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Jul. 13, 2009 – Bold Ideas: The culmination of a huge, industry-wide effort

July 13, 2009
Filed under Features

Eight months. Countless e-mails. Tons of assistance. And your priceless input.
Wrap all that together and what you have is Powersports Business’ biggest and most in-depth presentation of bold business initiatives that have been successfully test driven by dealers.
This is actually the fourth year we’ve provided these in-depth looks at best business practices, but it’s the first year that we took it a step farther.
Back in the fall of 2008 we decided that providing five bold ideas — something we had done annually — wasn’t going to be enough for what looked like a real challenging 2009. At the time, consumer confidence was shaky and getting worse, retail sales had started to nosedive and the only thing that was steady was the sale of antacids.
So we needed more ideas to jumpstart business and hence more dealer input. Much more input. And not just from the metric dealer principal or the Harley general manager but the industry as a whole.
So we created the Bold Ideas Contest and challenged dealers, all dealers, to provide us their best and boldest business initiatives. As a staff, we would then contact the executive team at the dealerships to get as much information as possible on the idea, then rank them based on their results and just as importantly, their initiative. Their ingenuity.
Times have changed. Consumer spending habits have changed. So we must be equally adept at metamorphosis in areas where it makes sense.
But change in a retail environment isn’t going to happen because of a mere idea. We knew that. Whatever we provided to you had to be more than just the idea itself. There’s nothing worse than a lack of information on a potentially interesting topic. One-sentence ideas are like resolutions made on New Year’s Eve: They last in our collective thoughts about as long it takes to reach the refrigerator.
So with each of the top 10 bold ideas presented in this edition — don’t miss the No. 1 bold idea on the news cover — you’ll notice attention given to the following facets:
• Explanation of the bold idea and its impact on the dealership staff and the overall business;
• What difficulties, if any, arose from the idea and how it was resolved;
• What the dealership might do differently with the business initiative if it were to start the bold idea today, if in fact it would change anything;
• Data on the dealership, like brands sold and staff size, so readers can get an idea on how closely the bold idea dealership mirrors their own.
All of this comes to you thanks to a huge industry-wide effort.
The companies that have, in one way or another, touched this project represent a who’s who of the powersports industry. Consider: Ten OEMs distributed the contest form to their dealers. Those include Honda, Suzuki, Arctic Cat, KTM, BRP, Ducati, Triumph, Victory, BMW and KYMCO. Two other industry companies —
V-SEPT and Tucker Rocky — were part of a related contest that drew a number of dealer entries. Gart Sutton & Associates also helped in that regard in giving away a F&I training seminar seat in exchange for dealer bold ideas.
All of these companies, together with the staff at Powersports Business, realize the spread of best business practices is perhaps the very best thing that can happen in these tough times.

Continuing the tradition
Once you and your staff have combed through these bold ideas, I would encourage you to help us move this project forward. Pay it forward, if you will.
Take two minutes and e-mail me the answers to two questions:
1)?What have you and your staff done to overcome recent economic challenges and find success??These initiatives could be in any dealership profit center, like new unit sales, preowned sales, marketing, F&I, the service or parts department. Please be as specific as possible.
2)?What has been the result?
In turn, we’ll do what we’ve always done best:?Share your thoughts.

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