Surely you’ve heard the saying, “Hope for the best and plan for the worst?” It makes good sense when you think about it – you should always be prepared in case the plans you put in place don’t quite work out the way you expect. With a shooting sports marketplace that’s always in flux, especially in our current political environment, you just have to be ready to pivot and shift gears at a moment’s notice.
If you’re not planning for the future, and planning for what you’ll do if things change, and then planning for what to do if they change again, then I’d encourage you to spend some time and give it a sincere and honest effort. Failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s trite, but it’s true.
For as long as I’ve been at NASGW, we’ve worked under a strategic plan. While the association is probably not as directly impacted by the market as most of you reading this, we too have to look to the future and get ready for whatever comes our way. If we weren’t doing this, it would be a gross failure to consider the needs and wants of our members.
When I was first hired by the Board to take over the leadership role, we didn’t have a strategic plan. It was one of the first things they asked me to help coordinate. So we did. And every year since then we’ve either overhauled or updated our plan.
Do we always meet the goals of the plan? No. Do we ever end up completing all the objectives and tasks we assign to each goal? Hardly. But our strategic plan gives us a roadmap, a compass to guide us. Without it, we’d just be guessing and likely jumping from one shiny object to another. The plan allows us to see the shiny objects come into our vision, but keeps us focused on the main projects and platforms that make sense for us as we consider all the factors around us, shiny objects and all.
Just this past week, the NASGW Board came together again to refine and take a deep dive into our current plans and projects and analyze and lay out the course to tomorrow. Some of what we discovered is similar to things we’ve been doing. Other things came across our radar screen and will be added to the new plan. In August, the wholesale members will gather for our annual summit and we’ll ask them to give a further review of the plan and help us make sure we continue to take the organization to new heights.
In just the eight short years I’ve been at NASGW, we’ve made some massive changes and strides toward becoming a stronger and more effective and efficient organization. We’ve brought wholesale inventory and sales data to the forefront. We’ve added the largest retail data source of independent store sales information you can find. This data has changed the game, not just for members of NASGW, but really, for the industry as a whole because everyone benefits when you have that sort of powerful data informing and helping in decision-making across the sales channel.
More recently, we’ve been focused on creating insurance and risk solutions for members. We’ve launched a program called NASGW Fortify Insurance that helps find solutions for anyone in our industry looking for help on the insurance and risk side of their business. We’ve launched a captive insurance program we hope to replicate and offer to even more members in the very near future. We’re looking at partnerships in banking, payment processing, pretty much anything that impacts the business operations of members. In short, we’re increasing the value proposition for the organization and making long-term commitments to you as a member. And we’re committed to telling our story over and over again, sharing with anyone who’ll listen, about the importance of strong industry relationships.
We’ve done all of this through forward looking strategic planning, taking into account the needs of our core distributor members but also asking a lot of questions and probing the needs of the many audiences we serve… from retail to manufacturing.
Will everything we’ve identified as an area of interest ultimately pan out? I’d say that’s not very likely. But if even some of what we have in the works comes to fruition, we’ll continue to enhance our value proposition to you and continue to make NASGW stronger.
While sitting down and forcing yourself to spend a couple days in planning exercises can be tiring work, it can be a lot of fun as well. It sets the stage for the next chapter. It sets the stage for stronger performance. It creates the map we’ll use to guide us into the next 3 to 5 years. And if things change, like I know they will, then we’ll look at that map and pick some alternate routes, but we won’t be caught off guard.
If you take the time, it’s not just planning for the worst and hoping for the best… you can actually plan for the best. I wish you luck on your planning, in whatever form works best for your company. It takes work, but it’s worth every minute you spend.
Until next time,