• Facing the future in the pool and spa industry

    by Scott Webb March 2009

    Scott WebbIt never hurts to look ahead.

    Yes, at the moment the big economic indicators are still dropping, but the day is coming when the great American economic machine will roar to life again. It's good to keep that in mind, always.

    It may be this fall, or it may be next year, heck, it may be the year after that, but it's coming. The headlines will once again speak of hiring...

  • Retailing saunas can add a welcome boost in sales

    by Scott Webb February 2009

    At a time when many dealers are looking for products that can add to the bottom line, saunas are providing some retailers a welcome lift in sales revenue.

    There are several reasons. The sauna market is still relatively small, giving it more room for growth. And the sauna's size and shape are easily customized to fit attractively into existing homes. Its ongoing operation and...

  • Three lessons kids teach you about business success

    by Brian Sullivan February 2009

    "My see," were the words my 2-year-old daughter Maggie used last week as she extended her arms toward an older woman sitting in the window seat on a spring break flight to Mexico last week. The adult translation of those words is, "Excuse me ma'am, your window seat is better than my middle seat. I would really love to climb over this armrest, jump on your lap and hang out with you for a few minutes so I can look out that window. You good with that?" This...

  • Keep your sales up in a down market

    by Douglas Smith February 2009

    Salespeople are feeling pressure in today's economic environment. Entire market segments are hurting. Customers and companies are holding back orders or literally have no money to buy. Opportunities and new prospects are fewer and farther between. In 2008, many salespeople earned only half the commission they earned in 2007. Half! When you take a 50 percent pay cut, you know what a recession feels like.

    But not all sales professionals are in a slump. Some are...

  • Solar pool heating systems are popular choice in down economy

    by Jenna Danninger February 2009

    There really is no other way to say it: Times are challenging. But with the lemons we've been given as an industry, it's time to make some lemonade. And nothing goes better with a tall, ice cold glass of it than a little warmth from the sun.

    "Pool builders have got a file cabinet that's like a safe full of money," says Rick Sims, sales and marketing manager for Aquatherm...

  • Swim spas provide great motivation for aquatic exercise

    by Scott Webb January 2009

    Exercise in a pool. It used to mean swimming laps, but for the homeowner with a 20- or even a 30-foot pool, lap swimming is mostly turns. And while that can get tiring (which is, after all the point of a workout) it's not very satisfying.

    Manufacturers now offer a variety of ways to achieve the effect of a swimming workout in a small volume of water. All of these different options have...

  • Top 10 survival tactics in tough econcomy

    by Thomas Houck January 2009

    Jim is a small-business owner who's been watching the economy shift in front of his eyes. "Stress" isn't the word to explain how he feels. With his wife staying at home to raise their youngest child, his business bears the entire financial burden of funding their mortgage and lifestyle. If the slowdown continues, not only will his nightly tossing and turning get worse, he may have a full-blown nervous breakdown. Jim is fortunate to have a neighbor, Ken, who helps small-business...

  • New vinyl-liner pool shades storm the market

    by Barrett Kilmer January 2009

    Vinyl liner manufacturers, fabricators and installers know that when it comes to consumer taste in pools, blue always has been and probably always will be king. In recent years, however, there's been a trend toward earth tones and shades of gray that complement landscape or hardscape that surround the pool.

    The industry has been moving in that direction, with most of the changes coming...

  • Little leadership leads to bigger business

    by Gary Bradt December 2008

    Lyle was ready to pull his hair out. He had transferred from the company's flagship location to a struggling branch store in another state and had done everything he knew to establish trust and build credibility, but nothing seemed to work. Nine months in, he still sensed suspicion and guardedness whenever he walked the floor, and business results were lagging. Finally, he turned to a trusted member of his team for advice and was dumbfounded by the response: "Change your license...

  • The five pillars of digital marketing

    by Daniel Burrus December 2008

    Advertising today is experiencing a period of profound and accelerated transformation. Technologies such as blogs, podcasts and streaming video are permanently changing consumer attitude and behavior. The good news is that this transformation creates advertising opportunities for everyone. The key, however, is to integrate the tried and true old media outlets with the emerging new media to get more consumer engagement and better results from your advertising dollars.