At the Helm: Your New Year’s resolution

Jonathan Sweet

At a certain point in life, most people stop making New Year’s resolutions.

The old “I’m going to lose weight/stop smoking/exercise more” tend to lose their charm, especially as they fall apart sometime before February 1.

Even with that in mind, I’m going to urge you to make a New Year’s resolution for your business – and that’s one of being positive.

Let’s face it. It has been difficult to be positive as a business owner the last several years as the economy went through – for our lifetimes, at least – unprecedented turmoil. And whether it’s because of the constant drumbeat of negative news from the 24-hour talking heads or the online echo chamber of partisan websites, we’re all convinced everything is pretty much lousy. If Ebola doesn’t kill us, it’ll be ISIS or Obamacare or global warming or cooling or …

So let’s all take a breath.

In this issue, you’ll find our annual look at the year ahead in the industry. And it’s an outlook with a markedly different feel. That difference is reflected in the deck for the article – “From optimism to confidence.” It’s a key difference, one of hope that things are getting better to a certainty they are.

For the last several years, taking a look at the future of the industry was all about that “hope” that things were going to get better. For the first time in years, our discussions with industry leaders as we put together this issue were different. It seems many finally feel we’ve turned a corner, that the sales gains of the last few years aren’t a mirage, that we’re on the road to recovery.

Is it the glory days again? Of course not. But if we take a minute to stop and look, things are actually pretty good. There are a lot of economic indicators to be happy about these days from robust job growth to low gas prices to rising home prices.

I’m not ignoring the many challenges facing the industry: a weaker global economy that could pull us down, the many demographic challenges, the ethanol issue, to name a few.

But that brings me back to my original point. As the owners and leaders of your business, you set the tone for your entire team. If you obsess about the negative, they’re going to as well. A constant drumbeat of pessimism feeds pessimism. This year, take a little time to emphasize the positive.

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By the way, if you’re looking to get an early start, the 2015 Top 100 application is now available online at You know how every year you say you shouldn’t wait until June to work on it? Make that your resolution, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Boating Industry team if you have any questions.


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