Coffee and Car Mechanics

by Sarah PhippsFebruary 9, 2024

Sitting in the auto mechanic's waiting room, I spy a coffee station against the back wall. Figuring that I’ll be waiting a few moments, I decide to grab a cup. Before I even get up, I already knew what kind of quality coffee was sitting in that pot. It was going to taste some level of burnt, be extremely weak, and make me question if they just watered down some used motor oil. But I also know why it’s going to be so bad: I’m in an auto mechanic shop.

I don’t expect auto mechanics to be good at making coffee; I expect them to be good at fixing cars. If I want a good coffee, I’ll go to a cafe; because that is what they specialize in. Mechanics don’t have the proper equipment or training on how to make a stellar beverage; that’s not their area of expertise. The same applies to cafes; they are not equipped to read my vehicle codes or give it a tune up. Businesses are amazing at what they do because they have the proper training and equipment to get the job done. It is also their purpose.

I've seen many businesses in my career that are phenomenal at making their widget or providing their service, but they suck at designing a logo. Because that isn't what they specialize in. Does every small business owner balance the books every week, or write and publish the company e-newsletter, or make the bread for the sandwiches, or any other multitude of activities not within their station? The answer is: no. They succeed by doing what they do best and hire people to fulfill those roles to make it all work. It comes down to what do you want to specialize in, what do you need to make those roles operate at their best, and what don't you need at all. Knowing your weaknesses is your greatest strength.

I've worn many hats for my company, but I know when I'm wasting more of my time to accomplish a task that I don't know how to do properly. I'll hire a financial advisor when I need help with my business expenses. I'll hire a marketing pro when I want to expand my company's reach. I'll hire a printer to produce new business cards. Because I know where my strengths are. I’m amazing at very specific things and I'm OK with not being able to do everything. Business owners and operators need to focus on what THEY are good at and know when it's time to hire a professional.

Everyone seems to have a nephew that took a Photoshop class in high school. Or that friend of a friend, Carla, that got really into using Canva for every newsletter and birthday card opportunity. Which is great if you want something free/cheap, but the quality might not be up to par for a business. And it will show. Your visual brand will suffer if you don't put in the money that is required to present your business in the best possible manner. That's just a fact.

I've spent many hours "fixing" or "updating" everything that nephew of yours designed. Quite frankly, he needs to pursue a different career path. He's not good at this. And that's OK. Hire a professional because it's a worthy investment to your company. Because it is so much more than just how everything looks. There is a reason for color selections, font uses, photo collections, and every facet behind a brand. Your nephew isn't aware of your market competition, is he? Does Carla know the correct file output for printing in full color? Short answer, no.

And buy your coffee from people that know what they are doing.