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Like many of us back in March I was more than a little worried about events unfolding around the world. As we went into a month long enforced lock-down here in New Zealand – would we survive the pandemic and what would our business look like down the track. We sure encountered a bumpy sea but here we are 10 months later – maybe a few wind burns on show but otherwise all good!
Our business, like many others, was forced to adapt- and adapt we did. Earlier this year our Nelson office lease expired and we made the difficult decision not to renew. We joined the online, home office revolution. Covid played a small part in that decision but the reality is the days of sales people sitting behind desks waiting for customers to roll in have gone. It’s a fast changing digital world now where most of us do our research online and can easily communicate instantly via phone, email or via a vast array of internet video platforms. Without an office our team can now be found walking the docks, talking with and advising customers “person to person”. Personally, I have found this experience quite liberating. Meeting with customers in their own world is much more real and builds stronger relationships. Bring it on!
So where to next? I’m picking 2021 will toss up some more big swells to navigate through. Is just a matter of how big and how long? The last few months have been very hectic with well presented and maintained boats across all price ranges selling very well. As we head into 2021 we have very low stock levels. Demand from buyers far exceeds supply. Yes, there have been some rogue waves and unless the industry steps up we will see more issues developing next year. The number 1 priority is to address a serious shortage of marina berths nationwide. Most marina’s have waiting lists but I don’t see much effort being made by central or local government to free up or assist marina operators to develop new space or much needed facilities. We have an infrastructure crisis developing for sure. All boaties should now exert pressure on anyone involved in the decision making process. Unless we speak up, I fear nothing will change.
For us, our focus for 2021 will be assisting our customers – boat buyers and sellers – as best we can. We have a committed team with tons of boating and life experience to call on. We’re standing by to help you. But first, safely enjoy your xmas break on the water (and the dry) and fully re-charge your batteries ready for a positive 2021.
Steve Thomas, NZ Boat Sales, Nelson NZ