Formula for success: Measure twice, cut once

Publish Date: 
Feb 3, 2014
By Tracy Harris

SOME OF US LOVE NUMBERS. Some of us love to ask questions, gather opinions and think it through. Others… does “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” sound familiar?

Whatever your personal preference, both numbers and information create the blueprints for your business success. Did you sell more or less this month? Is the economy trending up or down? How much inventory do you have on-hand?

You use numbers to manage your business and measure your success. You use numbers to determine sales incentive programs, to evaluate major equipment purchases and to make expansion decisions. It’s not the only criteria you use, but any decision you make without quantifying it on one level or another increases your risk significantly.

And you also talk to your peers, because while you’ve been busy measuring your back room for storage shelves and bins, they’ve discovered another way that would save time and increase efficiency.

The way we make business decisions is no different from you. When we first considered changing Dealer Expo, we didn’t start with numbers — we started with you. We listened to what you had to say about your business and the industry, and what value Dealer Expo provided. Among other things, you told us:

  • A show held during your selling season wasn’t viable.
  • A show held during slow sales periods was challenging because you were strapped for cash and free time. Who would mind the store?

While your feedback was invaluable and pointed us in the right direction, we still needed to quantify it. When exactly is the selling season for most dealers?  When is the lowest sales point of the year for the majority of retailers? When we conducted our research in 2013, the results indicated that the primary selling season for most of you was between March 1 and Oct. 31. January and February were too late, you told us, because you needed to be ready for a riding season that started in mid-February in many areas of the country, including the Midwest. You therefore had to make your decisions on which PG&A lines to offer in fourth quarter for the upcoming year.

Dealernews recently asked ADP Lightspeed to provide a retail snapshot for a separate editorial project.  While those results are not provided here, we can confirm that ADP Lightspeed examined about 1,300 retailers across the country and found that January is the lowest sales month, followed by February, November and December.  This holds true for both the metric and V-twin markets.

Peak sales months are (in descending order) May, August, June and July, with April, October, March and September tightly bracketing them.  (continued)