December '19

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rv-pro.com December 2019 • RV PRO • 79 At a minimum, the forecasting effort should involve the managers of the sales, finance, service and parts departments. One reason is to get their input. Those managers should have a reasonable idea as to the potential revenue they are able to generate using the various revenue streams of their department. The sales department should offer projections based on brand and unit type. The sales team also should be involved in the stocking decisions. It's beneficial to project the unit turns and factor in the floorplan interest, so sales team leaders can see how badly over- stocking affects profitability. Meanwhile, the service and parts leader- ship should look at categories like customer pay, internal, warranty and store sales. The other reason – which is nearly as important – is that having the managers actively involved in the development of the sales plans for each department should result in increased buy-in or ownership of the plan for their department. If they helped to create it and understand how it can happen, it is more likely that it will, in fact, become a reality. Separately, the accounting team or the controller also will need to tie all of that forecasting together and make additional consideration for the expenses and costs involved in running the business. Meanwhile, it's usual after getting the sales forecast hammered down to think through any required changes in personnel and payroll. Also con- sider any capital expenses and the usual cast of floorplan, advertising and rent. From that comes the budget or the projection of anticipated expenses for the coming year. A Time for Introspection By far, the part of the year-end that I most look forward to is the strategic planning. Maybe you are like this, too. When the New Year rolls around, I seem to follow the same rhythm each year-end. And it involves some time of introspection. It's always a very valuable time for me. One item that seems to be perennial is a look at how I've done with managing my time. Just maybe, thinking back to that roll of toilet paper, time gets more precious when you have less of it. So, each year since 1985, I have looked at the way I manage my time. I've used different tools to do so over the years, but each year involves a good hard look at what projects I've accomplished and what remains to get done. The end of the year also is a time to look at what is most important. Two things conspire to take me off track – distraction and urgency. Maybe they are the same for you. Maybe you are a fan of the next shiny object. Maybe you get distracted by social media. Recreation is good. But look care- fully at the word: Re – Creation. If it doesn't build you up, give you strength, rejuvenate you or somehow contribute to your better well-being, don't waste your time. And just because it screams for immediate attention (urgency) doesn't mean it is important and will add to your quality of life. One more thought on that: There is what I've come to call a "stress-to-fun" ratio. It's not in my 20 Group composite but it should be. Simply put, there are some things we do, or relationships we have, that are heavy on the stress side of that metric. Heck, there are likely at least two employees you have that fit in that cat- egory as well. Don't let the stress gen- erators in your life hold you hostage. That's equally true if they are circum- stances or people. Work to resolve or eliminate them. Time for Strategic Thinking Before you think I've gone over the top with the philosophical outlook, let's bring this back to ground level. Or maybe slightly above. This time of year also is for some stra- tegic thinking. Remember from a prior column we looked at strategy. It's from a Latin root word strategia. It's the same word that gives us stratosphere and strata in rock formations. The idea was that the Roman general would ascend to the top of a hill on the outskirts of the battle – and from the location that was both separate and elevated – was able to see the entire field of battle. That vantage point allowed for better information on which to base the decisions affecting the course of battle. It's very much the same for a depart- ment head or business owner. Rising above the fray of daily tasks and step- ping a bit off to the side gives a perspec- tive that is very, very, helpful in making sound business plans. Don't neglect finding time during the off-season lull to consider what challenges you are cur- rently battling and how best you can attack them in the coming year. It is my hope that 2020 will give you 20-20 vision, and that you will clearly see the best opportunities and paths for your future in the wonderful and challenging business we've all come to love. Take some time to think. Take some time to plan. Make the most of every opportunity and work to shed the unproductive (per- haps the destructive) facets of your life during this new year. I always get such a kick from being granted a brand-new year with all its opportunities. I hope you do, too.

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