John Beldock, co-owner of Erico Motorsports, a Top 100 Dealer of the Year in Denver, Co.
Dealernews: What is your gameplan for taking on 2011? What specific changes are you making?
Beldock: Our changes have been made (crossed fingers). We responded to dismal 2010 numbers by reducing as much expense as needed to meet the “new” revenue levels. Our GP remains acceptable despite thin deals on the sales floor.
DN: What missteps, if any, did you make in 2010?
Beldock: Waiting longer than we should have to accept the fact that the year was not to be what we had hoped for.
DN: Based on those experiences, what are you going to do differently in 2011?
Beldock: We will ramp up for spring and summer sales in a more reactionary manner, letting the sales bury us a bit before adding too much staff. We are also being very conservative with our ordering.
DN: 2010 wasn’t a great year for most of our industry, but how did the market or economic conditions specifically affect you or your business?
Beldock: 2010 taught us more than any other year has. This time it is do or die; playtime is over. I wished I would have allowed myself to learn this lesson 10 years ago. Revenue is what it is. If the swings are there and sales aren’t, obviously the first thing you look at are your systems. If you determine that your systems are solid and you are swinging away without hits, it may just be that people are waiting to buy. Take what you can get and weather the storm as best you can.
DN: What would you have done differently in 2010 if you had possessed a crystal ball?
Beldock: In addition to my answer above, I would have reduced inventory a little sooner and relied on OEM stores to fill in on an as needed basis.
DN: What did you do right in 2010?
Beldock: We adjusted the way we look at expenses and made some difficult choices to go without some of the “comforts” of extra admin staff. I think the multi-tasking of our reduced staff has brought us closer together and more efficient. In our time of need, I put myself on the sales floor and on the F&I desk as back up to our already killer sales staff. This has proven to be a good move and it showed me that I can still sell; and it’s fun.