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Investing in you

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

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

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

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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Is 2014 the year your best employees set sail?

Most companies have had it pretty easy the last several years in managing employee turnover and keeping the team happy.With a recession that made employment conditions tough and an industry depression that made the situation downright desperate, most people have been happy simply to have a job.Too many companies have taken advantage of this to see just how much they ...

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Getting retail right

I was recently reminded of what a critical role the retail experience plays in how a brand is perceived and how hard it is to get it right. Over the holidays, I was surprised and delighted to receive two very generous presents: a 48-GB Kindle Fire HDX and a 16-GB iPad Air. Either tablet would have been an awesome gift ...

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How NOT to compete on price

During the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, there was one phrase from branding expert David Avrin that really stuck with me. “If you’re being hammered on price,” he said, “your customer doesn’t see a big difference between you and your competitors.” That’s never something you want to hear. Some of us may say to ourselves, “I need to train my ...

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At the Helm: Looking forward in 2014

We take a look at the 2014 industry forecast in this issue and it’s one that points to another year of growth. From industry leaders to the readers of Boating Industry, the industry seems optimistic about what this year holds. With most economists predicting overall growth in GDP this year, steady increases in the housing market and a slowly recovering ...

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Saluting the industry’s best

There’s probably no better sign of the industry’s recovery than this year’s Top 100 competition. Not only were applications up by more than 15 percent from 2012, the quality was through the roof. We were constantly wowed during the judging by the accomplishments of our industry. We’ve called out several stats about the Top 100 individually and as a group ...

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At the Helm: The Millennial wave

We spend a lot of time in the marine industry talking about reaching that next wave of younger customers. Just as important, though, as preparing for them outside your company is preparing for them inside. Whether you call them Millennials, Echo Boomers or Generation Y, this generation of employees represents an unprecedented shift in the makeup of the workforce. There ...

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