Welcome to the January 2014 Editorial of The Dive Industry Professional. January is the month we start fresh with new hope of a better life, a better work environment and a better industry. But wishing and hoping are not enough. Achieving a different and better outcome means you have to do something different and better than you did before. This year do these simple things: 1) Define the outcome you want to achieve. 2) Figure out what you need to do to achieve that outcome. 3) Draw up a plan and budget to systemically do the things you need to do and when you need to do them. 4) Implement your plan on a daily basis. 5) Monitor your progress as you see yourself getting closer and closer to your desired outcome.
Every seasoned entrepreneur is his or her own best consultant. If you’ve tried different things over the past, you know what has worked and what has not. As a business owner, you know you have to do more of the things that work and less of the things that don’t if you want to stay in business. The key is – You have to work at it. Every day.
Opportunities in 2014: This year is going to be filled with more opportunities for growth than our industry has seen in the past. The economy is getting worst and people are watching their money more than ever. Older divers are diving less and younger people are not getting into the sport in great numbers. Tech diving is becoming a niche market to itself, as is Freediving. Spearfishing as a niche market is moving out of the dive stores and into the retail fishing stores. In the mean time, the swimming, snorkeling and recreational shallow water scuba diving market is being ignored. This market accounts for 85% of industry sales and has mass market appeal. Are we returning to the days of swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving being sold at Sporting Goods Stores?
More Opportunities: In addition to doing the right things for the market, more opportunities come your way by watching your competitors and doing the things they aren’t doing. In bad economic times, some businesses cut back on expenses. They advertise less, buy less inventory or raw materials, cut back on activities, let staff go and cut their marketing budget to zero. All these things help to accelerate their demise. The most important thing for a business to do is to increase things that lead to a sale. Examples are advertising with a call to action, marketing with an anticipated outcome, employment with rewards for achievement, activities connected with a purpose and most of all increasing your inventory to achieve more sales. It is important to use marketing professionals to pave the way for sales and use your sales professionals to close the sales. I never met a great sales person who would rather do paper work than sell.
Know What Works: The Dive Industry Foundation currently conducts two industry profiles, one for Retail Dive Centers and one for Manufacturing Sales Reps. Two more are planned for this year, Manufacturers and Travel Businesses. The data collected is strictly confidential. The profiles are compiled to calculate industry averages and norms and are used to recommend Best Practices for Success. Find out where you stand among your peers.
Become More Actively Engaged in Your Industry: If it matters to you, it matters to the industry. And visa-versa. Work toward the things that matter to you and fight for what is necessary. People will not judge you on what happens to you and your business. They will judge you on what you do about it. Stay in touch with the Dive Industry Association by using the 10 communication vehicles we set up and maintain so we all can “Be on the same page.”
In order for all of us to be on the same page at the same time, you should:
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