MDCE 2013: Opportunities for dealers come with change

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The theme of the discussion during a meeting Monday of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo was the opportunities that come with change.

“There’s good change and bad change, but with change comes opportunity,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn told the audience. “You’re here to bring new ideas back to your business for good change.”

Speaker John Spence continued that theme, urging conferees to stop wasting time and energy worrying about factors outside their control — the economy, their competition — and focus on “the finite and manageable” elements within their control and concentrate on improving those.

Spence advised owners to strive to improve their business through change.

“Create a clear vision for successful change and communicate it relentlessly,” he said, “and empower your employees to act. If they have ownership, they’ll commit to change.”

One avenue of improvement is found in other successful businesses. Spence urged conferees to become “awesome at swiping” good ideas. “You should go through your entire day saying, ‘Where’s the good idea I can swipe and bring back to my dealership?’ ”

He also said little day-to-day victories should be celebrated.

“It’s not going to get easy again. This is the new normal,” Spence said of the modern business world.

He stressed that having a core philosophy and hiring top talent are things that should never change and that credibility and keeping the trust of customers are essential to long-term success.

“When you begin accepting mediocrity, you become a magnet for mediocrity,” he said.

— Rich Armstrong

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