All in the family

Smith Software Development has only been in the marine industry for five years. But the family-run business is taking boating seriously.
The company, for instance, has already been touched with the Grow Boating spirit. It sees a lot of room for improvement among boat dealers. And it wants to help its 800-plus marine users reach their potential.
While boat dealers aren’t the most sophisticated businesspeople out there, “they’re great people, they know the marine industry and they sure appreciate it when you help them,” says Nannette Smith, VP of operations.
And help them is exactly what Smith is looking to do with the new Board Groups the company is forming. Patterned after 20 Groups, these groups of 15 dealership customers will visit the company’s base of operations in Birmingham, Ala., to not only receive training on Smith Software’s products, but share best practices and receive business consultation.
“Dealers are afraid someone might find out a secret they have,” she says. “But what works for one person usually works for another. They need to get with other dealers.” Through Smith Software’s Board Groups, they’ll be able to do that without the risk of sharing their best practices with a competitor, she adds.
Smith was raised in one family business and married into another, and that background has helped her better understand boat dealers’ needs. In addition, she has spent a lot of time over the past five years at the company’s dealer test centers: Airport Marine Inc., Alabaster, Ala. (also Smith Software’s first marine customer); Twin Cove Marine, Jacksboro, Tenn.; and The Boat Rack, Sherrill Ford, N.C.
It doesn’t hurt that she’s an avid boater. “My family lived with one leg in the water” when she was growing up, Smith says, and she has passed on that passion to the family she’s created with her husband.
That perspective has turned her into one of dealership certification’s biggest supporters. In fact, the company offers to help its customers become certified. Oftentimes, she explains, a lot of progress can be made by simply better using the features offered within their Smith Software dealership management package.
“Boating has to be promoted as a way of life,” Smith says. “If someone catches the boating bug, they are hooked for life. Hopefully, the dealers will catch on that this is what will keep them in business.” — LIZ WALZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *