|photo courtesy of SailingNJ.com
In the northeastern US, we all know that pleasure boating is a very short season. We’re lucky if we get six months of in-water use of our boats. Unfortunately a lot of business owners in this industry (who are often boat owners as well) think like boat owners regarding the season. If this us you, please stop!
The period between November 15th and March 15th is a vital one in the boating industry. This is NOT your hibernation period; it is the core period in which you can get the best work done. Consider tasks like:
- Conducting physical inventory;
- Upgrading facilities - painting, carpet, decor, signage, in-store fixtures;
- Revising Web site and e-com platform;
- Replacing or maintaining computers, printers, POS systems, Wifi providers;
- Training staff on all new procedures and equipment;
- Meeting with vendors, discussing forecasts for purchasing and selling;
- Meeting with your favorite business consultant to see how to improve your operation before the big business happens ;).
For marina operators, regular inspection of the yard through the often-brutal Northeast winter is an absolute must. Blocking and stands of boats should be inspected at least weekly; boat covers and shrinkwrap need to be maintained; storage areas for batteries and motors need to be kept from freezing; pilings, bulkheads and docks need to be cared for.
For store owners and service shops, this is a good time to inspect, repair or replace, or add to existing tools and machines and the physical facility itself. Rearranging the place to make it look and work better can’t be done at a better time.
In all cases, this ‘dead’ period is the best time to improve your business’s procedural efficiency and marketing visibility. If you haven’t getting much Web traffic so far, consider revamping the site’s content and how it gets discovered in searches. If you’ve had problems tracking in-store sales, consider upgrading to a modern, cost-effective POS system that tracks all your sales, customers, and inventory. If you’ve had problems getting staff up to speed, bring them in for hands-on training at a time when mistakes can have much less effect. And if you’ve had too little time to keep in touch with customers, compose and send out thoughful, focused e-mails to remind them of what you’d like to do for them.
All of this might be problematic to address during the high season. So instead of burrowing under a blanket all winter, shake the cold out of your bones and keep busy with the groundwork that provides an easier, more efficient, and more lucrative summer season. And plan on enjoying the summer with a week or two away for yourself!
The longer one waits after New Year’s, the more hectic getting ready for the season will be. I specialize in helping you upgrade the business, especially in matters related to inventory control, customer service, and general promotions, in a manner that is easy and economical for the business owner. I listen as much as I teach and will do as much as you’d like me to do. Get in touch; and we’ll see how we can get your business ready for when you need to be operating at full-steam-ahead.