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Manage the Risks, Leverage the Opportunities in Volatile Times


Gregory Clarke on April 6, 2009 in Advice for Business Owners

It’s a perfect storm out there—declining car sales, fluctuating exchange rates and shifting consumer preferences. Many auto dealers are wondering how to ride out the tough times and come out ahead. As the pressures mount, some auto dealers are resorting to extreme measures to stay afloat. But before you proceed with any drastic efforts, you should make sure that you are taking advantage of opportunities you may not know about, and protecting yourself from unanticipated risks.

During uncertain times, a realistic and solid action plan can lead you towards a more secure and profitable future. You need to control the things you can, in order to manage the crises you don’t expect. With MORE Auto Dealerships™, a new program available to members of the Ontario Auto Deals Association (OADA), you get a plan that will help you manage opportunities and reduce exposure.

The MORE Auto Dealerships™ program grew out of a strategic partnership between the OADA and SB Partners LLP, a full-service CA firm in Burlington. MORE Auto Dealerships™ is a proprietary tool customized specifically for auto dealers based on the generic MORE™ program that SB Partners has successfully provided to many clients over the last eight years. The original MORE™ program is a diagnostic tool developed by SB Partners that helps companies understand the opportunities and risks facing their business and provides a corrective action plan that is tailored to the business and its owner.

MORE Auto Dealerships™ examines a broad array of processes and issues: taxation, risk management, business development, operations, business succession planning, finance, personal financial planning, and technology.

What can you expect once you undertake the MORE Auto Dealerships™ process? Consider these four R’s:

Resilience: Having a solid overall plan for your dealership will help you be resilient in a shifting economy. Over the last six months, SB Partners’ Automotive Practice Group has customized the MORE™ program in response to the pressures facing auto dealers. With its strong specialty in the auto industry, and a history of local auto industry experience, SB Partners tuned the MORE™ program to meet the changing needs of Ontario’s auto dealers.

Risk reduction: The MORE Auto Dealerships™ program focuses on identifying missed opportunities and reducing exposure for auto dealers through a 140-question interview platform that delves into your business to identify the unknown. This is the critical part—the unknown can have devastating effects. Times of uncertainty need leadership and management. This is when knowledge is your greatest asset. Managing and mitigating risk will help you thrive in today’s economic environment.

Reassurance: There is no easy answer to the current unprecedented economic times. Once you complete the MORE Auto Dealerships™ process, however, you’ll have reassurance that your business processes can carry you through the tough times. Now more than ever, it is essential that you work with your partners to achieve success. The marketplace today is filled with high degrees of complexity, uncertainty, compliance requirements, and risk. You can’t be expected to know everything—but you are accountable. Work with your key advisors as partners to ensure you are on the right path. Your accountant, lawyer, banker and investment advisors are professionals who are there to help you.

Results: The MORE Auto Dealerships™ broad-based approach allows the experts at SB Partners to develop an overall action plan for the dealership. Many auto dealers tend to focus on individual issues like taxation and operations, but neglect to take an integrated approach to connecting all of the areas of their business with their own personal finances. A strategic approach means you’ll be covering all the bases in challenging times, and gearing up for future success.

By working with your professional advisors, and taking a critical look at your business, you can develop a framework and process to identify your missed opportunities and areas of exposure. A holistic strategy like this can help a dealership excel. Your final MORE Auto Dealerships™ report outlines the issues and provides a road map that you and your advisors can follow to reach your goal.

SB Partners’ years of experience in serving auto dealers, combined with our MORE Auto Dealerships™ program, gives you a powerful toolkit to manage in today’s difficult times. Whether you are looking for a clear action plan to make it through the current storm of economic uncertainty, or a road map to a prosperous future, MORE Auto Dealerships™ will help you manage your opportunities and reduce your risk. Visit www.sbpartners.ca to start the process today.