As we all take some time away from work to enjoy the holidays with our families, I personally want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This truly is one of my favorite times of year. This time of year also has us looking to the upcoming year with hope or for some, worry. For those of us who’ve been in the industry long enough, we know that years like 2017 come and go. Last week I was fortunate enough to contribute some of my thoughts on what 2018 has in store during NASGW’s webinar titled, “Building a Successful Business in the New Normal.” I was quite impressed with the discussion from industry leaders like Tom Taylor of SIG SAUER, Mike Noell of Sentry Products Group, Chris DiCenso and George Harris of Growth Strategy Partners, and myself. It was great to hear the thoughts about 2017 and 2018 from varying places around the country and the industry. At the end of the webinar I took three big themes away from our discussion: focus on making our own businesses better through innovation and relationships, data is playing a more crucial role in our industry, and being scrappy is a virtue.
Looking at the historical data of NICS over the past 12 years it is very clear that our industry has been plagued by a cycle of peaks and valleys. Fortunately, the valleys are always followed by and even taller peak. So, if we want to position our own businesses to benefit from the forthcoming peak, we must focus on ourselves and not the external circumstances. Find ways to improve process, better understand your ideal customers, develop innovative products, and strengthen your relationships with industry partners. Do whatever you can to better your own situation with the future in mind. Short term successes are great, but they are not always the long-term solution.
During the webinar, we reviewed a variety of data sources and each had different expectations on what 2018 will bring. The data wasn’t conclusive, but it did provide a better picture and it was obvious that data is playing a bigger role in our industry. For years, we’ve been hearing that we lag behind other sectors when it comes to data and industry analytics. The more we focus on creating a collaborative picture of what’s going on in the marketplace, the better our data and our projections will be.
Throughout the webinar, we continually heard phrases like scrappy, elbow grease, hard work, grind, and so on. These words described different situations but the overall theme was clear – now is the time to put in the extra effort. That work may be an increased focus on innovation, a diversification in products, improved marketing campaigns, or it may be a renewed focus on relationships. Basically it means doing whatever it takes to be successful. So don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves in 2018 because better days are coming.
If you are interested in watching the full webinar, be sure to check out the video on the NASGW website. The opinions on the market for 2018 varied though the overall theme was one of slight growth and there was plenty of other great information, ideas, and conversation.
Thank you all for your hard work and support in 2017 and I wish you all the best in 2018. Have a happy and safe New Year’s and I look forward to connecting in Las Vegas at Shot Show.
Until next time,