Editorial – July 2022

What It Means To Be A Volunteer.
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the July 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  We are so fortunate to be involved in a recreation that attracts some of the most adventurous, kind, considerate, intelligent, and generous people on the planet.  I have been a water sports person all my life and it has brought me great joy and appreciation.  Appreciation for a healthy environment.  Appreciation for our plant and animal population.  And yes, appreciation for the enviro-friendly recreation businesses I deal with on a daily basis. 

As a lifelong scuba diver, I know that, as a group, we are an adventurous lot.  That’s a given.  You have to have an adventurous streak in you, in order to put on life support equipment and enter a strange and sometimes hostile environment we know very little about.  Just for the sake of exploring and learning something new.  So, we are adventurous, courageous, and curious.

Scuba diving is an outdoor recreation, so we have developed an appreciation for clean air, clean water, and abundant and healthy plant and animal life.  Whether I am hiking on land or exploring underwater, I get that feeling we were designed to be more than custodians of our environment.  We were meant to be good stewards of all the gifts that were entrusted to us.  That means, we don’t just get to enjoy and appreciate a healthy environment, we have to use our abilities and talents to create and maintain a healthy environment for all to enjoy.

Being good stewards of the earth and everything in it means that everyone has a duty and a responsibility to do their part.  Since we were all born with unique talents and abilities, it means that we can volunteer our time, talent, and treasure according to our gifts.  Regardless of your ability, you have something of value that can be used for the greater good.

Volunteering your time, talents and treasures is not just for a few non-profit organizations.  The diving industry has many non-profit organizations that focus on a multitude of needs.  We have environmental groups that work for clean water, healthy reefs, and marine life.  We have organizations that work with people who have physical and emotional challenges.  Some specialize in working with Veterans.  A number of non-profits work with children, or specific minority groups.  Some non-profits are designed to assist small businesses to help them start, grow, and succeed in their calling.  The types of non-profit, charitable organizations are almost limitless.  Finding an organization to volunteer your time, talent and treasures should be easy.  In today’s world, the need is great, but the volunteer workers are few.

Many people don’t realize this, but becoming a volunteer is actually a part of our life cycle.  In his book Start, Jon Acuff tells us that everyone goes through the same five stages in life, and the stages appear to correspond to our age groups.  According to Acuff, the five stages of life are Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting, and Guiding.  See if any of these apply to you.  In our 20’s we are focused on learning.  In our 30’s we are taking what we’ve learned and refining it in order to better serve our purpose.  We edit and use what works for us and we discard what doesn’t.  In our 40’s we spend our time mastering our trade and really digging into the details that makes us more competitive in the workplace and in our profession.  By the time we are in our 50’s we are at a point in our life where we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and reap the rewards of the hard work we’ve done in our lives.   When we arrive at our 60’s, it’s time to guide the younger generation and become the mentors they need.  That’s why volunteering is so important.  Over your lifetime you have developed talents that other people need and can use.  Hopefully you will now have the time to spare, working for a good cause.

To me, volunteering is donating your time, talent or treasures to an organization that does good work.  Work that benefits people, companies, governments, or the environment.  I’ve seen three types of volunteering in the diving industry and other industries as well.  Some organizations recruit general volunteers to do general tasks.  These organizations need bodies.  Lots of them.  Good examples are beach clean ups for the environment and parking or clean-up crews at the local church.  The tasks are general in nature and can be on a one-time basis or on a recurring schedule.  The second type of volunteering is one that uses a volunteer’s specific talent for a specific purpose.  Recruiting a Medical Doctor or Dentist for a doctors without borders program is a good example.  The mission of the organization is specific, and the volunteers have to be qualified and experienced to perform the work. The third type of volunteering is simply giving financial support to an organization.  If you look at the non-profit industry closely, you will see why this type of volunteering is essential for building roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and libraries.  Without your financial support, many non-profits would not be able to carry on doing the work they do for their community or the world.

The diving industry needs all three types of volunteers.  We need the masses for beach clean-ups and environmental projects.  We need generous donations of equipment, travel accommodations, and dollars to keep these organizations solvent.  But most of all, we need the education and experience of the generation of Dive Industry Professionals that came before us, to volunteer their talents and expertise to small businesses so they can start, grow and succeed in the Global Diving Business Network.  Now, I want to distinguish the difference between a volunteer and an advisor with a special talent, because I have had experience as both.  Volunteers get things done.  Organizations ask for volunteers with various professional expertise, like law, accounting, marketing, graphic design, etc.  These organizations know what they want and are looking for talent that is willing to help them on a volunteer basis.  Advisors, on the other hand, lend their expertise on an as-needed basis to help an organization clarify an issue or help make a decision.  An Advisor’s recommendation is not always implemented and sometimes is not even valued by the paid employees of a company.  If you are asked to be an Advisor or a Volunteer, to sit on a committee that doesn’t have the authority to implement their recommendations, don’t just walk away from that situation, run.  Volunteering is a two-way street.  Companies must utilize and appreciate the work performed by the volunteer and the volunteer must be made to feel that the work they do is important, has meaning and is respected and appreciated by the company. 

I’ll close with this suggestion for the diving industry.  We need to recruit volunteers for our organizations, both non-profit and for-profit.  Until we can afford to bring on a paid employee or paid consultant for a specific task, brining on volunteers to help us grow will benefit our companies greatly.  Not only will it help your company, it will give Dive Industry Professionals worldwide, an opportunity to use their talents (or practice their talents) to help make a diving company better at serving its customers.

As we promote non-profit organizations of the diving industry in the pages of The Dive Industry Professional, let us think about ways we can promote and praise the volunteer work of divers and water sports people who work with us for the betterment of the industry.  We look forward to writing articles about organizations and their staff who do good work for the industry as well as the non-paid volunteers who donate their time, talent and treasures to make this a better world.

For more information on being a Dive Industry Professional Volunteer, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net or call me at 321-914-3778.

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Dive Editorial – June 2022

DIVE EDITORIAL – JUNE 2022

What Is A Dive Industry Professional?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the June 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  Being this is our third issue in a magazine format, after twenty-two years as a Newsletter, it is a justifiable question to ask the International Diving Community “What is a Dive Industry Professional?”  I admit, we have skirted the issue, as has the entire diving industry, on defining what a Dive Industry Professional is.  We’ll do our best to give you our best definition of what we think the title implies as well as the roles and responsibilities of being a Dive Industry Professional.  Of course, this is in our humble opinion based on fifty years in the business.

Dive applies to all of the different types of diving in the many different markets.  It applies to snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving, surface-supplied diving, rebreather diving, and the like.  Dive includes recreational diving, public safety, military, commercial, occupational, scientific, and technical.  Basically, if you go underwater with equipment you are participating in dive.

Industry is a little more tricky.  Technically, an industry is a group of like-minded businesses, producing similar products or services, that collectively make up an industry.  Industries are based on how programs, products and services are made or sold.  The United States Government organizes industries in their North American Industry Classification System.  Industries include Manufacturing, Distribution, Retail, Service, Recreational Education, Travel, etc.  There are many industries that have a number of businesses that specialize in dive.  We currently track 18 of them.

Technically, a market is where stuff is bought & sold and is made up of buyers & sellers.  The Diving Industry, as we affectionately and wrongfully call it, is not an industry at all, but a niche market.  But that’s OK.  We will continue to call it an industry anyway, with a wink and a nod.

Now we get to the Professional part.  While there are many definitions of the word professional, word phrases that apply to us include; engaged in high standards of a profession, requiring advanced education, earning ones living from an activity, and engaged in a specific occupation for pay rather than a hobby. We acknowledge that all Scuba Diving Instructors can still be considered Professional even if some of them don’t teach diving for compensation.  Our purpose in the industry is to work with all water sports professionals who make a living, part time or full time, in the business of diving.

 So, we will define a Dive Industry Professional as anyone who works in the Global Diving Business Network for pay, either on a full time or part time basis.  If you work in the diving community and you make money at it, we consider you to be an Industry Trade Professional.  A Dive Industry Professional to be exact.  The good news is that you now have a monthly trade publication to call your own, regardless of your certification affiliation or your dive equipment preference. 

As we said before, The Dive Industry Association has been publishing The Dive Industry Professional for 22 years.  We started out as a printed bi-monthly newsletter.  Then we eventually began publishing every month.  As our membership and circulation grew, we turned the newsletter into a monthly digital publication.  The power of a 4-color publication with digital hot links to active websites was a big plus for us and our members.  The problem with using a digital format was getting our subscribers to scroll down past the fold, never mind for 30 pages.  With advanced graphics, adobe software programs, and a flip-page format, we now have the best of both worlds with longer content length and good graphic capability.  I believe we are heading into a new age of monthly trade communications.

Welcome to the new monthly, digital trade news publication, The Dive Industry Professional.  Our vision is to reach the entire Global Diving Business Network with a free trade publication that covers every diving topic imaginable, brought to the International Diving Community every month. Our goal is to bring you an industry insider’s perspective into the modern-day business of diving topics and issues.

In future issues of The Dive Industry Professional, we will present a monthly Editorial, a Feature Article as part of a series, an Industry Profile, a Shows & Events Calendar, and information about Membership in the Dive Industry Association.  We will include articles about businesses that specialize in diving, that are in the manufacturing, retailing, training, and the travel industries.   We hope to report on diving equipment tests and dive resort visits.  We will feature dive operators and their dive operation crews.  We will feature Scuba Instructors, Dive Clubs, Dive Boats, and Non-Profit Organizations and report on their diving activities.  We will publish articles about the business of diving and how using modern marketing tools and technologies can improve your business operation and your bottom line.

Our Monthly Trade Magazine will be all about the sales of diving equipment, training programs, travel services and lifestyle products that meet our customers’ needs and grows the recreational diving industry.  Our goal is to get The Dive Industry Professional into the hands of every Dive Industry Professional across the globe, every month.  Subscription is FREE to all in the International Diving Community by opting in at our Constant Contact Safe Subscribe site at:

https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=0016DNjNiidDhTPnQ5-9C-DOEg4XEpKmyxn

When you subscribe to our monthly trade publication, you can also opt-in to our Weekly Dive News, published every Tuesday, and our General Mailing list. You can also unsubscribe or change your profile any time you wish. We are all about keeping happy and informed divers.

For more information on being a Dive Industry Professional, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net or call me at 321-914-3778.

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DIA Members to Exhibit at Scuba Show 2022

SCUBA SHOW_WYLAND_whiteDive Industry Association Members at Scuba Show
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

The following Dive Industry Association Members are exhibiting at Scuba Show on May 14-15, 2022 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA.  Make it a point to visit our DIA Members for Great Show Specials.

Local Dive Media

Manufacturers

Dive Travel Wholesalers

Travel Businesses, Destinations, Resorts, & Dive Operators

Non-Profit & Training Organizations

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Editorial – May 2022

EDITORIAL – MAY 2022

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgThe Power of Now
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the May 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  There is no time like the present.  Yesterday is already gone.  You can’t get it back.  Tomorrow hasn’t happened yet and the best thing you can do is plan for it.  Today is where it’s at.  Lived right today, it will make a good yesterday memory, tomorrow.  So, to make good yesterdays, we need to plan our tomorrows and engage in our todays.  Are you engaged?  I wrote about that last month.

I believe in power of now.  I didn’t always.  As an Industry Planner, my job was to plan for successful tomorrows by strategically planning a company’s course of action based on their historical core competencies and their track record history.  It was always up to the sales force or the operational staff to take my plans and achieve the company’s planned outcomes.  It didn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes, the plans got put into a nice binder and sat on the shelf for the rest of the year.  Sometimes the plans were studied, and then changed to meet the needs of the sales force or operations, which did not always work as originally planned.  Some got off to a good start and then lost steam and the will to continue with an organized, step-by-step plan.  I would be lying if I said that no one ever just took our plans and tossed them.  Why do you think that would happen?  Mostly because it wasn’t their plan.  It was about their company’s successful tomorrows, and they were living in the today.  Living in the now.

Today, I’ve had a change of heart, based on over forty years of experience in the recreational diving industry.  I’ve changed my definition of marketing and now consider my profession as the progressive movement of goods and services from conception to consumption.  That means I start with a marketing audit to figure out where the company is at the beginning of a project.  I meet with the decision makers, and we document where the company wants to be.  It’s their company, it should be their decision.  Then we figure out what needs to be done to achieve our outcomes to complete the mission at hand.  Then we assign tasks and responsibilities, and we launch.  All the way through the mission, our team is following up on the company progress.  Are they following the plan?  Are they making progress?  Do we need to tweak the plan?  Just like a good dive guide, I stay with the team until the mission is complete.

In this pandemic era (that’s what they are calling it now), dive companies cannot afford to be in the market and not be engaged.  Dive companies are leaner and hungrier.  The organizational structure and integrity of companies and the market has changed.  A Business Audit is a MUST for serious companies.  A Marketing Audit is the smartest, most cost-effective thing you can do to analyze the current total market size and your market share of it.  It’s a smart thing to review your core competencies and capabilities.  Needles to say, without a strong vision, purpose, mission and focus you are likely to be less competitive.  But even if you are 100% ready to roll, it will do you no good at all if you are not engaged, now.  It’s good to remember that “He who hesitates, is lost.”    Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have anything against people who can’t make a decision or procrastinate about doing the things that needs to be done to succeed in today’s market.  It’s just that it is a frustrating experience for me as I watch a potentially successful company, with a good program, product, or service, spin their wheels and go nowhere.  My best advice is, Please call me when you are ready to engage.

For more information on moving your company forward, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net or call me at 321-914-3778.

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Editorial – April 2022

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgAre You Ready to Engage?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the April 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  As an Industry Planner I am frequently asked to help companies organize their thoughts into a well laid-out, step-by-step, strategic plan, that can be used to guide their company from conception to completion, whether they are dealing with programs, products, or an organizational direction.  I love a good challenge, but I only accept an invitation if I can deal with the task in a holistic manner.  For me, no detail or component is too small to address, if it is considered as a part of the big picture.   Like a puzzle, all the pieces have a place in the sum total, and usually every piece is somehow interrelated to the other pieces.  When dealing with an organizational challenge, I first like to look at the current situation and then ask where the company would like to go from there before we start suggesting potential solutions to the situation. Once we have our priorities straight, the next step is to design a plan of action that includes the tasks we will work on to achieve our planned outcomes.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Once you have your Action Plan, you have to start working on it.  You have to engage.  Today.  Now.

Two days ago I worked on a Hall of Fame project with a group of dive industry philanthropists.   We started by stating our purpose for the project.  Why were we doing this and what were we trying to accomplish?  Once we knew why, we were able to clearly see the type of organizational structure that was needed.  The rest were details, and section by section, it all fell into place.  The vision became clear.  The roadmap is being written now and is a work in process.  We would not have gotten this far had we not engaged.

That brings us to the situation at hand.  You are reading an editorial from the Dive Industry Association’s monthly marketing communique, The Dive Industry Professional.  Except, it is not in a newsletter format anymore but has evolved into a magazine format.  That took a combination of decisions made, advanced planning, and engagement.  At the Dive Industry Association, our Vision is to “Build a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.”  Our Mission is to bring buyers and sellers together, to facilitate business success and industry growth.  Our Focus is to concentrate on the sales of diving equipment, training, travel, and lifestyle products.  Our Purpose is to build a cohesive and functional Global Diving Business Network.

With a 21-year history of successfully building and operating a member-centric organization, Dive Industry Association is on track to become the diving industry’s Premier Marketing and Trade Association.  We focus only on marketing and trade programs, products and services.  We work for our Members so they can become more professional, productive, and profitable.  Our past accomplishments and future projects are spelled out, in writing, in our Members Guide, available to DIA members and non-members alike.

Staying engaged in the Global Diving Business Network has allowed us to actively bring our industry trade programs, products, and services to life, for the benefit of all Dive Industry Professionals Worldwide.  Our Weekly Dive News has been reaching Dive Industry Professionals, across the global for over four years.  Our third Trade Directory and Industry Publication brings the Worldwide Diving Community an Industry Trade Directory, Buyers Guide, and Shows and Events Calendar.  As of this month, our Monthly Trade Magazine, The Dive Industry Professional, is available to the entire international Diving Community, on a monthly basis, as the organ for diving news worldwide.

Being engaged means you are an active participant in the direction of your business.   When a company is large and many people are involved in various aspects of a program, at least one person needs to be actively engaged from conception to completion.  This way, nothing falls through the cracks during handoff from one section to another, or from one person to another.  In a perfect world, a company should always be in a state of forward progression.  To ensure that you are continually moving in a forward direction, adopt these easy-to-follow concepts.  1) Conduct an Audit.  It should be a complete Business Audit, but if you are not up to the task, start with a department audit.  A Marketing Audit is a good one to start with.  2) Sit down with your senior staff and define where you want your company to be in one year, two years, or three years from now.  Commit to it in writing and call it “Desired Outcomes.”   3) Brainstorm ideas on things you have to do to achieve each planned outcome.  Prioritize each possible solution as to their likely merit.  4) Create a campaign to try your best possible solution for each desired outcome.  5) Create a “Playbook” that tracts each campaign and monitors your progress.  This way you know where you are, know where you want to be, know what you are doing about it, and you can see if it’s working.  The big thing is to keep your eyes on your progress and you will surely see the need to adjust your inputs as you see successes or setbacks.

The only thing I advise against is the desire to look for quick-fixes.  Don’t look for a silver bullet.  They do not exist.  There are no short-term fixes to long-term problems.  In today’s post pandemic economy we are in the process of reinventing many business procedures, business models, and paradigms.  There is no such thing as doing things the way we used to and leaving the process in automatic mode.  We now have to do things in a new way and monitor the progress as we go.

For more information, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net

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Editorial – March 2022

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpg

Where Are You Today?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the March 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  This month has to be that moment in time where we dedicate ourselves to the business of what we do. With so much chaos in the world, it’s time we find our place in the world and move forward doing what we do best. We are all in the business of diving here, even though we may not all be specializing in the same thing. As part of the International Diving Business Community, we are participating as dive equipment manufacturers, dive equipment sales reps, retail store owners and operators, dive boat operators, scuba diving instructors, dive resort operators, dive travel specialists, etc, etc, etc. With an unlimited opportunity to specialize in what makes us happy, and employed, it’s up to us to choose what we do with our 24 hours each day.

I am currently working with a company that is looking to improve their marketing efforts. When asked if I had any ideas on how to improve their marketing, I took a step back and asked if they could tell me a little about themselves first. Where were they currently in their marketing efforts? Did they have a current Business Plan? Marketing Plan? 2022 Marketing Budget? Did they already have a written agenda for this year and were they making sufficient progress in that plan? I didn’t want to just jump in with my “Gene Saves The World” book and reinvent the wheel for them. Especially if they already had a good plan and were working on it now.

I also wanted to know more about where they were financially. You see, sales and marketing go hand-in-hand. I wonder about the programs, products and services a company sells and how well they do. After all, what you sell is the reason you are in business. You can tell a lot about a company by looking at their sales; in units, in dollars, and cost of units sold. It’s a Product Managers responsibility to keep track of the company’s most profitable products and continually come up with new ones.

The next thing I asked was about their customers. How many customers did they have? Has the number of customers increased or decreased over the past few years? Not all customers are good customers. Some cost more to service than they bring into the company. How much deadwood does this company have and who are their better customers? A good Customer Manager specializes in customer relationships and works with current, former and future customers. It’s their job to acquire, retain, and recapture a sufficient pool of profitable customers for the company.

With good product management and good customer management, in a well-oiled operation, putting a strategy together to improve a company just got a lot easier. Knowing where you currently are is the first step. Now all you have to do is tell me where you want to go from here and we can put a plan together to get you there.

A Marketing Audit is a good thing for every company to do. It’s a Deep Dive in product management, customer management and marketing communication. I have always looked at business in a very simplistic way. To stay in business, you have to sell a sufficient number of profitable products, to a sufficient number of profitable customers, by communicating what you sell to the people who need, want, and can afford to buy what you sell. But don’t make the mistake of looking at a marketing audit as an isolated project. Marketing is only one piece of the puzzle, and it is interconnected to everything the company does. Think of marketing as the flow of goods and services, from conception to consumption. If your marketing department is healthy but your company is rotten, you won’t have the support you need to continue. That’s why a good marketing audit includes information about the operational, financial, and human resource aspects of a company. A healthy tree produces healthy fruit.

Start your new dive season off on the right foot. Conduct a Marketing Audit to see where you are. Plan a strategy meeting with your Management Team to discuss where you want to go this year. Agree on a plan of action. Commit your Action Plan to writing and get to work. I am more confident that you will have a better year now.

For more information on conducting a Marketing Audit, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, Inc., at gene@diveindustry.net

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Linda Lugone Remembered

Linda Braymanby Bob Brayman

It is with a heavy heart I announce that after a long battle with cancer Linda Lugone (formally known as Linda Brayman) passed away on February 25th, 2022 at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Services for Linda will be conducted on Friday March 4th at Seawinds Funeral Home at 735 S. Fleming Street, Sebastian, FL 32958.  Seawinds’ phone is 772-589-1933 for details.

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Chapter 1 – What Is Your Purpose In Business?

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpg

STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
CHAPTER 1 – What is Your Purpose in Business
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
February 9, 2022

The first thing you have to ask yourself before taking the plunge into Entrepreneurship is “What is your reason for wanting to go into business for yourself?  When you have a good-enough reason, you’ll find and define your purpose.  Your purpose in business should be to accomplish something meaningful.  Your end goal.  It could be short term like, make a touchdown. It could be long term, like win the game.  It could even be longer as in win the season.  In scuba diving terms, a good reason to go into business is to teach your family, friends and community how to scuba dive, so they can enjoy a healthy recreation.  It could also be to build a business that employs local divers and services the dive equipment, training, travel and lifestyle needs of the local diving community.  It is a highly respected goal to build a successful business that offers you a rich and rewarding lifestyle that you and your family can enjoy.  And what successful business parent doesn’t dream about passing on their successful business to their children when the time comes?  So if your reason for going into business is strong, and your immediate family agrees with it, then it’s time to continue the process.

Understanding your reason for wanting to go into the watersports business can alter your professional career path tremendously.  If you really love diving, but not the business of diving, you should not be thinking about opening a dive store.  There are plenty of happy accountants and engineers who make a very nice living and can afford to do some of the finest diving in world.  It’s not all about the job or the money, rather it’s about the correct balance of your vocation and avocation.

So, before you take the time and energy to research how to open, operate and succeed in your own business, it’s best if you decide now, if that is what you really want to do.  Think about what you would enjoy doing eight hours every day, five days a week, for fifty weeks a year? Now think about how you would like to spend your weekends, holidays and vacation time enjoying the recreation of your choice?  Either way, you have to enjoy the process and be true to your life’s purpose.

In the beginning of every Business Plan is the Executive Summary.  The very first section in the Executive Summary is The Company Mission.  The Company Mission is expressed in a statement that explains what you are going into business for, what you plan to achieve, and how you are going to achieve it.  It’s what you are telling the world your purpose is, because pursuing your purpose has now become your mission.

A Mission Statement should always be written down so the world will know what your purpose is.  That will help them relate to and understand why you are doing the things you do to complete your mission.  If you are going to have investors, sponsors, employees, or members, you must be truthful with them and transparent in your communications.  When people give you money because they believe in your purpose, make sure that every penny you spend is for the successful completion of objectives, that create outcomes, that help you accomplish your mission.  Being truthful to your purpose is all about personal integrity.

Your purpose in life is your reason for being.  Fulfilling your purpose in business may be more than you just answering your vocational calling.  It may also be your purpose in life.  Think about that while you are investing your time, money, and manpower into this new venture.

For more information on your purpose in life and business, as it relates to a Dive Industry Professional, read my WordPress blog article Your Purpose in Life & In Business, on September 12, 2021 at  https://diveindustrynews.net/2021/09/12/your-purpose-in-life-in-business/

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Editorial – February 2022

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgFebruary Is Matchmaking Month
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the February 2022 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional.  The new recreational scuba diving season is underway, albeit slow, but is has begun for many Dive Industry Professionals.  Our Association closed out last month at a record + 30% increase in revenue.  I have heard a few other such reports.  Industry Professionals are selling diving equipment, training and travel this year and there is no magic to it.  In fact, I think it’s quite simple.  Sell something the market wants.  Find a customer that needs, wants and can afford your product.   Know how to reach potential customers.  It doesn’t get more basic than that.

The diving industry is loaded with opportunity this year.  To take advantage of these opportunities you only have to focus on three things.  Products – Customers – Marketing.  Let’s get into a little more detail by going down each rabbit hole just a little bit.

Products:  The diving industry primarily sells diving equipment, training programs, and travel services.  Rather than try to sell these categories separately, plan to integrate all three into your sales strategy.  Put a program together that helps all of your customers outfit themselves for the type of diving they like to do.  Make sure they have adequate training in their chosen interests.  Give them ample opportunity to use their training and their equipment that they purchase from you.  And lastly, make them lifetime customers and keep them actively involved in our recreation.

Customers:  There are good customers and there are better customers.  Look for the better customers by getting referrals from your current better customers.  Your new customers, demographically,  should be just like them.   A good customer for you might be a person who wants to scuba dive actively.  They take their training, buy their equipment, go on trips and become an active diver.   And it goes without saying, that they do this all with you.  We’ll call this type of person, your best prospect.  It doesn’t mean you can’t sell to other types of customers, but your primary focus should be on this type of customer.

Marketing:  Marketing is communicating what you sell. It’s all about matching  products to  customers.  We call this “Retail Matchmaking.”   It’s a good idea to have different messages for your current customers, former customers and future customers.

Retail Dive Store Managers like to do annual audits on their operation.  They basically make sure they are offering the correct programs, products and services to their customers.  They make sure they are keeping track of their customers and contacting them sufficiently.  They also look at their marketing efficiency, effectiveness and costs.  That covers your demand chain audit.  At the same time, it’s a good idea to do a little audit into your supply chain as well.  Are you using the proper vendors to supply your diving equipment, training and travel products?  A little Matchmaking here goes a long way.

We talked about matching products to customers and marketing vehicles to customers.  We call this Demand Chain Matchmaking, and it’s a very important thing for dive stores to do.  We also talked about Supply Chain Matchmaking, where dive stores look at their suppliers of goods and services.  Now let’s talk about another type of matchmaking.

It all starts with bringing Buyers & Sellers together.  Dive Industry Matchmaking is about matching vendors (Sellers) with their retail accounts (Buyers).  This is an issue that is taking on a more important priority this year.   The past two years have seen a lot of consolidation with dive equipment manufacturers.  In the same time period, the dive travel industry has lost a number of dive resorts and dive operators.  To make matters worse, the industry has lost over 300 dive stores in the United States alone.  Our total market in the U.S. is about 1,300 dive stores.  It has gotten increasingly difficult for potential buyers to find available suppliers.  Their questions are:  What’s available?   Where are they located?   Who do we call?  You think someone would make it easy for them?

The Dive Industry Association has increased in importance and membership by developing programs and projects the industry needs to market itself to the international diving community and the general public.  #1  We have maintained our database of buyers and sellers of diving equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products.  And we contact them on a regular basis.  #2 We publish a Trade Directory and Buyers Guide to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  Our Mission is to make it easier for buyers to locate a source for their purchases, either in the trade or consumer market.  Our Association identifies sources of goods and services, establishes relationships with the dive industry professionals in charge and are quick to promote and refer diving equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products to trade customers and final consumers. That’s the primary job of a Trade Association and the Dive Industry Association takes that responsibility very seriously.

Would your business benefit from Membership in a Trade Association that produces an informative Blog, a FREE Weekly Press Release Service, a Monthly Newsletter, and an International Trade Directory & Buyers Guide?  How about if that organization maintained an International Trade and Consumer database that helped you find new customers?  If they referred your products to buyers who are looking for what you sell?  What if that organization has a 20 year history of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars exhibiting at trade and consumers shows to promote you?

Then this might be the year that you join the Dive Industry Association and become a part of our Global Diving Business Network.  Request a Membership Application today by contacting:

Dive Industry Association, Inc.
2294 Botanica Circle
West Melbourne, FL 32904
email: gene@diveindustry.net
web: www.diveindustry.net

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Starting Your Own Business

DSC_0457Starting Your Own Business
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
January 17, 2022

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own your own business?  Maybe in a recreational scuba diving adventure business?  Well, it’s OK to wonder.  That doesn’t cost you anything.  It’s even perfectly acceptable to dream about it.  Imagine, you are the star of this fantasy.  Teaching people how to scuba dive and getting them all geared up for their very first openwater adventure.  Speaking of adventure, imagine flying from Island to Island, diving exotic destinations, one right after the other.  You could explore the coral reefs of the turquoise waters, lay on white sand beaches underneath the palm trees, while you sip pina coladas with your favorite diving adventure companion.  OK.  Pause.  Back to reality.  Can this really happen?  Well, yes it can, but there is a little work and preparation you need to do before you get to that point.  I was kidding by using the word little.  The good news is that there are a number of Dive Industry Professionals who can help you get to that point.  Maybe those of us who have done something like this before and are familiar with some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that a journey such as this has in store for you.  My name is Gene, and I will be your Guide and Mentor for what may turn out to be the adventure of your life.

First of all, before we begin our journey together, let me tell you there are already people scuba diving on the coral reefs of exotic destinations, hunting for food, laying under the palm trees on beautiful white sand beaches, and even living in houses right on the shore.  They are called LOCALS, and have been doing this for quite some time.  Hopefully you will get the opportunity to meet some of them as you travel along your chosen career path (in or out of the recreational water sports industry).  The purpose of this series of articles is to explore the possibility of having a career or a professional diving business in the Global Diving Business Network.  It’s to point out the pluses and minuses of choosing to invest your time, money, and manpower in this industry.  The choice is always yours to make, but as many successful entrepreneurs have said in the past, “It’s better to know, before you go.”

Let’s take this journey together.  This series of articles will be a little different than some of the self help books you may have read or are familiar with.  The Author (me) is going to take this journey with you.  As we look into the advantages and disadvantages of opening our own business in the diving industry, I will be doing the research with you, in real time.  Does that mean I am going to open my own business when we’ve finished?  I don’t know yet.  We don’t have enough facts to make that decision.

DSC_0001Building a business is like building a pool.  I will give you a little insight into my methodology.  Nine years ago, we had a pool built for our home.  Not knowing how to build a pool ourselves, we hired a professional pool builder, Paradise Pools, www.paradisepoolsconstruction.com   The Construction Boss, Terry Betten, sat down with us and asked us a ton of questions about what we wanted in a pool.  As we discussed the many options involved, Terry made copious notes and started to sketch out a drawing of what our pool would look like.  By the end of a few meetings, Terry presented us with a sketch of our new pool.  He made his comments and suggestions, and we added our comments and made our adjustments.   We discussed features, benefits, measurements, capacities, building materials, labor schedules, building permits, prices, and timelines.  Terry returned with a final draft and said:  “This is what your pool will look like.  It will cost $60,000 and be finished in about 52 days plus city inspection and approval time.”  We liked what we saw. It was a GO.

The pool construction process was a learning experience for us.  This was our first pool.  Not so with Terry and Paradise Pools.  This was not their first rodeo.  They had built many before, over two thousand.  Terry had a plan in front of him.  He saw in his mind’s eye what the pool would look like in 52 days.  He had done this before and knew what the outcome would look like.  I photographed and video taped the construction process every day and published daily updates on my Facebook page.  My Facebook friends and I saw this project come together right in front of our eyes.  It was an amazing process.  I learned a lot.  About building pools and about business planning.

Starting a business is pretty much the same process, although there are no guarantees as to the exact outcome from your pre-business research.  Having an understanding of what it takes to start a business, coupled with hands-on experience from people who have succeeded or failed at business ownership before is a big plus.  The more you know, the greater the chance that you will succeed.

In this series of articles, we can explore the questions you may have about starting your own business.  We’ll look at your own personal reasons for wanting to go into business, the products that are sold in the diving industry, the customers that make up our recreation, the size and make-up of the current market, the current supply chain, the various channels of distribution, and the marketing vehicles that deliver our marketing and advertising messages to divers and would-be divers, worldwide.  Since we will be going through this process with you, we can share real-time data on contacts that you should know to help you make the decisions you’ll need to make along the way.

We won’t be giving any financial or legal advice but instead, will attempt to refer you to the proper sources that could answer your questions.  Questions that we also may have along the way.  So, if you have always wonder about starting your own business in the recreational scuba diving industry, come take this journey with us.

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