Understanding The Business of Diving
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
A large part of our pre-season marketing effort is consumer dive shows. Every regional area should have at least one annual event that brings their Divers together to see what’s new in diving equipment, current training tips and techniques, and the ultimate diving resort destinations. It’s also the best place to assemble samples of the world-class talent we have in our industry’s speakers bureau to see what is new and exciting in their world. While all of this is going on, Regional Dive Shows are the venue of choice for the annual meetings of dive clubs and organizations and it’s the highlight of their social event calendar.
So if consumer dive shows are all that important and well run ones are financially cost effective to exhibit at, participate in and attend, why is our trade participation so lacking? Partially because of decreasing budgets, a troublesome economy, declining attendance, and an ageing diving demographic with little infusion of younger divers. To be honest with you though, our problem is mostly because of arrogance, ignorance and the industry’s inability to play well with others. In the past two years, the industry has witnessed changes in the ownership of a number of manufacturers and certification agencies. A number of Sales Reps have retired or been replaced. Quite a few Dive Stores have gone out of business. Our Industry Professionals are not getting any younger and the senior management at many companies in all sectors of the industry are not degreed or even educated in proper business disciplines. No one to my knowledge is attempting to document the vast experience of our current industry professionals nor are they creating Advisory Boards to help them understand the current strengths and weaknesses and the future opportunities and threats of our industry. Individual dive companies are lacking in proper Business Plans, Marketing Plans and Exit Strategies.
No one can save an industry. And to be honest with you, no one should try. It’s like trying to teach a Pig how to dance. You’ll quickly find out that it’s a frustrating experience and it irritates the Pig. But thankfully, there are a number of bright Entrepreneurs in our industry who understand and appreciate the benefits of Mastering The Business of Diving. It’s for these companies that we spend time, money and manpower to improve our businesses, increase our marketing reach and effectiveness, and carve out market shares that help our companies be more competitive and successful. It is more productive to work with companies that can and want to make positive changes in their own companies, and because of that, our industry, then to try to convince diving hobbyists that running a successful and profitable business is their ticket to a more enjoyable career. A career that is rewarding, enjoyable, filled with perks and rewards and a career that allows us to do what we love to do.
The Dive Industry Foundation is a tax exempt, non-profit, charitable and educational organization that is dedicated to understanding and improving the economic development of the diving industry. We specialize in helping Entrepreneurs and their Employees to Start, Run and Succeed in their water sports related businesses. Our marketing article for March is all about the advantages and opportunities of participating in Regional Dive Shows. We put all the pieces together that makes attending, speaking, exhibiting and volunteering understandable. It’s an annual opportunity that everyone in a select geographical area can participation in and benefit from.
Don’t just be a casual observer in your industry and not participate in it. Take advantage of the growing synergy around you and do your part of grow your business, your hobby and your industry. Participate in your Regional Dive Show this year.