Running a business is a lot of work. We spend at least half of our time doing what the business does and the rest of the time actually running the business. Doing what the business does is what brings in the money, so naturally that is what many of us focus on. The secret of success, however, is learning how to run your business more proficiently, professionally and profitably so that you have more time to do what the business does. I’m a firm believer in using modern marketing tools to handle the business side of running a business. Good business tools help you plan your business, operate your business and record and analyze your business. The better the tools, the more efficient and effective you can be.
Having good tools is only part of the solution. You have to purchase the right tool for the right job. Reading up and learning about the features and benefits of the tool is necessary to learn how to use the tool for what it was designed for. In other words, you would be better off purchasing a Point of Sale software program and becoming efficient at it rather than recording your sales on an Excel Spreadsheet. Wrong tool for the job. I see that all the time in business, where someone is using a computer program to do something manually, rather than having the right program that does the calculating for you. Doing it the manual way takes longer and is not as accurate as a software program that is programmed to do the calculating for you.
Vendors who are in the market to hire sales and marketing expertise would be wise to ask about the type of hardware and software their potential hire uses in doing their job. As a contracting executive I would want to know the extent of a new hire’s knowledge of business hardware and software. Have they kept pace with the modern tools and technologies that will give my company a competitive edge? How do they acquire new customers? What do they do to build and maintain their relationship with their clients? Do they do anything special to retain their business? How often? And finally, are they following up with their clients on a regular basis and reporting back to you? A professional business can only do this successfully with good business tools, they understand how to use, and use correctly.
During the past six months, many dive businesses were not able to do what their business specializes in. Instructors were not teaching. Dive Operators were not taking divers out on their boats. Dive Stores were not open. Dive Resorts were not open for business. And Dive Equipment Manufacturers stopped or slowed down production and furloughed many of their people. This was the darkest economic period I have ever seen in the recreational diving industry. I’m only hoping that many of our peers took this opportunity to get some constructive work done on their business operation.
Most of the shows & events the Dive Industry Association normally exhibits at were cancelled. FAM Trips we were planning to participate in were cancelled. Dive Trips we go on as Travel Bloggers were scrubbed. We were forced to change our business model from hands-on and face-to-face marketing to digital marketing. Since we weren’t traveling and had more time on our hands, we decided to spend the time analyzing the way we do business. We took inventory of all of our hardware and software marketing tools and analyzed their current effectiveness. We upgraded many of our software programs and got caught up on their training programs. We looked at the hardware we use to run these marketing programs and upgraded or replaced them as necessary. We also spent a lot of time learning about and bringing on new software programs that will improve the way we do business for our members.
During the past six months our Association continued to update the industry about the many changes to the dive trips, FAM trips and shows and events the industry was conducting. Our Weekly Dive News and Monthly Newsletter kept our members in the eye of the diving public. We also took the time to create and publish our vision for the diving industry’s future State of the Recreation. We are building world markets where buyers and sellers are meeting to do business, but doing it on a regional basis (Local Markets).
Our future business model will employ the use of the best sales and marketing tools that our budget will allow. The hardware and software we employ will be task specific. We will be more digital than hands-on. We will employ more and better graphics. We will embrace video conferencing, podcasts and webinars. We will employ more 24-7 continual marketing programs rather than isolated one day events. Our face-to-face meetings will be targeted to smaller groups, in regional locations, all with a focused “Call to Action.”
Our Mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together. Our goal is to bring a message of the joys of recreational scuba diving to the general public. We will aid our Members so they can teach people to dive, sell them gear, take them diving and keep them active. Our purpose is to be the Premier Trade Association that specializes in the Business of Diving Issues, helping our Members become more Professional, Proficient and Profitable.
We want you to be a part of this growing global business network.