From the Desk of Lynn Woolf

Lynn Woolf, Managing Editor

Expiration: 6/30/2014. That’s the date I need to renew a certificate of mine. The first thought that came to mind: How am I supposed to remember something two years from now? The second thought: Wonder what I’ll be doing two years from now?

Long-term business planning doesn’t often make it to the top of a to-do list. And, planning how to recover from a disaster probably doesn’t make the list at all.

However, this pervasive drought is one disaster that has more than farmers thinking about survival. It’s probably impacted your new equipment sales, as well as parts and service revenues this summer.


Everyone is hoping that this year’s pervasive drought won’t be back next year, but what about the disaster that stops business entirely?

Disaster recovery experts shared their insights with me for a story I wrote for the July/August issue of our sister publication, Farm Equipment magazine. Here’s one eye-opening statistic: More than 43% of businesses won’t reopen their doors after a disaster. (Read the full story.)

Perhaps the topic of disaster, whether it closes your dealership or not, is just the impetus we need to ask ourselves another big question: What markets offer the next growth area for my dealership? Planning for growth is every bit as important as planning for a business downturn.

You’ve already taken advantage of the rural lifestyle market for new revenue streams. The dealer we profiled in our summer issue of Rural Lifestyle Dealer, Rogers and Sons, admitted his entry into this market wasn’t part of a grand plan: “It kind of happened, to tell you the truth. I wish I could say we had planned it. But we could see the market changing,” Clyde Rodgers says.

There’s opportunity in taking the next step and fine-tuning the rural lifestyle market. We know there’s a wide range of income levels among rural lifestylers. Some are in the upper income brackets whose purchase decisions may not be based on price, while many others might be entirely price-driven.

Do you have a plan in place for segmenting your rural lifestyle customers? Or, a more basic question, what will you be doing in 2014?

Lynn Woolf,
Managing Editor
Rural Lifestyle Dealer