Shop Life Columnists

Standing Out in the Crowd

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leadership tactics

In my view, business owners are impressive. The risk, responsibility, and hard work that it takes to manage daily challenges and maintain the livelihoods of employees is a lot to handle, whether you’re in a franchise or independent business.

I’ve heard stories from operators about the startup period in quick lubes. It’s that period of maybe 12 to 18 months after first opening when you and your customers are getting to know each other. I don’t have to tell you how difficult that time can be.

What about launching a shop just before a global pandemic? What if supply chain disruptions and labor shortages got mixed in as well? That might make for a long 18 months.

Thankfully for the people of Jonesboro, La., their local quick lube has operators who are up to the challenge. This month’s profile (and cover photo) features Melissa Vail, who co-owns the shop along with her husband, Richie. The pair had a startup period that’s about as tough as they come.

What really impressed me in that story was how Melissa stepped into her role as the day-to-day operations expert. She came into the industry with plans to help out on more of an as-needed basis. But when COVID-19 changed up their plans and Richie had to find additional work, Melissa found herself at the shop, learning the operation from top to bottom.

The Vails strike me as the kind of owners who simply get things done. There are few better examples of an ability to handle risk, responsibility, and hard work. Read the rest of their story inside the magazine.

Our cover story this month puts forth five ideas to think about related to your leadership. Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned veteran, you should be thinking about ways to improve your leadership style all the time. I had a great time talking to Chad Weisbeck about this. He’s a Jiffy Lube operator based in South Carolina (Jiffy Lube’s 2021 franchise of the year to boot), and he told me about lessons that he learned as a young manager in the ‘90s. He also told me about lessons that he’d just learned in recent months, and that shows a responsive growth mindset that operators should have. He had more good advice than I could fit into an article, but I suggest that you start with our five suggestions.

I’ll highlight another story, which is an SEO guide for the modern website. It was a bit of a surprise to me to learn just how intensive search engine optimization can be. It used to be making sure that a website had all the keywords necessary to catch the eye of a search engine. That’s an antiquated view, because the search engine of today (mostly Google) is highly evolved to weed out low-quality results. That’s news you can use.

Finally, I’d just like to welcome all you readers to a brand new year. We all had fun in 2021, right? However it went for you, I hope that this coming year tops them all—and that NOLN can in some way help you toward that goal.


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