Yesterday, I happened on a thoughtful column on retail trends written by West Marine Executive Vice President Bruce Edwards for Sail America’s newsletter, Waypoints. While he shared a range of economic indicators and other statistics that paint a mixed outlook for the retail community and the boating industry, Edwards ultimately predicted that we will “see more of what we have witnessed in 2010 continue into 2011.”
That seems to be the sentiment among most of you as well. Many marine dealers are planning for 2011 as if economic conditions will stay the same. So, while I’m sure we’d all rather hear that the retail sector will be booming next year, it’s good news that the industry is on the same page as far as its expectations for the economy are concerned.
But what I appreciated most about the article was its closing, where Edwards wrote of the opportunity we have “to continue to grow our businesses and our industry, by listening carefully to what our customers are asking for and delivering it to them.”
That “opportunity” is sometimes hard to see when so much of the focus in the mainstream media is on the sluggish recovery and whether it will stall. But your team’s ability to see it and ultimately grab it will determine whether your business can outperform the industry.
That was illustrated for me when I made the calls to our 2010 Top 100 Dealers this year. So many of them spoke excitedly of all the new developments they couldn’t wait to share with us in their 2011 applications. And a few used words like “record-breaking” and “best year yet” to describe 2010 – a year for boat sales that, when all is said and done, probably won’t be much better than 2009.
The difference? Attitude. If your team has been trained to look for opportunity, they will find it. And if you train them to expect more of the same, that’s what they’ll deliver.
We’d like to hear from you. What is your outlook for 2011? What opportunities do you see on the horizon? And how are you setting up your business to take advantage of them?