At the Helm: Elevate your new year

By David Gee

“What the new year brings to you depends a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

I don’t know who said that, but I like it. I like lots of quotes. Especially at this time of year. If you could see my office as I am writing this, you would notice all kinds of post-it notes and stray pieces of paper with random quotes scrawled on them. My conversations often include a quote, as do my stories in this magazine.

Do you have any favorite quotes? Words to live by? Sayings that you go back to repeatedly? If you do, we’d love to hear them. Maybe we’ll share some of them with other readers.

I love it when you share your stories of success – and even failure – whenever and wherever we engage with you; at trade shows, boat shows, through the Top 100 awards application, at the Top 100 gala celebration or via an email or phone call.

I think we have a lot to learn from each other, no matter our place in the recreational boating industry landscape.

Our first-ever Elevate Summit conference in Orlando certainly afforded the opportunity to meet many of you, and learn more about your businesses, whether that be a dealer, OEM, aftermarket product company or service provider.

As a non-entrepreneur, I am always particularly fascinated by how business owners got their start, and to hear stories of the journey through the years.

There is one common thread that runs through many of those disparate stories, and that is that success usually didn’t come through any secret sauce and there wasn’t much magic or mystery to it. You just worked your tails off, paid your bills, and your employees, plowed your profits (when you had them!) back into the business, and tried to be a little bigger next year than you are today. Rinse and repeat.

Of course, timing and luck and serendipity and the perfect product at just the right time can also figure into this equation. And the willingness to work hard and take risks is not a guarantee of success, as the dramatic downturn a little over a decade ago demonstrated.

Still, I am impressed with your grit. A boat is about as discretionary of a purchase there is, and making them, selling them, servicing them, etc., is hard work. Fun for sure on lots of days, but not easy.

Finally, since I opened with a quote, why not end on one? This is from Alan Cohen, the author of 27 inspirational books with some good advice for the new year, or any time of the year.

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the  conditions perfect.”

Cheers! May everybody’s boat float in 2020. 

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