Ask any shop owner what is your most valuable asset? These are typical answers: employees, equipment, knowledge, real estate, integrity, processes, and more. If I wanted to be difficult, I’d stop now and place a link to a page that has the answer. But I’m not, so I’ll break the suspense…
The most valuable asset a business has… drum roll… are your customers.
You can survive the loss of any business asset except your customers. Every asset you have but one can be replaced. You would be inconvenienced and possibly lose a lot of money. But, with your customer list intact, overnight you could start over again.
When I sold my shop the real estate was valuable, but the other tangible assets were pretty much worth next to nothing. The low value of used equipment is depressing. The inventory was sold for a song.
And the employees, although they’re still friends, I couldn’t sell them to anyone!
However, my customer list continued to provide income for several years after I closed the shop.
The distinguishing difference between the customer list, when viewed as an asset, and all the balance sheet assets is the customers provide income. Equipment and inventory cost money and depreciate, but are cheap to replace.
So if the customer is the most valuable asset, why do most shop owners fixate on how well they can fix a car? They should be figuring out how to build a business that’s focused on the customer and provide services the consumer wants to buy.