CEO's Blog

CEO Blog: Time to Act

What did you take away from Trade Show? The value of self-evaluation for businesses.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Matt Kormann

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a month since we gathered in Indianapolis. One of the challenges after events like #ATA2018 is to act on things we learned while the excitement and passion are still running high.

For me, that meant getting back on the road. I’ve already visited several of our manufacturers and retailers. Those visits help reinforce things I’ve learned, while also teaching me a lot.

Creating or participating in JOAD, NASP, S3DA or state-level tournament clubs like those in NFAA and ASA are great ways to generate return customers day after day. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard.

It’s More Than Selling

There’s no question our industry is facing big challenges. But I’m more convinced than ever that we’re uniquely qualified to overcome them. If we look at businesses that are successful, one common thread they share is creating experiences for their customers. What’s more experiential than Archery and Bowhunting? We have a unique product line that really must be experienced to be appreciated. One husband-and-wife team I spoke with last week focuses more time and energy on getting shooters active in their store than they do on other aspects of their business. This shift to lessons, clubs, leagues and participation boosted their business significantly – and it’s expanding their retail space.

Even if your space doesn’t allow it, archery provides many opportunities for engaging your community. Creating or participating in JOAD, NASP, S3DA or state-level tournament clubs like those in NFAA and ASA are great ways to generate return customers day after day. The manufacturers I’ve met approach business much the same way, and encourage their employees to engage in those experiences. This keeps them dialed into what’s happening in their businesses – or, more importantly, what will affect them in coming months.

Kurt Smith and the rest of our Outreach and Education team are working hard to refresh our Retail Growth Initiative to better serve our retail members. I’m sure he’d love to hear what you think is working, and what you hope the ATA can do to support your future success.

Whether you think you have a counterfeiting problem or not, there’s a simple test: If you make a great product, and that product is making you money – you have a counterfeiting problem. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard.

Protect Yourself

One of the best-attended seminars in Indy was hosted by William Ross, deputy director of the Intellectual Property Resource Centers. According to Mr. Ross, whether you think you have a counterfeiting problem or not, there’s a simple test: If you make a great product, and that product is making you money – you have a counterfeiting problem. Challenges in this realm evolve rapidly. New threats emerge constantly.

If you haven’t acted to protect yourself from counterfeiters, do so now. Register your intellectual property with Customs and Border Protection so they can be more vigilant on your behalf at ports and other points of entry. Also, register your trademarks overseas – even if you don’t manufacture there. You must take steps today to help offset this growing threat to your business. If you need help, please reach out to me or Maria Lewis, and we’ll share what we know. We’ll deliver much more on this topic in the days ahead.

There has always been a level of healthy competition between businesses and how they support one another. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Partnerships

Partnerships were a common theme in Indy. This topic also came up in virtually every meeting I’ve had on the road. We’re stronger together than we are apart. I’m amazed at the level of healthy competition between businesses. I’ve seen firsthand how businesses support each other. I’ve been fortunate to see new public facilities come online because of successful public-private partnerships. Those opportunities are everywhere, if you look. You’ll also find clubs in your market that actively lobby and raise funds for public ranges. Seek opportunities where you can share your expertise with kids and first-time shooters.  As an experienced bowhunter, you’ll discover endless possibilities to mentor others. But we must look for them.

Meanwhile, the ATA is doing that proactively on your behalf at the industry level. Our recently announced partnership with S3DA will help grow archery and bowhunting outside of school for those who might not have access to those programs at school through NASP. That effort joins many others where we’ve capitalized on opportunities to accomplish more together than we would on our own. We continue to grow the sports we love globally, but the best aspects of our industry – and the greatest opportunities to grow – come from you. You know your communities. As you look around, you’re seeing ways to grow your business every day.

How are you acting on what you’ve learned this year? We’d love to hear from you. Help others share your success or learn from the challenges you face.

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