The Success Triangle

Knowledge, action and systems can be the difference in enjoying a successful profitable business in a really fun industry.

Tom Tyrant, the Dealer Principal of Re-Active Cycles, is struggling again. No matter how hard he works he just gets further and further behind. He comes in early and stays late, but there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete all of the duties and responsibilities required to run a successful powersports dealership. Writing service R.O.s, selling parts, desking deals, not to mention the mountain of bills that need to be paid. And now his lead tech has given him the ultimatum. … pay me more or I’m going to work for the competition that will. Sales are off, cash it tight and Tom is beginning to feel helpless.

On the other side of town, Steve Systems, the general manager of Pro-Active Cycles, is rocking right along. No, it’s not easy, but he sure does make it look like it is. He doesn’t write service tickets, sell parts, pay the bills and rarely desks a deal. That’s because Steve’s dealer principal has systems that run the business, and Steve and his team are held accountable to run those systems. Steve’s D.P. is not actively involved in the day-to-day, he only works on his business not in his business. In fact Steve’s D.P. just returned from a plush business trip where he and other business professionals met (in a nice resort) and compared notes and best practices on how to improve dealership performance. According to a presenter at that seminar, a study was performed of over 250 successful business owners to determine the common threads which allowed these companies to be so successful. Much to the surprise of many, it wasn’t their background, number of years in business, formal education or how much money they had, it was in fact, what is referred to as the "Success Triangle". The bottom of the triangle is knowledge. The left side of the triangle is systems, and the right side of the triangle is action. Let’s take a closer look at each.


Knowledge is put at the bottom of the Success Triangle because it is the base or the foundation. It’s knowledge that allows business owners to have the confidence to move forward and take the appropriate action. In fact, Pro-Active Cycles has been in existence for less than half of the time of Re-Active Cycles, yet runs like a well-oiled machine compared to Re-Active Cycles, which will basically have to shut the doors if something were to happen to Tom. Not only does the often-absent D.P. of Pro-Active Cycles invest in practical industry-specific education for himself but he also invests in training for his entire team. This training provides knowledge, which gives Pro-Active team members more confidence and a much better shot at success right out of the gate. This training is not free, but Pro-Active Cycles feels that the cost of knowledge is really an investment as opposed to an expense.


Systems are on the left side of the Success Triangle and are what produce long-term consistent results. The presenter referenced the best-selling classic book called The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber where system is defined as "a set of things, actions, ideas, and information that interact with each other and in so doing alter other systems." The example of systems in business that is often used is McDonald’s. That’s because McDonald’s produces a consistent product and service with profitable results all over the world. At Pro-Active Cycles each department has a marketing system, a selling system, inventory control system, and many, many more key systems that they are interdependent on one another. All of these systems together make for a very systematic operation. At Re-Active Cycles Tom is the system!


Action is on the right side of the Success Triangle and is what’s up to you right now! In fact the presenter said that in this study of over 250 successful business owners that one key common denominator was the speed of implementation. In other words, how long does it take from the time you gain the education or knowledge to the time in which you put that knowledge into action. The presenter then referenced this as the "ready, fire, aim" approach. Many people take the time to gain the knowledge but unfortunately never put the knowledge into action. Sometimes, however, the ready, fire, aim approach can create mistakes and or inefficiencies. It seems that successful business all make mistakes but what makes them different is they learn from those mistakes, take action and put systems into place to ensure those mistakes are not made over and over again.

Who Are You?

Is your store a Pro-Active Cycles or a Re-Active Cycles? Consider the power of the Success Triangle in your dealership, as knowledge, action and systems can be the difference in enjoying a successful profitable business in a really fun industry … or burning out in a retail business that is so overwhelming you can’t see the forest for the trees!

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