I don’t know who coined the phrase, “You’ve got to make hay when the sun shines,” but they were absolutely a genius.
When I was younger, and how shall we say this… not really eager to help out every single day in the field… I didn’t really understand the point of that saying. I mean, I had things to do, you know, like sleeping, partying with friends, and of course more sleeping. So when good ‘ol Dad would trot out the phrase, I would often cover my head with a pillow and pretend it really wasn’t sunny. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over so well. So off to the field I would go.
As is inevitable with the weather, we’d soon endure days of rain or bad weather, and the work started to pile up. It was then I’d get a glimpse of why my Dad was always so eager to “make hay when the sun shines.” Because he knew through wisdom and experience, if we didn’t take advantage of the good weather, we’d pay dearly for missing the opportunity when the bad weather came.
It seems a fitting metaphor for what’s happening in our industry as we speak. We’re in the midst of the sunniest days we’ve ever experienced. To a company and to a person, everyone I’ve visited with is having literally their best sales year ever. And most manufacturers, distributors and retailers are doing precisely what my Dad always said I should do… they are making “hay,” lots and lots of it!
Just a few days ago, I was privileged to serve as part of a panel discussion about the state of our industry and what the media, and we as members of the industry, should be doing to share messages of hope and positivity about the outdoors. The panel session was part of a day-long event put on by the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and there were some excellent speakers and fantastic conversations taking place around this and other topics.
It all got me thinking about things on a bit deeper level. I’m happy for retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and really, our entire industry. We needed this boost in sales and energy. I hope, like all good businesses should, they’re using the boost in the bottom line to buttress themselves for those eventual rainy days. But I’d like to encourage us to think a bit broader, maybe outside the “financial” aspects of our business as well.
So I’d like to ask every one of you reading this a simple question, and then offer a short challenge.
First, the question – What are you, personally, going to do to make sure you’re making “hay,” not just financially, but to foster the growth and development of our industry by either bringing in a new member, encouraging a new shooter or hunter or building stronger attitudes and support for the 2nd Amendment? With millions of new gun purchasers, you’ve got an audience bigger than you’ve ever had.
Second, the challenge – I challenge and encourage each of you to share your efforts with a wide and diverse audience. If that’s on social media, awesome. If that’s in writing an article for your local paper or putting out a press release, so be it. If it means you call up your favorite outdoor media writer and pitch them a story, fantastic! Let’s not keep these stories and successful efforts private. Let’s flood the internet, radio and television airwaves and print publications with positive, impactful stories about everyday people who’ve joined our community, and why they chose now to do so.
If each of us takes one small step to make this happen, we can continue to build and grow our base of support for those times when we’ll need it. And knowing many of the folks who read this newsletter, I know you understand that day will come again all too soon. So let’s make every effort to be ready. Let’s get the hay put up and in the barn.
Frankly, there couldn’t be a better time than right now, during the month of August to get started. As you likely know, August is National Shooting Sports Month. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has a website dedicated to all things related to the shooting sports at www.shootingsportsmonth.org, where you can get tons of information, tips and tricks. I encourage you to check it out.
2020, by all measures, has been an absolutely remarkable and unreal year, in so many ways. As we close in on the time of year when many of us will be in the fields and forests, let’s make sure we’re introducing others to our passions and making hay while the sun still shines.
Until next time,