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“Never waste a good crisis!”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it: “Never waste a good crisis.” If you know anything about Netanyahu, a decorated soldier in the Israeli Army, you would likely assume he was referring to some incident in Israel. He was not.

Instead, he was at the 2009 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum’s in Davos, Switzerland, when he reportedly gave his advice to those attending the conference from around the globe. It seems to me he could have just as easily been conveying his wisdom to marine dealers.

What Netanyahu was preaching is a simple idea: A crisis really generates an opportunity to look at your products and services, indeed your entire business from top to bottom, and determine whether you are truly delivering value to your customers. And there’s never been a better time to do it since we are in crisis mode.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Harvard Business School professor Bill George characterized a crisis as the best opportunity to change things – to add new products or services and to gain market share. Most people look at an economic crisis as something to “get through” until they can go back to business as usual. Don’t be “most people.” Besides, business “as usual” will be changed by all that’s happening now anyway, so why wait to be reactive to the changes, be proactive and make changes.

The truth is it’s much more difficult and much less likely that you’ll make changes when business is good and things are going well. That’s because when the economy is robust and we’re making money, we all fall for that old idea – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Managers and staff assume they doing the job and no one is motivated to think about change.?
Conversely, when the economy is in the tank, everyone is naturally open minded and interested in finding new, better ways to generate business. Ideas will freely flow in such times. After all, if nothing else, self-preservation can be a motivator!

So, if there was ever a time to stop and rethink your business — examining everything your dealership is doing, from every single product you’re investing in to every way you think you’re meeting customer expectations — it’s now! Not just how to survive, but how to grow! And, it’s not just a task for the owner. It should be a staff project, looking to answer questions like: Which products are the least successful and might be dropped; What products have we always wanted or should we get to increase business; What can we do to get customers to give us more of their business; Where do we waste out time and money; Who’s going out of business and how do grab that market share. Well, you get the idea — questions about the business as it is and where it should be expected to go now and after the recession.

The dealers that do it now will be far ahead when the turnaround comes. They’ll be positioned to capture business and grow. Those that don’t take time to do it now . . . well, they will have wasted a good crisis!

Comments

4 comments on ““Never waste a good crisis!”

  1. Rosanna Aiello

    I agree with you. My husband and I own Davey Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale. Our dealership has been at this location for over thirty years. We have taken the approach that in order to remain a successful business in these tough economic times we would need to implement some changes so we may continue to grow. First, we bought out an old partner and brought in another gentleman. Our sales department is now being run with a fresh approach. Second, we are cleaning! With the help of our great staff, our boatyard and service department is getting a much needed make-over/renovation. Our website, that just about a year ago could have been mistaken for the old video game of Pong and is now modern and relative and easy to navigate. Best of all, we have just completed the Dealer Certification Process for NMMA. I believe, that with our staff and management’s positive energy added to our many solid years of quality service our dealership will be more than ready when the turnaround comes.

  2. LARRY RODRIGUEZ

    I BELIEVE IN TIMES OF CRISIS THOSE THAT DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CHANGE, MORE THAN LIKELY WILL NOT SURVIVE THE CRISIS, AND WITH SO MANY BUSINESSES CLOSING THEIR DOORS, IT IS OBVIOUS MANY OF THOSE CONTINUED “BUSINESS AS USUAL”.
    WHEN THE WALLS APPEAR TO BE CRUMBLING IS TIME TO START MIXING CEMENT. I HAVE LOST TWO BUSINESSES IN THE PAST, AND EACH TIME AS CONSEQUENCE OF NOT SEEING THE END, AND WORSE YET, NOT BELIEVING MORE CHANGES WERE NECESSARY.
    OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW HINDSIGHT IS 20-20, AND CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF CHANGE DOES NOT NECESSARILY PROVIDE THE POSITIVE OUTCOME OR REWARDS NEEDED, BUT IT IS BETTER THAN DOING NOTHING!
    ASSESSMENTS OF YOUR BUSINESS IS AN EVERY MONTH, WEEK, AND SOMETIMES EVERY DAY RESPONSE OF ACTION. TIMES LIKE THE PRESENT ARE IDEAL TO GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD PER SAY, AND CLOSELY LOOK AT WHAT’S WRONG, AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
    I DON’T KNOW IF IT WILL ALLOW YOU TO SURVIVE, BUT AT LEAST IT MIGHT GIVE YOU INSIGHTS TO CHANGE YOU DIDN’T SEE BEFORE, OR KNEW BUT MAY HAVE “PUT OFF FOR LATER”.
    KEEP IN MIND THAT IF “IT WAS EASY, EVERYONE WOULD BE DOING IT”.

  3. JACK DOLAN

    BRUNSWICK MOVES NEW MODEL YEAR INTRODUCTION TO THE FALL OF 2010!!!!!!!……MANY YEARS AGO I SUGGESTED THIS TO A BRUNSWICK EXECUTIVE. I MADE THE CASE THAT IT WOULD REALLY BE TO THE DEALERS ADVANTAGE AND IN AS MUCH AS WE WERE PARTNERS, ETE,ETC. HE STOPPED MY CONVERSATION AND SAID BRUNSWICK WOULD HAVE TO BE CLOSE TO “BEING IN HELL WITH THEIR BACK BROKE” BEFORE THEY WOULD MAKE THAT MOVE. MY QUESTION HOW CLOSE ARE THEY? JACK DOLAN

  4. jim

    The short answer, Jack, has always been the builders will make a move when it is in their best interests to do so; despite what their dealer body may or may not want. This is a shining example; and your friend’s statement is a shining example of their arrogance.

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