Editorial – December 2021

Defining Our Own Industry Identity
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to our December Editorial. Here we are – end of month, end of quarter and end of year. I hope this editorial finds you in good health, good spirits, back to diving and still in business. I get to speak with a lot of Dive Industry Professionals in my job as the Executive Director of a very progressive and customer-focused Trade Association. It has helped our association become a trusted confidant to many of the successful dive businesses in the industry because we listen and we learn. We’ve defined who we are and what we do for our Members and the Global Diving Community. Our Mission and the work we perform to accomplish our mission is one in the same. After twenty years of bringing buyers and sellers together, we’ve influenced many dive businesses and are humbled to say that we have learned a few things along the way. How do we do that? First of all, we define who we are and what we do. Secondly, we ask our members and the industry what it is they need a marketing and trade association to do for them. Thirdly, we train and prepare for successful outcomes that directly benefit our members and the industry. Our primary research has allowed us recognize, define, and pass on to our members, the dive industry’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We use our findings to create ways (new or existing) to help our members become more professional, productive, and profitable. We are known for laying out or suggesting agendas that works for different segments of the industry, such as dive equipment, training, travel, service providers, lifestyle products, and non-profits. In a Dale Carnegie sort of way, we do this without criticizing, condemning or complaining.

Bringing buyers and sellers together means that we cannot afford to have an agenda that does not include the entire Global Diving Business Network. Your agenda is our agenda. We understand diving and we understand business. We make it our point to know the market (both buyers and sellers) and know the pluses and minuses of the various marketplaces. If we favor one marketplace over another at some point, it is because the particular venue is doing something right or something wrong for that market at that point in time. And trust me when I tell you that all marketplaces and venues in the diving world have gone through and may still be going through changes. Sometimes it’s on a monthly basis, sometimes on a yearly base, and sometimes over a long period of time.

One of our jobs as a Marketing and Trade Association is to follow sales, marketing and advertising opportunities in the print media, on-line community, social media, and face-to-face events. With over 40 years of history following the diving market, I gladly share my research, findings and recommendations with our Members. We are also available for direct marketing consultation. But the reason I want to share 40 years of history with you first is that our economic forecast for the future is going to be totally different then what we would have been recommending in the past ten years. ALARM ALERT !

For the past 20 years, up until 2019, the diving industry had either been flat or declining. The industry was playing by the same paradigms and business models. For the most part, things were going nowhere and most of the industry was doing the same thing with the same people and going downhill. To be honest with you though, that’s when I started to see paradigm shifts, new blood, new thinking, and new technology creep into our beloved recreation. For the most part, these new ways of doing business were popping up but mostly kept under wraps by those implementing these changes, to the delight of their owners and customers.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic halt to business as usual, the supply side shortages, the travel restrictions, the lost of business and revenue, some equipment manufacturing consolidation, and believe it not, a new trend in Dive Store consolidation. Now people were actively looking for new ways to conduct business and it was obvious who was doing something different and who was not.

We could tell that the industry sectors of diving equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products were cooperating less with each other in the industry and looking for new alliances. Some stakeholder groups were breaking away from DEMA and looking at the Surf Expos, Adventure & Travel Shows, the Outdoor Shows, Boating Shows and what was left of the Regional Dive Shows. I think what we found out was that the non-diving shows each gave us a little of what we were looking for but did not fit our overall needs. A little advanced strategic planning would have helped these stakeholders realize that the diving industry has its own unique identity and its own unique needs. There may be some cross-over benefits and similarities to the other markets, but the diving industry is not the outdoor industry or the boating industry, or the travel industry – it is the diving industry.

I believe we should all work on defining and refining our own unique industry image. It has to center around diving and focus on all of the programs, products and services bought and sold by our Global Diving Business Network. Our market is made up of sellers of diving equipment, dive training, dive travel and lifestyle products. It is also made up of the buyers of these goods, both consumer and trade.

For a market to grow and sustain, it must be big enough to exist but small enough to navigate. I think we all learned that recently at a smaller venue that brought the right mix of serious buyers together with a smaller number of vendors. We also have to bring buyers and sellers together but we need to separate consumers and trade professionals. They have different needs and our sales approach needs to be different. We need to focus on conducting a trade expo for trade buying and a trade show for consumer purchasing. We should have a seperate professional development conference for training purposes, and focus only on training.

And I’ll leave you with one last comment about a trend we are starting to see in the industry. Some of the major equipment manufacturers have broken away from a traditional annual trade event and are conducting their own sales events for their select Dealers. While this may seem to be cost effective and an answer to another problem, it is a tactics that has been tried in other industry and is having a negative consequence. In isolation, if your Dealers sell only your products, this sales technique may work well. However, if your major Dealers also carry 2-6 other major lines, how can they take 6 weeks off from their store to buy products? They can’t and they won’t. We’ve been talking to other water sports industry manufacturers and retailers and this idea is starting to lose its appeal and effectiveness. That is why the dive equipment manufacturers must once again meet collectively with each other to discuss long term solutions to this ongoing problem. As for the Retailers, they must start working together to develop more workable solutions. A strong Manufacturing group and a strong, independent, Retail group is the best thing for an industry that wants to regrow itself.

It’s all about defining your industry image, strategically plan your future, and telling the world about what you do for a living.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. See you next year on a Dive Boat in Saint Somewhere.


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Editorial – November 2021

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgBe There For Your Customers
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to our November Editorial.  This month we are reaching our customers with messages about our company and our products.  I hope you are doing the same.  Not because this is the best time of year for that, but because our industry agreed on this current timeline a few years ago and we all followed along with it.  Well, not everyone.  I think the top four equipment manufacturers still believe in and practice a September introduction.  And to tell you the truth, November is the worst time of the year to conduct an annual trade event.  I know we’ve been doing it for a long time and it has become a habit.  A bad habit.  We should be thinking about our families and friends and getting ready to sit down with them at the Thanksgiving Day table.  The last thing on our mind should be our businesses.  But I get it.

And another thing wrong with introducing our new lines in November is that it is too close to the December Holidays; Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, and New Years.  By this time of year, the dive stores should be stocked to the hilt with new gear for the Holiday Season.  Did you know that in some retail stores, over 25% of all annual sales happen in December?  So that is why I am a fan of starting the new season in September, right after Labor Day.  And now I’m leaning toward September and January based on what our manufacturing and travel members have been telling us for years.

Speaking of customers…you know, the people we started our businesses to serve?  They are ready and waiting for us to show them our new 2022 programs, products and services.  But where are they?  Some of them are going to be at the trade show in two weeks.  The rest are going to be home waiting for us.  Do you know who is going to be where?  The show or home?  Are you planning to visit them where they will be or are you simply doing what you did in the past and hoping for the best? I can only speak for our organization and a number of our members who have been very busy getting ready for this month.  We’ve surveyed as many dive stores as we could and have a pretty good idea who is going to be where.  We’ve corresponded with as many show attendees as possible and promoted our exhibiting members, what booth they will be at, and what they are doing for show specials.  We continually refine our databases of Dive Industry Professionals and certified Divers and we’ve used the data to help our members reach new customers and make sales.  We created a “Retail Buyer Only” publication and introduced our organization, our members, and our members’ fall specials.  And the total extra charge for all those additional member perks was zero.  Now let me tell you what that has done for us.

For the past month, we picked up new members, recaptured former members, and received early annual renewals from many of our current members.  We helped our members reach tens of thousands of Dive Industry Professionals, Domestic and International Retail Dive Stores, and everyday dive consumers.  We are helping put together a number of FAM Trips for the Dive Industry Travel Buyers and we let over 900 Dive Resorts, Liveaboards, Tourism Bureaus and Dive Travel Wholesalers know that we would like to do it for them next year.  The most important things we started lately, I can’t talk about yet, but it is going to add significantly to our Member Service offerings and hopefully increase our membership roles  exponentially.  It’s time to move on and I am confident the majority of the diving industry will move with us.

As my High School Vice Principal used to say, “Muchanski, It’s late in the Ballgame.”  And I agree with ole’ Bill Carr.  As an industry we can’t wait for non-responsive companies to do things for us.  I don’t feel that we are a priority in their agenda anyway and they certainly don’t have our best interest at heart.  I’m not the waiting kind of person and I don’t think you are either.  To be successful and grow we have to take matters into our own hands and get the job done.  Accomplish the Mission.  As the economy begins to improve, we can all do what we can to grow our own businesses, which will grow the industry as we each succeed.

So let’s agree that our customers are our top priority.   We do it all for them.  We need to pledge the use of our collective industry resources to determine their needs, fill their needs and grow our businesses and the recreational scuba diving market.


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8th Annual Dive Pirates Treasure Hunt

Dive Pirates dema map jpgDive Pirates Foundation Announces 8th Annual Treasure Hunt for DEMA 2021
Game evolves with pirate hats, touchless options and great prizes

Excited to reunite with friends in the diving industry, the Dive Pirates Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization committed to sharing adaptive diving with people of all abilities, will venture to Las Vegas for the return of the in-person DEMA Show 2021 with its much-anticipated treasure hunt; offering hunters a chance to network with vendors and enter to win great pirate booty.

President Tyler Brandes with Diamond Eye Jack“We are really looking forward to how we have retooled the game to access the map on your phone, take selfies in your official pirate hat at each of our “Pirate Partner Booths” with secret bone markers and finish at our booth and register for our Friday multi-prize drawing at 11:00 a.m.,” said newly elected President Tyler Brandes.

“Also for those who want to enter our grand prize drawing, a dive trip to any of the Clearly Cayman properties good for 7 night accommodations, three meals a day and 6 days of 3 tank boat dives. You can sign up for a Dive Pirates membership during the show. Memberships directly fund dive equipment for our recipients. It’s an easy way to give directly to those who have lost some of their mobility so they can share in the very mobile sport of diving.”

Treasure hunters can find a Dive Pirate hat with a secret QR code inside and start the hunt with any of the vendors listed below. All hunters will finish at the Dive Pirates booth, with a crew member verifying proof of piracy photos and sharing the code to register for the drawing.

“We hope all hunters will share their selfies on social media using #WhereIsDiamondEyeJack to share the fun and keep the conversation going,” added Brandes, who just completed a tour from Tennessee to Texas with the famed pirate Diamond Eye Jack, sharing the mission of bringing people of all abilities, especially injured veterans, into the world of mainstream diving.

The Dive Pirates Foundation thanks the following exhibitors for being a Treasure Hunt Pirate Partner and invites DEMA goers to visit their booths:

Of course, the Dive Pirates Foundation booth will also be a stop on the treasure hunt Booth #1409

The Foundation appreciates the pirate partners for not only participating, but also donating prizes for the drawing to be held Friday Nov. 19, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the Dive Pirates booth.

Wrapping up its 17th year of sharing the freedom of diving with people with different abilities, the Dive Pirates Foundation looks forward to meeting with dive centers, operators, resorts, manufacturers, and retailers to find win-win partnerships to pay it forward and bring more adaptive divers into the mainstream dive community.  Attendees and exhibitors are also encouraged to buy unique Dive Pirate merchandise on the online store, become a member with five different options to join, or donate to the foundation.

dpf hat snipThe Dive Pirates Foundation, a non-profit organization, positively impacts the lives of its recipients; injured military, first responders, law enforcement and others with mobile disabilities by welcoming them into adaptive scuba diving which fosters accomplishment, self-worth and community.  The Foundation trains, equips and conducts dive trips year-round to calm, warm-water locations for the safety of those with spinal cord injuries, networking with facilities willing to empower all participants with compassion and adaptation for a positive experience diving, team building, leadership and relationship building.  For more information about the Foundation go to www.divepirates.org.

For More Information:
Theresa Cortez
Director of Communications
Dive Pirates Foundation
Phone: 877-393-3483 ext. 4
Web: www.divepirates.org

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Buddy Dive Bonaire

Buddy Readers choice 2021Catch up with Your Buddies on Bonaire at DEMA 2021.

Bonaire, October 2021 – After months of canceled trade shows and restrictions, we are counting down the days for November 16, 2021, when we can meet again at DEMA in Las Vegas. Your Buddies on Bonaire will be present at booth #611 and are really looking forward to catching up with new and old partners and friends.

Especially now that Bonaire is open for tourism and many guests found their way back to Buddy Dive Resort and Belmar Oceanfront Apartments, we are looking forward to meeting our partners again and catching up on recent developments. We will be there to tell you everything about our beautiful resorts, travel to Bonaire and of course our attractive DEMA special.

Come and see us at DEMA and visit us at booth #611. We will be there and can’t wait to see you again!

About Buddy Dive Resort
Buddy Dive Resort, Bonaire’s leading dive hotel is known for its personable staff, spacious accommodations and a dive operation that has something for every diver. Today, the full-service resort is consisting of 7 modern buildings, housing spacious studio’s, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments, a full-service dive center, activity desk, two swimming pools, two restaurants, pool bar, vehicle rentals, and the famous drive-thru air and Nitrox fill station. Built with active people in mind, Buddy Dive Resort knows exactly what is needed to make guests comfortable both during their busy day of diving and exploring and during relaxing on the resort. Over the last few years, Buddy Dive Resort was recognized as one of the World’s Best Dive Resorts & Operations in Scuba Diving magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards. For more information visit www.buddydive.com.

For PR inquiries or other PR related questions, please contact marketing@sapiasbv.com
International Reservations: +599-717-5080
Toll Free (US & Canada): 1-866-GO-BUDDY
Buddy Dive Resort: www.buddydive.com

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Why It’s Better to Start Fresh

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpg Why It’s Better to Start Fresh.
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional
October 18, 2021


The Diving Industry is going through a paradigm shift.  A real one, this time.  A paradigm is a way we do things.  If we keep on doing the same things and get better and better results, then everything is fine, and the way it should be.  However, if we keep doing the same things and only getting the same results or worse, then we are not in a groove anymore, we are in a rut!  Many of the Diving Industry Advisors I have been speaking with lately, agree that the diving industry and many of its companies, are in a rut.  And it’s time we get out of this rut and make a change for the better.

With only a month before the industry’s annual trade event, there is talk about getting the band back together and making changes in the companies and organizations we have been dealing with in the past.  Some are saying, and rightfully so, that the diving industry is in trouble.  Something needs to be done to adapt to the new market realities, if scuba diving is to survive.  As much as I agree with these rock stars from another era, I have to say, after fighting this type of fight for over 40 years, I have learned that you can’t change the stripes on a Zebra.  They are going to continue to do what they do because of the structure of their organization, the people who are invested in its operation, the people that administrate its resource, the people that oversee that administration, and the agenda, goals, objectives, and desired outcomes of the organization.  We see it all the time.  They say they are going to do one thing and we buy into it.  Then we see them working on something totally different and what they said they were supposed to do, falls apart at the seams.  Here is the best part of this situation.  We are the ones with the check book, and we don’t have to buy into that anymore.  When I say “we” I mean every Dive Industry Professional who earns a part-time or full-time living in the industry.

It’s not for me to try to change a company that has no intention of changing.  Let the free market make that call.  If an organization is currently meeting the needs of their customers, they will do well and stay in business.  If they are not, then another organization will.  Successful companies vote with their dollars.  Let the voting begin.

Organizations that serve an industry’s needs must be transparent in their purpose for being in business.  A Mission Statement is not only a definition of who they are and what they do, it is a promise to the world that they will perform their mission to the best of their ability.  They must communicate what they do on behalf of their partners, members, and customers.  They must hire the right, qualified people to administrate the company resources to effectively complete the organization’s planned outcomes.  Organizations need to have a qualified Board of Advisors to see that their hired Administrators are doing the job they were hired for, and replace them if they fail in their task.

Here are my suggestions for working with individuals who are concerned about the scuba diving industry being in trouble. 

  • Agree to help define what the needs of the industry are.
  • Look at your own company’s Mission Statement.  Is your purpose for being in business clear?
  • Look at your planned outcomes.  Do your current inputs help achieve them?
  • Look at your organization.  Is it set up to accomplish your mission?
  • Look at your people.  Are they on-board to achieve your mission?
  • Look at your Advisors.  Are they qualified?  Do they support and enforce your mission?
  • Look at your success history.  Are you achieving your goals and growing?
  • Look at your scalable growth.  Do you have the right sized organization for your mission? 
  • Look at your products & services.  Do they meet the needs of your customers?
  • Look at new organizations in the industry.  Can networking with new organizations help build your company and make it more professional, productive, and profitable?  

DIA LOGO with tag 4cFor more information, contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net  Ask for a copy of our Member’s Guide and our Digital Trade Publication and Buyers Guide.


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Editorial – October 2021

Are We Good Administrators?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Welcome to the October 2021 Editorial. In the past few years, October has always been about getting ready for the industry’s annual trade show. Exhibitors would be checking over their booths and equipment samples and getting it all packed up for the show. Travel companies would be putting the final touches on their brochures, catalogs and marketing pieces to showcase their show specials for the onslaught of Retail Travel Buyers to come. All that has changed. This year we are not only preparing for our customers who are going to the show but we are also preparing for our customers who will not be in attendance. Why is all this happening?

Before you jump to the conclusion and say that it is all the fault of the covid pandemic, allow me to give you my humble opinion. It’s not the fault of the covid pandemic. It is our fault for not managing the situation correctly. In life, we are all faced with challenges and obstacles. It is up to us to be good administrators and correctly deal with the situation at hand. After all, we are the Good Stewards of our company’s resources and must do everything within our limitations to complete a successful outcome set by the goals and objectives of our company.

In the past two blogs and editorials I talked about your purpose in business and whether or not you were being truthful to that purpose, or calling. Shortly after writing those two articles about purpose, I was introduced to a book by Dan Stallbaum entitled, Positioning For Breakthrough. Dan talks about how successful administrators manage their companies, direct their people, govern activity, while being a good steward and responsibly managing the company resources. I was blown away.

I have always talked about the importance of the business of diving. While people in your diving company need to be doing the things that your company does, i.e. teaching diving, selling gear, taking divers out diving, and keeping divers active, someone has to be running the business. It’s like that in every business, regardless of the type of business you’re in. Someone has to work in the business and someone has to work on the business. Pastor Dan even talked about Church Administrators who must be responsible for running the church and correctly and honestly administrating the resources entrusted to them by the congregation. All that administrating has to be done while the Pastors and Ministers are doing the work their church was built for.

Same thing in the diving industry. We belong or do business with a company because we want them to do certain things for us. We expect them to achieve certain outcomes for us, like building products, or creating and maintaining dive destinations, or running a consumer or trade event. We entrust them with our time, money and manpower and we expect they will work on our outcomes and administer our resources honestly and professionally. In the end, we just want a successful outcome for us.

That brings me to my whole point. If the company you are in has declared their purpose for being in business, they have to hire the right people to carry out that purpose. So the purpose for being in business has to be clear and transparent to its customers. The people who are hired to administer the company’s resources must be qualified and dedicated Administrators. If your company is not doing the things it is designed to do, then you have the wrong people. If your people are not doing a good job in bringing positive results to your planned outcomes, you have to get new people. It’s as simple as that.

Dale Carnegie taught us how not to criticize, condemn or complain. In that spirit, we won’t point out the errors of other companies. Instead, the Dive Industry Association will continue to improve our services to the International Diving Community. We will continue to bring Buyers and Sellers together to increase economic development in the diving community. We will offer our Members FREE Press Releases to promote their companies and their products. We will include them in our Directories, Websites, and Databases to give them more marketing exposure. We will represent them at Regional and National Shows & Events via face-to-face, digital, virtual and hybrid formats. We will continue listing them in our Buyers Guide to connect them with their customers. AND we will work with Dive Equipment Manufacturers and Travel Destinations to reach their Retail Dive Center Customers, using all the marketing vehicles that are necessary to complete the mission.

It’s not about what other companies are not doing. It’s about what unmet needs currently exist in our community that need to be addressed. Our Purpose for being in business is clear. Our Mission is to Bring Buyers and Sellers together to grow the industry. Our Goal is to be the Good Steward of the International Diving Community. That’s our promise to you.

For more information, a member application or an opportunity to volunteer as an Industry Advisor, contact Gene Muchanski, Dive Industry Association, Inc. at gene@diveindustry.net


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Your Purpose in Life & in Business

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgYour Purpose in Business 
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional.  

We all have a purpose in life.  A reason we are here.  A job that was assigned to us from the beginning of time.  What’s yours?

I believe those of us who were called to go into business also have a purpose.  A purpose to do something with our lives using the God given talents we were born with.  Using the experience we’ve gained along the way to help our fellow man.  Yes, we are all given time, talents and human resources to do good things for ourselves and the people of the world.  Are you doing what you were called to do?  And more importantly, are you being truthful to your calling?

We see people in the diving industry start their careers because of one thing and somehow get on the wrong path because of lack of insight or just plain bad mentorship.   As an example.  I started scuba diving when I was fifteen.  To me, that was the coolest thing I had ever done.  I loved to dive and would do it every chance I got.  How many of you wanted to be a Diver when you grew up?  Well, anyway, it became my life’s ambition to be a Diver.  When it was time to serve my Country, I chose to be a Navy Diver.  I loved the running, swimming, and working out, and the diving opportunities were out of this world.  Diving from Submarines was an awesome experience.  My number one passion was being satisfied.  Being in the Supply Corps, while serving as a Diver, was fulfilling because I was working in the business side of diving, my second passion.  I even became a Scuba Instructor while on active duty and was able to engage in my life’s third passion, teaching.  I was diving, teaching and working in the business side of diving.  Life couldn’t get any better.

When my four years in the Navy were up, it was time to move on  and continue my diving career.  My passion for Business brought me to the University of Connecticut where I majored in Marketing.  I was passionate about diving so I stayed in the Navy Reserves and rose through the ranks as a Hard Hat Diver, Mixed Gas Diver, Chamber Operator and Diving Supervisor. I also  had the opportunity to teach scuba classes at the University of Connecticut.  Teaching classes of 25 students with 14 TA’s assisting was very rewarding indeed.

Life in the active duty Navy was fun, no question about it.  Young diver, traveling the world, not a lot of responsibility.  Life was good.  Life at the University was sobering.  More knowledge, more responsibility, and more focus of purpose.  Life was still fun, in an adult kind of way.  Because of my continuing work in the Diving & Salvage Navy, I realized that no one pays you to be a Diver.  They pay you to do work while you’re diving.  I could weld good enough in practice but not good enough if the ship’s integrity depended on it.  And my demolition skills were dangerous to be around, to say the least.  I knew a little about det-cord and time fuse.  One is black and one is white.  I get the two mixed up.  I can remember an EOD Tech saying, “Chief, put the explosives down and back away from the table, slowly.”  For me demolition was all or nothing.  If using a pound of C4 was required for the job, then 2 pounds should be twice as good.  Right?  Obviously, I could blow things up, but you wouldn’t want me in charge of blowing the screw (propeller) off of an aircraft carrier.  In short, I was not destined to be a Commercial Diver.

OK, so I realized that I was passionate about diving, but not about working diving.  I’ve been happy to leave the working diving to the professional commercial divers while I continued my passion for recreational diving, for fun.  And that brings up an excellent point.  If you are passionate about diving, then go diving. I know too many people in our industry that became scuba instructors and dive store owners because they love diving, only to find out that they were so busy teaching classes or working in the store, they didn’t get much opportunity to go fun diving.  Were they being true to their Life’s Passion?  I think not.

My passion for teaching continued throughout my career.  I made the distinction between scuba instruction and teaching business classes  but it was the passion for teaching that motivated me to teach both.  While I taught scuba classes, I felt that my purpose was to train people to become active divers.  I always believed, and still do today, that scuba instructors should teach people how to dive, buy their gear, go diving and stay active.  Too many times I see Instructors teaching classes and specialty courses because they like teaching and not because their students need the classes.  I guess if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail to you. (No, I was not referring to you Patrick!)

I am glad I realized that one of my passions was teaching and not just teaching scuba.  We all know, or will know soon enough, that teaching diving is very physical.  It’s a great job for a young diver in good shape but is challenging for older, less physically active individuals.  It takes a certain amount of physical ability to carry the gear, swim the distance and have the physical ability to perform rescue techniques if needed.  As we get older, or succumb to illness, like arthritis, teaching diving becomes more difficult and demanding, and even dangerous for our students.  At some point, every Instructor has to hang up their fins.  What will you do with your passion for teaching when that day comes?  Will you have something to fall back on?

Because I have been involved in scuba diving retailing for many years, it’s a subject that is close to my heart.  As I’ve said, I have always been passionate about diving, teaching and business, so opening a Dive Store was a natural progression for me.   But it is not a natural progression for many Dive Industry Professionals today.  How many times have you heard a retailer say they opened a dive store so they could go diving more?  Without a clear plan that takes your passion and purpose into account, you could be spending 80 – 100 hours a weeks in the store and teaching.  Not much time for fun diving with that kind of schedule.  

I don’t think all dive retailers are being true to their passion and purpose.  I know that many have not even thought about it.  When I look at the Retail Industry in the United States, I think about the training and commitment of the owners, directors and executives of the large Retail Sporting Goods Stores, a subcategory of the Retail Industry.   They usually have a degree in business and their professional development training is usually in sales, marketing, accounting, finance and law.  When I look at the retail stores that specialize in diving I see a lot of diver training and course director training but little if any business training.  I have also seen thousands of business cards from Dive Retailers in the past 50 years and I see that most owners and managers identify themselves as Instructor,  Course Director, or some other type of training agency title.  A number of successful store owners identify themselves as Owner, President, or CEO.  It’s all a matter of perspective, not a case of right or wrong.  But what you think of yourself as, is a good indication where your passion and purpose lay.  

This article wasn’t meant to pick on Scuba Instructors or Professional Retailers.  It’s just what I have observed in the industry because of my own personal preferences and passion.  As a Professional Educator and Business Person, I see what is happening in the industry and I relate it to my personal experience.  I have seen Dive Industry Professionals in many of the other sectors of the Industry make the same mistakes in not realizing their purpose or not living up to their passion.

One of my interests is trade and consumer shows.  For over 40 years I have been attending and exhibiting at dive shows.  Running a show takes a lot of focus and hard work.  It is not something you do part time while pursuing another interest as a consultant or trying to become a government lobbyist.  There are NGO’s who specialize in lobbying the government on behalf of your industry.  They are paid by organizations who raise funds specifically for that purpose.  Again, we are talking about honesty, transparency, and integrity.

Our industry has two critical needs in this post-pandemic era.  We need to start a trade show company who’s sole purpose is to organize six Regional Trade Shows and one National Buying Show.  The funding for the organization and the shows will be supported by the revenue generated by the shows.  A second, and separate company our industry desperately needs is a non-profit, non-government organization, who’s purpose is to lobby the U.S. Government, and International Organizations if successful, on matters that pertain to our recreation profession, the marine environment and the flora and fauna of the marine environment.  To fund an organization with this mandate would be enormous and will take major international fund raising events.  I know the interest is there.  And we can do this.

By creating new organizations that are guided by their purpose in the industry, it would be a worthwhile challenge to form a team of advisors who’s own purposes in life are used to create a better industry and a better recreational environment for everyone.  It can be done.  Who’s ready?


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Editorial – September 2021

What is Your Business Purpose?
by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

cropped-gene-roatan-1.jpgWelcome to the September 2021 Editorial. Every month we start off with a topic to get our industry conversation going again. What is important to us this month? Where is the industry heading now? Monthly editorials used to simulate us into action. Now, with all that is happening in the world, our editorials seem to be calming us down and getting us back on track in this chaotic world. Whether you need stimulation or calming down, it is good to reconnect with your industry once a month and there is no better place than in our Industry Blog. Welcome to September.

I started this editorial last week with the title “What is Your Purpose?” and then I turned it into a full blown article with the title, “Are You True to Your Purpose?”  The article came out well, and will be featured in our September Newsletter, but for now I want to get back on track by asking if you have a reason for being in business.  What is your purpose?

The Dive Industry Foundation is going to publish my new book,  about the process of going into business as a Scuba Retailer.  I’ve done it myself 36 years ago, and I’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs start their own business, while consulting at Costa Mesa Community College, the University of Houston, and now the Dive Industry Foundation.  Even with all of that work and research behind me, it still is a major process to go through when you decide to open your own dive store.  We all feel that if our book can help a future dive store owner successfully plan the opening of a new watersports retail store, it could save them thousands of dollars and significant time, talent and manhours.

There are many questions a prospective retailer has to ask before going into business for themselves.  Besides the obvious questions like, what are you going to sell and who are you going to sell to, you have to know why you are doing this in the first place.  We ask you right up front, What is Your Purpose?   In other words, why are you doing this?  What do you expect to gain by going into business for yourself?  What is your purpose?

In the beginning of every Business Plan is the Executive Summary.  The very first question in the Executive Summary of our business plan format is the topic, The Company Mission.  Your mission statement is the reason you are going into business.  It’s what you are telling the world what your purpose is.  It’s your calling.  It’s your purpose.  It’s 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 have investors, sponsors, employees or members, you must be truthful to 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.

If you are already in business, it should be an annual agenda item to go back and read your company mission statement to remind yourself why you are in business.  Then look at the actions you’ve taken, to complete outcomes, that produced results for your company.  Now ask yourself, Was I truthful to my purpose?  Did I tell the truth to my Members, Sponsors and Customers?  Did the company revenue go to accomplishing the written Company Mission Statement?

Your purpose in life is your reason for being.  Fulfilling your purpose in business may be more than you answering your vocational calling.  It may also be your purpose in life.  Period.


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Introducing – Retailers Only News

DIA_RETAIL_LOGODive Industry Retailers: Special Edition For Retailers Only. We have so much to say to the Dive Stores in this country and around the world. Call it a passion. Maybe it’s a calling. It definitely is our Industry Mandate. Dive Stores are the heart beat of the Diving Industry. Everyone wants to reach them. No one wants to share them. We are starting a Retail Only News. We will highlight Trade Show Specials, Fall Specials, FAM Trips, and News relevant to Dive Store Retailers. We’ll post Dive Store Surveys and share the results. We will ask for Volunteers to participate in the DIVE LOCAL program that is building strong Regional Dive Communities and we’ll recommend Membership in the Dive Industry Association. Above all, we’ll show you the necessity of collectively working together to increase the communications between the Dive Retail Sector and the Industry. Subscription is by invitation only. Retailers – Look for your invitation this week or email Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net 

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Editorial – August 1, 2021

Just In Time Marketing. by Gene Muchanski, Editor Dive Industry Professional Welcome to the August Editorial. This month’s blog editorial came to me in the middle of the night.  I was tossing and turning over a very unprofessional policy decision that one event director had made a few days ago.  A number of exhibitors took issue with the director because he was prohibiting them from advertising or promoting products from a certain, extremely popular and professional company.  This company is not only very popular with the other exhibitors and attendees, it’s environmentally friendly products are in-line with the current pro clean-environment issues of the day.  Because of his email, he lost a number of exhibitors.  He also lost, or will loose a lot of support from the exhibiting community, who doesn’t like being told what they can advertise, promote, or sell in their booths.  Especially when the restrictions are not published in the exhibitor’s contract and someone tells you of their “decision” a week before the show. In today’s fragile economy, there are too many options available to exhibiting companies to settle for this type of treatment.  But this editorial is not about this event director’s decision.  You will be able to read a much longer, in debt story about Your Purpose In Life and Are You True and Honest To Your Beliefs”  sometime in the near future. Let’s get back to Just in Time Marketing.”  The idea for the editorial came from Just in Time Ordering.  In the Retail industry, carrying inventory is very costly.  It also takes a lot of pre-planning to anticipate inventory needs for a certain period of time, based on prior sales and future anticipated needs.  Retailers have to establish high, low and reorder limits so they are never in an out-of-stock situation.  As equipment wholesalers became more sophisticated and computerized, they were able to take on the responsibility of carrying enough finished goods inventory to allow their Dealers to order just what they needed, when they needed it. That was a big relief to small retailers.  They were able to carry a much smaller inventory, and only order merchandise when they needed it.  Unfortunately, that way of ordering is long gone because of the covid pandemic.  The entire supply chain is having raw materials and finished goods shortages, and Retailers have to go back to planning and carrying a sufficient inventory so they always have stock-on-hand when they need it.  The advice for today is to order as soon as you can and stock up while supplies are available. Carrying inventory and marketing have a lot in common.  Both take an immense amount of planning and of course, computer sophistication.  Marketing paves the way for sales and to be successful at it, you have to know the difference between short-term, mid-term and long-term planning.  To me, long term planning is 1 year out.  With a strong business purpose you should be writing down your long-term goals in your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan.  As your projected outcomes get closer to the 6 month mark, your mid-term planning should take over.  With a good long-term and mid-term understanding of what you want to accomplish, your short term marketing becomes your Just In Time Marketing Plan.  But here is the catch.  You can’t activate Just In Time Marketing if you haven’t prepared for it.  Let me explain. Part of long-term planning is developing data on the programs, products, and services you sell.  That’s all a part of Product Management. Secondly, you have to have your customer databases in order.  That’s Customer Management.  Are all of your contacts in your database current?  Are the mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers still valid?  Is your marketing software up-to-date and running smoothly?  When was the last time you sent out a campaign?  What was your bounce rate or return rate?  The big question is, do your current customers still know who you are? Long term planning in the international diving community is required to let all Dive Industry Professionals know what you are doing a year from now.  It gives everyone a chance to put the event on their calendar and consider whether they should participate or not.  If they are going to participate, it gives them ample time to register for the event, book their airfare and hotel and advertise the fact they will be in attendance or exhibiting at the event.  As the event draws closer, they can update their customers and/or vendors of their event plans.  Your Just In Time Marketing can be a quick reminder of the next few months, weeks, or days. If you have done a good job at long-term and mid-term planning, your Just In Time Marketing efforts can be engaged within hours, if not minutes.  Why is this important?  Because when we are faced with a difficult situation like “Are we still exhibiting at a show this weekend?” we can tell the other exhibitors, the prospective attendees and the event sponsors if we are or are not participating and supporting the event, and why.  Your communication ability improves tremendously when you keep your finger on the pulse of your community.  That goes for the supply side and the demand side of your industry sector. The ability to communicate with your community, both Buyers & Sellers, is a very important skill to master, for Marketing Professionals.  That is why we wrote the white paper, “Staying in-synch with the Global Diving Community” published in September 2018.  It appears now that we have to update this white paper and bring it back to our business community.


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