Chairman’s Message: Vacation

Posted by Chris Means on 8/3/23 9:24 AM

Chris Means-1

I just took a trip with my son to do some fishing and sightseeing in Montana.  We fished the Big Horn River and then did a fly fishing float on the Yellowstone River. It was a welcome time to refresh, re-focus, and re-energize. Often times in our jobs we allow ourselves to become super-charged like the Energizer Bunny and our energies run low and it is time to recharge.  A vacation can do that.  It allows our brains to turn the creative juices back on and may even open up new business opportunities.

Just such an opportunity occurred while fishing the Big Horn River.  Accompanying my son and me was a long-time industry friend.  In between netting rainbow and brown trout we shared thoughts on the state of the industry.  From his perspective, I gained fresh ideas on handling present and future marketing trends.  Then afterward a dinner at a local brewery in Billings brought my son into the conversation and he could hear a couple of industry veterans in positive interaction as an example as he begins a new business venture.

The following day, we did a fly-fishing float on the Yellowstone River. Unlike fishing the high waters of the Big Horn, we were faced with the challenges of dropping a fly in just the right spot in a lower-than-normal river flow. The fishing was tough. But fish can be caught. The presentation has to be perfect. You have to seek out new places to cast that fly. Getting the trout to the net on a barbless hook is difficult, but the reward is great when it happens. As I reflected on the experience, I found that luring wary trout to bite in adverse river conditions to be a good metaphor on how to approach our difficult year in this economy. In today’s economy, the business is slow (water is low). Your marketing must be spot on with clear meaningful messages (presenting the fly to the exact spot). You may need to broaden your reach to find new customers (seeking new places to cast the fly). Conditions may be extremely difficult when your ultimate customers are faced with high gas and food prices, school expenses, vehicle prices and more (landing a fish on a barbless hook). But for those that seek out new opportunities, build plans that open new doors and have a team that executes with precision, the reward is as good as landing that trout.

Along that journey on the Yellowstone River, I was able to spend time on relaxing breaks, talking fish, families and business with my friends, Jason Johnson and Gregg Alexander, at Prime, the marketing and design agency that manages all of the marketing initiatives for NASGW.   I always appreciate time with the people who bring so much value to my life and to the organization on which I serve. They make me better in so many ways.

Finally, my son and I wrapped up the trip with 14 hours taking in as much of Yellowstone National Park as can be done within that time frame. There was no other distraction from time with my son other than the bison, elk, deer, waterfalls, canyons and the awe-inspiring magnificence of Yellowstone. I listened to him talk about his role in a job he just started. When I dropped him off at his house when we returned to South Carolina, we hugged and he told me it was the best trip he had ever taken. It was a great vacation. I truly was refreshed, refocused and re-energized.

Until next month, Happy Summer everyone!


Chris Means

NASGW Chairman

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