Business Communication: Are You Providing Guides for Your Business?

If you want people to do business with you, they have to be able to find you.

For people to find you, you have to make sure that you have guides leading them to your business.

Guides are often people, but they can sometimes be things as well, such as maps or websites or other useful tools that lead others to our door.

The prime guides for any business are the people who work for them, regardless of what role they play or where they fit on the organizational chart.

If your employees share your intent and are dedicated to the work that they do, they will be beacons of light guiding clients to your door. In an era of disengagement, the company that is able to light a passion in their workers is the company most people really want to do business with. We are all searching for someone who cares.

Equally important guides are your customers. When they are happy, they will each make it their unpaid mission to bring more and more business to you. They are happy, and they want their friends to be happy too, so they encourage them to call on the place that met their needs for a reasonable investment.

Within your business, your employees play many different roles but one must also be a guide.

That starts with the receptionist at the front door who makes people feel welcome, sees to their comfort, and allows them access to the person who can guide them to the next step.

They are then guided by a manager, perhaps, and if that person cannot complete the service they require, all the way to the owner.

At each stage, the guide must remain respectful and courteous to the person approaching the business.

Think about the companies you enjoy doing business with, the places to which you remain loyal and give referrals to your friends. What is it about them that makes you feel good?

You will find it is the car repair shop where the front desk person at the service bay is cheerful and helpful and remembers you. You will find it is the place where the guide delivering the service gives you a reasonable expectation of when the work will be completed and for what cost, and delivers according to the guidelines he or she has given you.

You will find it is the food shopping area where you feel welcome because there is ample parking, shopping carts at the door and no unnecessarily long waiting periods to get checked out.

Just as every person wanting to achieve something needs a guide, so does every business who wants to prosper need to ensure they offer guides.

Guides are not mere conveniences to the business like telephone answering systems that leave the caller in limbo. Guides are conveniences to the customers. When your business offers good guides to help customers and other business partners achieve their intent, you will continue to prosper.

It’s All About Maintenance! Especially for Winter

Everyone is excited for the holidays come December, and, while, Southern California isn’t known for its distinct seasons, we tend to look forward to the colder weather as well. There is one part of the family that doesn’t always look forward to winter, however… your trusty car.

Once Halloween and Thanksgiving come around, the weather starts cooling down, and you should be paying a bit more attention to your car’s maintenance so that you are protected during the winter.

Keep the End Game in Mind

How long do you want your car to last? Most of us can’t easily afford to buy a new car when our old one starts showing signs of wear and tear. Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gas mileage, reduce pollution (did you get your smog check?), and catch minor problems before they become major disasters for you and your bank account.

Know Your Car

Have you been sticking to your car’s service schedule? If “What service schedule?” just went through your head, you may want to read through your owner’s manual to see what is recommended. You may have missed a lot of regular maintenance, which means your car might not be in as good a shape as you think it is.

Some people are more into cars than others, but it is important that we have at least a basic knowledge of how a car and its various parts work. You never know when this information will be useful. When you are familiar with your car, you can tell when something is off, whether it is how it sounds, how it accelerates, brakes, or steers. Can you tell if your car isn’t braking well because of your brake pads or your tires? You should be able to, for safety. Bald tires are no laughing matter.

Your Auto Holiday Checklist

Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Just because we have a more temperate climate in California, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take winter car maintenance seriously. To help you keep your car happy and functioning during the winter season, here are some tips:

  • Replace dirty filters to make your engine more efficient. A dirty engine burns more gasoline.
  • Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition.
  • If there is anything wrong with driveability or engine performance, get it repaired before driving in rain or snow. Remember that the most dangerous time to drive on the road is that first rain.
  • In below-freezing temperatures, add a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank full also helps prevent moisture formation.
  • Replace old wiper blades regularly and stock up on windshield washer fluid.
  • Change your oil and oil filter regularly, and more often if your driving routine involves frequent short trips or a lot of stop-and-go.
  • The cooling system should be flushed and refilled (even if you don’t plan on using it during the winter).
  • Have your battery checked. No one wants to be stuck in the rain with a dead battery.
  • Check and, if necessary, clean, or replace, all lights and bulbs.
  • Have your brakes checked. Just because you think they’re fine doesn’t mean they are.
  • Make sure the exhaust system is examined for leaks and problems while the vehicle is on a lift.
  • TIRES! Make sure the tread is in good shape and check tire pressure once a month.
  • Pay attention to the transmission. Have it checked regularly.
  • Always carry an emergency kit in your car: gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, tire chains, a flashlight and extra batteries, a cell phone and extra car charger, water, and some energy bars.

Does Auto Insurance Help If You Are a Victim of a Hit and Run Accident?

Unfortunately, the news about a hit and run is on the radar every so often. A pedestrian or a car driver is hit by a vehicle and the driver responsible for the accident speeds off without owning up to his actions by checking on the victims and providing his or her contact info to police.

What defines a hit and run accident?

A hit and run incident occurs when one driver crashes into a person or a car and intentionally drives on in order to avoid prosecution or accountability for resulting death, injury and/or damages.

Should you become victimized in a hit and run event, never pursue the fleeing car. You might find yourself in a road rage incident or the like. Leave the chasing to the cops who are trained in this type of thing. What you should do immediately following the crash is to alert the law enforcers.

For your best interest sake, gather as much information as you can about the event. This will help police catch the driver who collided into you. It will also add to the chances of your submitted insurance claim be processed to your advantage.

Here is what the insurance underwriters tell victims of hit and run accidents to do.

As said, the more information you gather about the case, the more chances of it ending to your benefit.

Tell authorities about facts by providing the following:

• The make and model of the other car or vehicle

• The license plate number of the other car

• How to get in touch with people who witnessed the accident

• The time and place when and where the accident occurred

• Images taken of your car immediately following the collision. (leftover paint of the other car on your vehicle will assist authorities in locating the other driver and pinning charges as it will help the insurance company determine a good outcome for your claim)

• Physician’s report about any injuries you or your passengers incurred as a result of the accident

If the driver who slammed into you and drove off without accepting liability is caught, you can submit an auto claim directly to his or her insurance company. But, should the other driver happen to be with insufficient insurance coverage or no coverage at all, you might want to resort to an attorney’s services.

Another avenue to pursue is your own insurance coverage. If the hit and run driver does not have proper insurance to cover your losses, you can file a claim with your insurance company. States differ in policy as far as the claims process goes, so you’ll have to do the research. Generally speaking, if you have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, you will be covered for medical bills and if you have uninsured motorist property damage insurance, you will be covered for related auto repair work.

Though there are various US states that do not cover you with these forms of insurance, they should cover you if you have personal injury protection coverage as well as medical payments insurance and collision coverage.

Of course, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable independent insurance agent that has experience in this type of claim, so make sure you hook up with a reliable source!

Mastering The Basics: How To Change The Oil And Oil Filter

Not all of us can be a master mechanic and perform every service our car needs, but knowing how to perform basic services to maintain your car both saves you money and improves safety. When you know how your car works, you are better equipped to assess issues and possibly fix them without feeling helpless. One of the most commonly performed at-home maintenance services and one of the most important things you can do to keep your car in good condition is changing the motor oil and oil filter. Doing this yourself is relatively inexpensive and easy.

Don't Ignore The Owner's Manual

If you've always wanted to learn how to change your car's oil and filter, this guide can help! Just remember to always reference your car's owner's manual for any vehicle-specific details. The mileage intervals when they need to be changed are listed in the owner's manual. Also in the owner's manual is the grade and amount of motor oil you'll need, as well as any requirements for the filter.

Necessary Equipment

Here's what you'll need to be an at-home mechanic, at least as far as the oil change is concerned:

  • Motor oil
  • Oil filter
  • Socket wrench
  • Oil filter wrench, in case you can't loosen it by hand
  • Funnel
  • Oil pan
  • Mat, newspaper, or big, flat piece of cardboard to catch any oil spills under the car
  • Cleaning rags

Step-by-Step

  1. Drain the old motor oil.
    • Start your car and let it run for a minute or two, or drive it around the block so the motor oil warms up, which will allow it drain out smoothly. After the warm up, park your car in the driveway or garage, ON LEVEL GROUND.
    • If your car is too low to the ground to slide under, you'll need to jack it up and place jack stands before you get under it (jack stands are a must!).
    • Prop up the hood and loosen the cap on the oil tank or else it won't drain well.
    • Place your spill mat or cardboard under the vehicle and slide on under with the oil pan.
    • Locate the drain plug.
    • Place the pan on top of newspaper / cardboard below and slightly ahead of the drain plug (the stream will release farther out when you first remove the drain plug).
    • Loosen the drain plug with the socket wrench, turning it counterclockwise, and then remove the plug slowly by hand and let the motor oil drain out. Caution: Oil may be hot.
    • Once the oil slows down to a drip, reinstall the drain plug and tighten it with the socket wrench (just a quarter turn clockwise should be sufficient).
  2. Replace the oil filter.
    • Keep the oil pan under the car and find the oil filter.
    • Loosen it with the filter wrench and remove by hand.
    • Before installing the new oil filter, apply a little motor oil to the new gasket to optimize the seal and prevent the gasket from cracking or sticking.
    • Install and tighten the new oil filter BY HAND.
  3. Add the new motor oil.
    • Remove the cap of the oil tank, and, using a funnel, pour the new motor oil into the tank in the amount dictated by the owner's manual. When finished, replace the oil cap and wipe away any spilled motor oil.
    • Start your engine and run it for a minute to allow the new motor oil to circulate thoroughly.
    • Time to check the oil level. Turn off the car and remove and wipe oil off the dipstick.
    • Insert and remove the dipstick and check that the oil level is correct. Assuming all is well, screw the cap back on and you're done!
  4. Clean up and recycle your motor oil.
    • Pour the old motor oil from the pan into a used oil container and put the old oil filter into a plastic bag.
    • You cannot throw your old oil into the trash. Take it to a auto supply store or a lube shop to recycle.
    • Write down the date you performed the oil change and the amount of miles the car had so you know when your next change is due.

And you're done!

Yelping Helps

When people go to a restaurant they visit for certain appealing aspects of the establishment. Some may find the food mediocre, but the ambiance brings you back. Some may also go for the food even though it's not their "scene". The physical ability to try a new place out usually depends on word-of-mouth, hoping that a friend may point out a new cool hangout. For those that don't have that source of direction they can use Yelp.

Yelp is an online mobile app, or website, that let's you scale the internet for business reviews. From a car mechanic to a small diner, there will be a yelp review for it. Yelping gives everybody who owns the application the chance for them to feel like a critic. This online review data base can offer you suggestions on places that you've been to before or places to even stay away from. Different categories of material can be reviewed as well. Say you did not like the food, but the scenery of the restaurant was on point, you can rank the details compared to the food. Yelp also gives the consumers a chance to send messages to the company themselves, in order to share their experience and ensure that the business will see the critique.

This on the other hand is making business owners very nervous. One customer with bad service can bring down your star rating and potentially stray other potential visitors away from the establishment. This is a good thing though. This gives the management not only an insight to how customers view their business but it also allows them to fix their mistakes in order to make the customers next visit go a little more smooth. Yelping has made it not only easier to figure out where you want to bring your business but it also doubles as a directional guide to whichever business you're trying to travel to. Yelp gives the user the ability to show the closest places using location tracking in order to give the user the closest option. The age of Yelp is here and it is here to stay. With millions of users nationwide it has become the new helpful guide to helping the everyday customer get the best bang for their buck. While helping businesses gain helpful feed back and potential business yelping is consistently helping the everyday user have not only their voices heard but a piece of mind.

What Is Auto Management?

Auto Management, also commonly called Automotive Management, is the management of services around vehicle management. Auto Management includes management for auto repair shops, car and truck dealers, rentals, body shops and more.

So, for a normal person, Auto Management is management of everything that has to do with cars, trucks and other vehicles.

This is a really wide area that covers a lot and is tailored for the automotive area, even though you would see it bringing up areas that are common to most other businesses. Examples of specific automotive areas are:

  • Used car dealer management
  • Franchise management
  • New car dealer management
  • Sales and finance management tailored to automotive industry
  • Car inventory management
  • Spare parts management
  • Dealership management
  • Customer management
  • Showroom management
  • Insurance management
  • Leasing management
  • Sales management
  • Repair and service management
  • Labor management

As you see in the list there are quite a few areas. For most areas you are able to find the same support and management regardless of what vehicle you are involved with, including cars, trucks, motorcycles and boats.

One way to understand what is needed you can just see what is needed to manage when you want to get a car (or any other vehicle).

You start by going to the car dealer. They will show you examples of cars in their showroom. The showroom is designed in a way so that they will be able to sell cars that are most interesting for them to sell easier. Some car companies require a higher visibility than others which is also important for the showroom design.

Once you have chosen a car model you will be able to tailor your new car according to your demands. All these extras are added in the system and a few months later you will receive the car.
Should you lease the car or buy it? If you buy it, do you need a loan for it?
While waiting for your car you might want to rent another car to have something to drive.

You receive your car and of course there are things you want to change. You might want to have some winter tires or other things from the car dealer. You will need insurance and might bring in extra insurance for towing service and free rentals if something happens.

After 6 months it is time for the first service. It includes having personnel being booked to take care of the car. You might have been in a small accident and need the body to be fixed and therefore need to hand it in to that specific area of ​​the car repair shop. This is continuous over a few years and you decide to sell the car. The car dealer makes you a deal to give you another car in exchange and you pay some extra money since the car is new.

The car dealer now has a used car they need to sell. This is another process but with a lot of similarities to sales of a new car.

To support these processes are different kinds of Auto Management Software (or Automotive Software). Different auto management software have different purposes and few include the whole area. There are different kind of auto management software to include support for the areas specified above, such as:

  • Dealer Management System (DMS)
  • CRM Software specific to the automotive industry
  • Inventory Management Software
  • Time Management Software
  • Lead Management Software
  • Finance Software
  • Sales Management Software
  • Warranty Submission System
  • Auction Management Software
  • Vehicle Showroom Management System

Dealer Management Systems usually covers several areas to make it possible to have less software included in the same workplace. This usually makes the working processes more efficient.

The area is so big that this article only covers a brief introduction of what areas to consider and what kind of auto management software that might be interesting to look further at.