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At the Helm: From fear to hope

Jonathan Sweet

The Movers & Shakers, profiled in this issue, represents just how far we’ve come as an industry in the last two years. While putting together this year’s issue, I took a look back at the 2012 Movers & Shakers – my first year working on the program – and it brought home just how much the climate has changed in ...

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Where the rubber meets the road

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It happens to all of us. You’re sitting at your desk. Your to-do list is like a wave towering over you, getting bigger with each passing moment. And on your desk is a notebook full of good ideas. Those ideas could have come from any number of places. Maybe you belong to a 20 Group, read a business book now ...

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Dealership déjà vu

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It feels like just yesterday that we were using the words, “technician shortage” to describe one of our industry’s biggest challenges. Well, here we are again. The phones at the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas have increasingly been ringing with dealers struggling to find qualified candidates to fill openings in their service departments. Regardless of what position you’re hiring ...

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At the Helm: Investing in your business at MDCE

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Inserted in the current issue of Boating Industry you’ll find your first taste of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo with the preshow brochure. It includes information on our full lineup of speakers and all of the exciting improvements we’ve made to this year’s MDCE, which will be Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. MDCE is ...

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At the Helm: Taking action to grow boating

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For years, the boating industry has been talking about the need to reach new audiences beyond the core customers of white male baby boomers. The good news is that now there is finally some action to go beyond the talk. Some recent moves that caught my eye illustrate that trend. A new task force focused on improving diversity is taking ...

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The human equation

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I know that being a boat dealer isn’t easy. But in March, I gained a little more insight into just how tough it can be. That wake-up call took place during the Spader Total Management 1 workshop, where we took a deep dive into price vs. gross margin, key expense ratios, seasonal trends, inventory management, pay plans, plateaus, and the ...

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Investing in you

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I have a confession to make. I grew up discriminating against salespeople. Our family consisted of health care workers, engineers and scientists, so it was easy to throw salespeople under the bus. I didn’t know any. And the movies, books and television shows that featured them weren’t very kind. Salespeople were always trying to sell you something you didn’t need ...

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At the Helm: 10 years of the Top 100

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Back in 2005, Boating Industry started the Top 100 with a goal of elevating the industry. From the beginning the program has been not only about recognizing the top dealers in North America, but also sharing their best practices with other dealerships. While the industry has changed drastically changed since then, the goals of the program have not. We’ve made ...

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At the Helm: Bringing the fun back

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It wasn’t intended that way, but as we were wrapping up this issue I realized there was a bit of a theme going. Whether it’s in senior editor Tom Kaiser’s look at the latest pontoon trends, managing editor Liz Keener’s article on crafting a marketing plan or my piece on creating new profit centers, there’s a lot this month on ...

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A story to live by

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A few weeks ago, if you had suggested that the L.L.Bean story contains a wealth of lessons for our industry, I would have been skeptical. I can probably list more ways in which L.L.Bean is different from the average marine dealer than they are the same. But when I received “L.L.Bean: The Making of an American Icon” and began reading ...

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