2019 looks like another year of growth for the marine industry, according to IFAI’s market research. The U.S. economy is above full employment and consumer confidence is at a 17-year high. Entering 2019, consumers see a stronger economy than do businesses; however, both believe the economy has room to grow.
Although marine fabricators welcome an optimistic forecast, future success is never guaranteed. Running a successful business means keeping your current customers happy while attracting new work to keep growing. This issue is filled with ideas for balancing these objectives to help keep you on an even keel during both busy and lean times.
The story “Making Custom Work” discusses the opportunities and challenges of taking on custom projects, with advice about how to think through unknown variables to ensure your custom work is profitable. “Sewing Machine Savvy” includes troubleshooting and maintenance tips to help prevent downtime due to frustrating equipment failures. The Premier Product Showcase features 35 marine products—hardware, fabrics, equipment and more—that will help increase your productivity and efficiency.
Kyle Van Damme, MFC, Marine Tops Unlimited, takes you through the steps required to add new PVC tracks to a boat to set your job apart from competitors and give you upsell opportunities. Terri Madden, Sand Sea & Air Interiors, discusses the installation of headboards and wall panels to create both dramatic and cozy cabin spaces. And David Huntington, River Custom Canvas, gives detailed and actionable advice for how to market your business year-round with a minimal amount of time and expense.
Staying competitive means striking a balance between producing quality current projects while constantly exploring potential opportunities. As Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”