They say – whomever ‘they’ may be – that business is cyclical and that every 10-15 years the market finds itself in a similar position to where it has been in the past.
If you ally this to the belief that there is no such thing as a new idea, then we should all enjoy the positive trading position our industry has recently enjoyed as it will not last for long.
Now that may sound uncharacteristically pessimistic, but that is the reality of our current position.
The fact is the on-course retail market has rallied and for the past few years it has seen a resurgence in market share, as well as a growth in profit margins.
This is astonishing given that on-course has provided the best value, in respect of retail pricing of hardware, for around five years now.
The reasons for this are varied and complex, however, the reality is that quality golf pros have invested in education, technology and their business in general, making their Pro Shops far more appealing to the discerning golfer.
Given the change in golfers playing patterns and behaviour surely that’s good news?
Well yes…and no. You see if ‘they’ are right then in a few years’ time market share will shift, margins will drop and we will be back in the dark days of golf pros wondering where it all went wrong.
So what can we do? Unfortunately there is no simple solution, but the first thing we need to do is break that cycle.
The key reason high quality PGA Pros are winning the battle is a change in attitude. For many, gone are the days of thinking the world owes them a living and being dependent on golf club retainers for an income. Many have taken responsibility for securing their future by focusing on identifying increased, or new, income streams from teaching, custom fit etc.
If we are to avoid the inevitable fall in the future we must all pick up that mantle and keep one step ahead of our competitors.
Education, whether that be in new coaching techniques, business practices or working harder to understand the golf club’s dynamics and demands are critical in maintaining your market advantage.
Most importantly the ability to see the big picture will become more and more relevant.
In the past many retailers have lived in a trading bubble wholly concentrating on what happens at the golf club and around a small radius outside of their retail zone. Meanwhile competitors were motoring along and vacuuming up market share while many pros had no idea what was going on.
To break the cycle you need to be commercially agile, able to react quickly to consumer demands and industry aware. Get out there and talk to suppliers, other PGA Pros and anyone else who you feel has a balanced view of the industry. Visit trade events, educational forums and seminars, find a desire for knowledge.
Information is king and the more you have, the easier you will find it is to make the decisions that will keep you ahead of the competition and guard against complacency.
Only then can we hope our current successes will be here to stay and not just a moment in time to be swamped by the cycle of business history.