The Edge - Q2 2011 - (Page 18)

BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS | by Mitch Smith Smart Tips to Boost Profits WHILE SOME ESTIMATES tell us that a few more pools were built in 2010 than 2009 nationwide, we all know that the pool and spa industry has taken a hit over the past few years. The perfect storm of plummeting realestate values, massive unemployment and overcautious consumers has produced a tough climate for pool and spa companies. However, sharp-eyed pool and spa professionals are weathering this storm with smooth moves to survive the rolling markets. Today, the successful pool and spa entrepreneur reads. I’m not talking about kicking back with a James Patterson novel, but READS, as in Retail, Expertise, Accessories, Display, and Service. have diversified into these more retailoriented categories. Also, examine the successful categories you’re already in and look at expanding the range of what you offer. For example, if you already sell automatic pool cleaners, can you offer a wider variety? Is there a less expensive option that might be more popular in a down economy? You don’t want to risk too much investment in inventory, but going from two SKUs to four in some maintenance-related items gives customers more options and, hopefully, encourages them to continue to purchase. control methods, etc., applying what you know to a related category could be a great move. EXPERTISE Who in your community could benefit from your expertise? Are there home builders who would like to add water features to their portfolios? Could landscapers learn about aquatics from you? How big of a stretch would it be to plow snow using trucks and equipment you already own? Use your expertise to branch out into similar kinds of work. If you are a pool builder with your own fleet of construction vehicles, consider similar kinds of jobs. Even if people are not building new pools, other forms of home improvement may be unavoidable. Have you built pool decks? If so, you could be a deck repair expert. In many areas, building codes dictate that things like deck railings and steps meet certain safety requirements. If a repair or renovation is needed, will home owners ask you to bid on the job? Raise awareness that you have these skills and can take care of your customers above and beyond pool building. RETAIL While fewer families are building new pools in the current economy, the in-ground pool’s more affordable cousins — above-ground pools and hot tubs — may be worth taking seriously. The marketing stories are similar, many of the ongoing maintenance and service issues are similar and many of the add-on items are similar. For these reasons, many pool builders 18 Branching out even further into closely related categories can help you capitalize on the “staycation” trend that is inextricably linked to the sluggish economy. Consider, if you haven’t already, adding billiards, outdoor accessories, patio furniture, rec room furnishings, etc. Like swimming pools and spas, these product categories give families fun ways to enjoy staying home. And their business models will be familiar to the successful pool retailer. If you already have a warehouse, display area, employees, inventory ACCESSORIES The time of the year when people are not actively using and maintaining their pools is also the time when they are racing around looking for holiday gifts. Help them out by stocking fun gifts, like duckies for

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Edge - Q2 2011

The Edge - Q2 2011
The President’s Message
Letters to the Editor
Delivering Retail IMPACT
Are Your Suppliers Giving You the Tools You Need to Succeed?
Smart Tips to Boost Profi ts Today’s pool and spa professionals know how to survive a tough economic climate.
Project Focus
Succession Planning for Your Pool and Spa Business
Service Excellence Done Right Pools & Spas knows the secret.
Water Testing – Back to Basics
Promoting Your Business with Email
Index of Advertisers

The Edge - Q2 2011