As we finish up the Top 100 Dealer evaluation process this week, I find myself inspired. 2009 was one of the worst years on record for our industry, and yet the leaders within the marine dealer body managed to do so much more than survive last year. In reviewing the applications, we found the majority were not only profitable, but they also made big leaps forward in improving their businesses.
They joined 20 Groups, adopted new software systems, redesigned their websites, renovated their buildings, improved their processes, fine tuned their inventory management strategies, boosted their CSI scores and their technicians’ efficiency, found numerous, creative ways to save their dealership money and much, much more.
Despite the many painful decisions that were made in adjusting to this downturn, most of the businesses that are left are better for having endured it. That’s the most inspiring part for me. While it wasn’t easy to get where we are today – and the road ahead may have its share of bumps and turns – we are a stronger industry now than we were just a few years ago.
Having read about how the leading dealers faced 2009, I’m excited to learn more about their journey this year. In fact, that’s one of the things I enjoy most about the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo: listening to dealers share their strategies for navigating today’s new market.
That’s the idea behind the MDCE Best Ideas program. Like the Top 100 Dealers program, it’s designed to encourage dealers to learn from other dealers. And applications have already begun flowing in.
Last year, many MDCE attendees adopted the Best Ideas presented during the conference, and this year’s Best Ideas will undoubtedly inspire attendees as well. It’s the kind of program that works best when you not only take from it, you also give. So, please, send in your Best Idea.