If someone were to ask, you would invest $5,000 with a chance to earn $500,000; I believe most people would likely say yes! This same concept applies to discovering the power of a 20 Group.  For a modest investment you can dramatically improve the performance and the profitability of your business.  If you are currently in a 20 Group, you already understand this.  If you are not in a 20 Group, you should explore this analogy further.

20 Groups are a time tested format that have delivered huge results for participating dealers.  NIADA statistics show that dealers who participate in a 20 Group have increased profitability by as much as 25% in the first 3 years of being a member.  A 20 Group can be described as a business networking group.  Participating members in the Group discuss real life business challenges, they exchange ideas and share best practices with the other dealers in the Group.  Since there are no geographical competitors in a Group, members are free to share information openly.  One of the primary objectives of a 20 Group is to help all members in the Group improve operational efficiency, and increase profitability.

Time Tested Results

20 Groups have been around for more than 50 years, but many dealers have yet to discover the power of a 20 Group.  An informal survey of dealers revealed the most common reason for not joining a 20 Group is the belief that the cost of participating in a 20 Group is an expense rather than an investment.  Believing that membership in a 20 Group as an investment in yourself and your business is a core principal to understanding the value of a 20 Group.   Survey results also revealed that many dealers are just “to busy” to participate in a 20 Group.  There is no question that operating your own business takes long hours and hard work. However, 20 Group members understand that taking a time out to work on your business, instead of just working in your business provides a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a chance to network with other dealers facing the same day to day challenges.  Having said that, participating in a 20 Group requires a genuine commitment by each member in the Group.  Their commitment is to attend scheduled meetings, submit monthly business results on time, and to report your business results accurately.

Members in typical 20 Group are made up of dealers of similar size from across the country.  This provides members with a wide range of demographics and experience to network with and compare business results.  A typical 20 Group meeting with feature a Best Idea Contest, where each member comes to the meeting and presents an idea that has resulted in measurable improvement in a key area of the business such as sales, gross profit, expense reduction, improved collections or other.  At a minimum, each member comes to the meeting with one idea, and leaves the meeting with 10 to 20 ideas that can be used to improve different areas of their business.  It is not uncommon for The Best Idea Contest to produce ideas that have delivered millions of dollars in profitability or expense reduction to other 20 Group members!

Another feature of a 20 Group meeting is the interactive discussions on specific topics or “hot topics” the members participate in. This format provides dealers with an open forum to discuss key issues that impact their business such as compliance, regulations, economic trends, market conditions, advances in technology, social media, internet, and other industry developments.  These conversations often extend well past the discussion period and carry over into the Group dinner at the end of the day.  The Group dinner also provides members with an opportunity to network together or have individual conversations with specific members. Over time many members develop new business relationships and long term friendships.

The Power of Business Analysis

One of the most important segments of a 20 Group meeting is a review of the composite.  The composite reflects the consolidated business results for each member. Members in the Group have an opportunity to analyze and compare business results with the other members in the Group. Knowing how your business is performing compared to other dealers of similar size is an invaluable exercise to go through.   In addition to comparing business results to other dealers in the Group, the composite provides Benchmark Averages to compare business results on an industry wide scale.

The composite analysis also provides an opportunity for each member to get feedback on their business results from the other members.  If your business is struggling in a certain area, the other members can evaluate your results and offer advice and experience on how to improve.  In this capacity, the other members act as a “board of directors” to provide an objective and straight forward evaluation of your business.  How valuable would that feedback be!

Dealers that participate in a 20 Group frequently say that joining a 20 Group “is one of the best business decisions I have ever made”.   Given the format of a 20 Group meeting and the tremendous opportunity for business analysis, comparison, discussion, exchange of ideas, experience, best practices and results, I often wonder why any dealer would find a reason not to be in a 20 Group.

20 Group Options

These programs are available in a wide range of formats including 20 Groups for retail dealers, BHPH dealers, LHPH dealers, controllers, fixed operations, large dealers, small dealers, experienced dealers and inexperienced dealers.

In my experience as a 20 Group moderator I have come to understand that every member in the Group has something to learn, and every member has something to contribute.  The true value of a 20 Group comes from the combined knowledge, experience and participation from each of the members.

In closing, the time and cost of participating in a 20 Group should be viewed as an investment in yourself and an investment in your business, not as an expense.  Dealers participating in a 20 Group have improved business results and increased profitability in excess of 25% in the first 3 years of being a member.  If you truly want to take your business to the next level, the best formula for success is to discover the POWER of a 20 Group.

By:  Mark Dubois
NIADA 20 Group Moderator and Consultant
phone:  941-203-3583