So I visited the car mechanic with Joel about a week ago. Joel’s car had a radiator issue and I had to give him a lift. It amazed me how I still don’t know the mechanic’s name, despite having sent my car in for a major repair a few months back. Anyway we call him ‘Ah Eh’, direct translation for ‘shorty’ and here are 4 brief lessons I’ve learnt from the old man.
1. Know Your Customers & You Can Sell Them Anything
I realized this because this isn’t the first time I’m seeing this mechanic. From usually servicing my car at my usual car mechanic whose workshop is just about 100 meters away from my home, I choose to drive 20 kilometers away just to get my car serviced by Ah Eh.
Why did I do that? Many would say it’s the quality of service, but that is not entirely true. I’ve serviced my car only twice. How would I know if the service is after all really dependable?
Ah Eh is in the people business. When my car broke down he understands the pain I’m experiencing. I was sold when he gave complete reassurance to that pain I was having, rather than adding to the pain.
You might reason that most car mechanics would do the same. After all, they provide solutions right?
Many other mechanics would jump at this opportunity to hammer you down with even more problems attempting to make bigger bucks. I’m sure you have experienced dealing with these types of mechanics before. Doom and gloom will be added to your pain. “Oh this is a serious problem”, “oh this is not gonna be cheap”, “looks like a lot is damaged” and bla bla bla. Look, we already know our problems. We need a solution now. Not a highlight on the doom and gloom.
It’s amazing that something so simple can switch a buyer’s loyalty (me). Simply know a customer, be in his shoes and you’ll be able to sell anything to him. Ah Eh is a mechanic who started with why. People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Take this weekend to read up this amazing book. It’s a life changer: Start with Why by Simon Sinek
2. Want To Scale Your Business? Think Twice
First off, I do not intent to discourage you to pursue your ambitions. I do have big ambitions myself. 🙂
Dreaming to build a mega business feels good. Stepping in to build a business is tough. But if it all works out in the end, you’re the hero right?
The problem with scaling businesses is you lose the reason you started it in the first place. Why did you start what you are doing now in the first place?
In my experience, people (me included) normally start business doing something we deep passion for and of course to make money. Be honest! I call bullshit to those people who say they build businesses because of an aesthetic reason or ‘just for fun’. Businesses are built to make money. Fact.
So anyway you went on to build the business you’ve always wanted to build. You’re started off great and you’re doing what you love doing. Brilliant.
You then want to scale your business. It’s time to go bigger! However halfway through that your funds starts depleting. Even intermediate business owners have a hard time bringing in enough sales and money upon scaling to the next level.
This is when the real danger starts. You begin to lose your why. Money becomes the main focus of what you do. Work becomes a routine and it’s a drag to get up in the morning to go to work.
So before scaling your business, you might want to think twice. Will you lose your WHY if you were to scale it? If you can preserve your WHY while scaling your business, inspiring your employees. Then yes, you’re ready to scale your business.
Ah Eh is a mechanic whom I chose to award a sale to simply because I saw the passion he had in what he do. He may not have the latest tools or biggest car workshop in all of Penang, but he certainly won the sale over many other car mechanics. According to him, success is doing what you love doing and making a living out of it.
3. Forget Gambling At The Casino
The obsession of gambling at the casino to win money is a young man’s game.
How are casinos sustaining themselves every single year if they do not make money from their patrons?
The real danger however is when you have actually won at a casino before, when you have actually made some money. You experienced the winnings and you know it’s possible to win at the casino. That is when the addiction sets in.
And before you know it, you’ll be gambling all your hard earned savings away.
Advice from the old mechanic? Make sure you lose, the first time you gamble at the casino.
4. Invest In Yourself
Skimp on food and fashion but never skimp on improving yourself. In this technological age lots of things which once required high levels of skills and expertise, are now accessible to the majority.
Think about recording studios. Now anyone can buy a $200 equipment and start doing home recordings that rivals the quality produced by world-class recording studios.
Think about the film industry. We now have people making really impressive short films with cheap cameras and even phones.
The only thing that differentiates you and your competitors today are your skills. I chose to send my car to Ah Eh because I acknowledged his skills in car servicing and repairs.
Again in this age of technology, you can learn tons of different things just over the internet. I always believe in learning and I think everyone should do too.
Everyday I try to put in at least 1 hour of learning in the morning before works starts.