Brad Tucker is President and CEO of Georgia Square Collision, but he describes his job as “doing whatever needs to be done.”
His duties are threefold, at the least: he sets the philosophy and strategic vision, provides marketing and growth support, and creates a working environment in which happy employees help satisfied customers. But he was also out cleaning up shop just last week.
A Businessman with a Body Shop
According to Brad, you don’t want him fixing your car. You want his people to do it.
Brad isn’t a body man who owns a body shop, he’s a businessman who owns a body shop. The difference has been truly effective for Georgia Square Collision, because it’s both enabled and required Brad to step back from the day to day management. Unlike his former positions at the Nissan, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz of Athens and Georgia Square Auto Center dealerships, he can’t micromanage: he’s had to hire the top people, and he’s not constantly looking over their shoulders.
Not only is it more fun that way, but Brad understands that good partnerships have good people with understood roles. One looks to the future, and the other makes sure the train runs on time. Brad focuses on what the industry is going to look like 5, 10 years from now, and figures out how to position the business to be effective in that environment. This is an acquired skill: “A strength I’ve developed as I’ve gotten older is the ability to let go and have trust in our team members. It makes them happier, and it makes me happier.”
Visibility and Value
Brad has always been comfortable making connections, finding pain points, and proposing solutions. The two primary goals in his networking philosophy are visibility and value. He wants people to know that if they need help, he can help. And for Brad, meeting people is not about announcing himself; he recognizes that if he’s not adding value, he’s wasting everyone’s time. Luckily, if you add enough value, you tend to be recognized as an expert, and that has great value in the car business. He believes in showing his worth up front so that people will one day have his work in mind.
Once upon a time you did business because people had faith in you to solve their problems or address their needs. Success was based on a company’s reputation in the community. With mass advertising, word of mouth became less necessary, but with the advent of the web and social media, marketing has come full circle. Instead of talking to someone at the coffee shop, it’s a world wide coffee shop.
If you want to have a good online reputation, have happy customers. You cannot game online reputation management. The only way to do it is to take care of your customers.
Direction Through Passion
Above all, Brad describes himself as passionate. He loves music, and he describes the music culture in Athens as astonishing: you can experience Hodgson Hall and the 40 Watt Club within 5 miles.
Brad has been a car guy since he was four years old. And he’s passionate about business like he’s passionate about cars. He’s constantly learning and constantly fascinated, gaining skills today that he’d never heard of 3-4 years ago.
But of all the things he cares about, Brad is most passionate about his wife Vera. There is not a thing he’d rather do than be a part of that partnership. “If she ever said me or the business, I’d be out of the body shop business as fast as I could exit. She’s always been a sounding board, and her levels of business sense and common sense are extraordinary. I would not be where I am as a business owner if not for following her advice over the years.”