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Lesson Learned on How to Survive and Even Thrive in Difficult Times

Rod Stuckey | 04/02/2020
I’ve been working in this industry since 1993 and have certainly never experienced an opponent quite as mysterious as this invisible enemy we’ve all faced throughout the last couple of months. As I write this April is winding down and it looks like most dealers are figuring out a way to conduct business one way or another.  One of the positives throughout this situation has been watching how different dealers in different parts of the country have improvised, adapted, and overcome to do the best they can considering their circumstances.
Obviously, different dealers in different parts of the country have had to deal with different situations. Whether those be state and county restrictions or just the physical location of the dealership in proximity to the higher outbreak areas.


Last month I was talking to an OEM rep strong in the UTV segment who said they were actually running out of product because their rural dealers were so busy. Shannon Brown and her team at Road and Track Powersports have been absolutely killing it during April. I’ve spoken with Keith Johnston at Bobby J’s Yamaha and those guys out in New Mexico just keep on grinding and figuring out a way deliver units despite a closed showroom. And Curtis Sloan up at Sloan’s Cycle in Tennessee and his team are still rolling units, as are dozens and dozens of other dealers we speak with daily in nearly every corner of the country. 

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not sticking my head in the sand, because there are also dealers closing their doors, doing layoffs, and struggling to make ends meet.  Heck, here at PSM we just had the worst March and most likely April we’ve had in the last several years. How are we as an industry supposed recover when so much is out of our control, the enemy is invisible, and there are not really any dealerships who’ve been through this before that we can look to for wisdom. 

Well, maybe we haven’t been through this exact situation before, but our industry has had its share of trying times in the past and there are still lots to learn from those times. 
Back in the late 80’s through early 90’s this industry experienced 14 years of straight growth, 13 of which were double digit. We were hit by 9-11 in 2001 and that created a pretty scary dip, but we rebounded fast. But then came the recession of 08 and 09 and our dealer network shrunk by nearly half. 

So what was the difference between those dealerships who thrived and those who didn’t make it? 

Good times and a strong economy tend disguise a plethora of operations and marketing sins. The dealers I have witnessed firsthand not only survive, but even thrive in tough times are those who are willing to embrace change, and make the necessary adjustments required. 
We all have a choice. When can say “This sucks.. why is this happening to me? Or we can say “This is happening for me, and I’m going to learn from it and come out stronger on the other side.”
We can choose to learn and grow and challenge ourselves in difficult times, or we can step into fear and give up and squander the opportunities to learn. 
When we’re challenged, when we struggle, the harder things get, the more opportunity we have to make gains and learn.
 
If we stay hungry, we stay busy, and we stay productive, somehow, some way, we’re going to come out better on the other side. I have faith.
We hear about the American economy on the news and social media as if it’s one big category. In reality, the American Economy is made up of 3 very different sectors. There is the “Political” sector funded by us tax payers where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine deciding how our money will be spent. Corruption happens all too often in this sector with city officials like former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who with the help of his friends extorted city contractors and used public funds as his own piggy bank extorting millions of dollars.
  

Here’s how it was explained to me. There are 3 economies. One is the ‘Political’ economy where Washington operatives, lawyers, lobbyists, and lifelong politicians revolve around a fake money machine, much paid for by you and I, which is littered with corruption. Then there is the ‘Wall Street’ fake economy where industry insiders and researchers seek to capitalize profits in any manner possible, including fraud and collusion, to maximize personal enrichment. Then, of course, there is a conduit of systemic corruption and legalized bribery flowing between the two. 
 
The 3rd economy is Main Street America, where you and I live, in your town and mine. Where small-to-medium sized business drive the economy, do real work, and provide real jobs. In the first two economies, up is often down, and left is often right. No logic. However, in the Main Street economy honesty, hard work, and smart business reign supreme. 
 
This is important to understand, because only in the 3rd economy do the laws of nature have authority. In the first two, it’s a fantasy land. You and I have to understand where we live and work, in the Main Street economy, and not drift over into watching and copycatting those other two worlds which have no relevance to us. 
adversity we all have a choice. When can say “This sucks.. why is this happening to me? Or  we can say “This is happening for me, and I’m going to learn from it and come out stronger on the other side..”
 
We can choose to learn and grow and challenge ourselves in difficult times, or we can step into fear and give up and squander the opportunities to learn. 
 
When we’re challenged, when we struggle, the harder things get, the more opportunity we have to make gains and learn.
 
If we stay hungry, we stay busy, and we stay productive, somehow, some way, we’re going to come out better on the other side. I have faith.

PSM Marketing

825 Highway 74 South
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Tel: (877) 242-4472
Int: (770) 692-1750
Text: (770) 692-1750

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