December '19

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78 • RV PRO • December 2019 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S S omeone once offered the odd thought, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper." The point being that it seems to be used up faster toward the end. So, we've rolled our way through another year. It seems to happen so quickly. Yet it surely shouldn't come as a surprise. Each year's end brings a certain number of tasks and events. Accounting must close out the books for the year. There's prep to do for taxes. A forward-looking glance should be given to coming year's budget and sales forecast. And, if you're like a lot of us, there will be some time for introspection and some solid strategic thinking. A dealer who is a good friend was saying that when the garbage truck rolls around the corner and sees all the trash cans by the side of the road, it isn't a big surprise. It is to be expected. The year-end – although it can creep up on us quickly – should not come as an unanticipated event. Time to Count the Money You can be sure that any controller worth his wage has been thinking through the steps to get the balance sheet in order for the fiscal year end. There are those tax issues to work through. How is depreciation to be handled? Is there anything that can be written down or written off? Is it a good year to take a write-off? My bet is this is not the year to take write-offs for most dealers. Your accounting staff is paying particular attention to inventories. Meanwhile, the parts department should com- plete a physical inventory. You are in best shape if the inventory of rolling stock is lower this time of year. Also, year-end bonuses, profit-sharing, adjust- ments in compensation and other financial delib- erations are typically done at this time of year. Time to Move That Inventory I hope you've paid attention to inventory this year. It's the second biggest concern and expense. The biggest concern is revenue and the biggest expense is personnel. Floorplan expense is right up there, too. There's an often quoted expression in one of my 20 Groups, "It's much better to be looking for them than looking at them." That quote really hits home in the dead of winter. Here's another related quote for you: "If you're looking at it in September, you're likely going to see it until January." It seems to have been an interesting year. I have seen more interest on the part of OEMs in working with the dealers on inventory than in prior years. That's healthy. The supply chain feeds the whole of the industry. Getting the right product at the right time is good for everyone! At year's end, it is part of the budgeting and sales forecasting process to look at product lines and make some decisions. You likely already made your mind up following Elkhart Open House Week and are into the first couple months of implementing those changes. My hope is that you have been prudent and wise. It's also my hope that you have a good bal- ance of inventory on the ground and coming in prep for the upcoming show season. It's Show Time Looking forward to the show season is another case for having the right inventory at the right time. If your shipments are hitting now and are reasonably fresh, you will have new, clean inven- tory for your show selling season. And now is the time to look for some coaching and training on show selling. Do your sales folks know how to pull off the "two-minute drill?" Do you have ways to capture a prospect's attention? Are you selling only on price? (I certainly hope you aren't!) At this time of year, you have a window when the press of business is usually lighter and you can make some investment in the training of sales staff. Planning & Forecasting If you are running a dealership – instead of the dealership running you – you have already completed that budget and sales forecast I men- tioned earlier. There are several models out there. Spader's model is tried and true. We've used a similar model for years. By Chuck Marzahn Chuck Marzahn is a partner with Marzahn & King Consulting, a well- known consulting and training firm specializing in the RV industry and based in Virginia Beach, Va. He can be reached for comment and questions at Chuck@Marzahn AndKing.com. What?! Another New Year?! The year-end – although it can creep up quickly – should not come as an unanticipated event.

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