Each year, the Top 100 Dealers application changes ever so slightly. Our editorial team, the foursome behind creating this elite list of dealers, learns a lot through the application process, and we spend a great deal of time implementing what we learn. For instance, we learn new, better ways to ask questions on the application; we eliminate questions that don’t allow dealers to differentiate themselves; and we find new topics to explore in an effort to help us better understand the inner workings of each business that applies.
In many ways, the program and the application are following in the footsteps of the dealers who really make the program what it is. It is truly these dealers who inspire us to improve.
There are countless examples of their inspiration throughout the applications, and we seek to share as many of them as we can through the pages of this magazine, the best practices portal at Boating-Industry.com and the recently launched best practices e-newsletter. But I can tell you from months and months of time spent inside the pages of these lengthy documents that there’s no single answer that is as inspiring as question No. 20 in section 1 of this year’s application: What did you do in 2007 to improve your business?
These days, when unit sales are falling and dollar sales forecasts are met only at the expense of margins, survival can be tough enough. Improvement is even more difficult, and inspiration seems the furthest thing from possible. Yet these dealers who focus on getting better not only persevere, they set themselves even further ahead of their competition by creating a culture of excellence.
It has been said that bad habits are formed during the good times and that good habits are formed during the tough times. There’s no doubt that success has been difficult to come by these days. The question is, are you striving for it or are you merely hoping to survive?
I’m hopeful that you’ll find the inspiration to improve this year. For you. And your customers. As they say about marketing, now is not the time to skimp on improvement opportunities. You want to come out of this slowdown stronger than you were when the industry fell into it.
I’m also hopeful that we can help you with that. For starters, if you’re not already receiving our best practices newsletter, you should sign up immediately. What better way to learn what works than to see what your peers are up to? Click the “Subscribe to Enews” button at www.Boating-Industry.com. Second, that newsletter can connect you to our Best Practices Portal, which houses hundreds of best practices at the click of your mouse. Third, if you haven’t seen it, download the free e-white paper titled “How to Thrive in a Down Market” by searching for “white paper” at www.Boating-Industry.com.
And finally, we just launched the 2008 version of the Top 100 Dealers application. You can download it underneath the logo on our Web site.
I challenge you to inspire us with