is increasingly important to stay open to inspiration and ideas that you can adopt as your own from sources beyond our industry. In fact, it might be the best thing you can do for your business as we enter into this new year and era. TR

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To your success,

Patti (Renner) Hoying

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