CarToon Complete Auto Service Inc., a $250,000 garage in Durham, N.C., can't compare in size with national chains, but chief executive Jerry Hiester does something the big guys don't. He includes the shop manager -- a working mechanic himself -- on his company's board of directors.
Having Don Anderson, the hands-on manager, at board meetings has helped the five-person company steer clear of overly ambitious plans. "We thought about expanding into transmission services -- a high-ticket item -- but Don pointed out that we just don't have enough hands and equipment," explains Hiester. "So we're going to stick to what we're good at."
Anderson holds the same voting rights as the rest of the board, which also includes Hiester's equity partner, lawyer, and CPA. "The others are all there in suits and ties, and they listen," says Hiester. "It makes Don feel better about his job."