After living in Costa Rica for 10 years, Michael Galica has now turned his efforts towards sustainable outdoor living. All of the product choices are focused on sustainability and that niche, along with strategic partnerships and marketing, has given him an edge that carries him through the tough economic times.
Are you getting sales from the same places that you were when the market was better? // We work a lot with the same people. We work with the industry trade, we work with landscapers, designers and architects. We definitely get a lot of repeat business from these people and we treat them well. So it’s worth their while to send people in our direction. We’re always mingling with different marketplaces, and within those marketplaces there’s always the big decision-making people. And we’re always looking for referrals through these people and try to make it as beneficial for them as we can for them to give us references and referrals. It works hand-in-hand for both of us.
Have you done any successful promotions? // We’re always trying to intermix or mingle within a lot of the events that are going on and thinking outside the box about our positioning and placement. [For example] if there’s a triathlon or some sort of marathon, or even a mountain bike race – any sort of physical competition where a spa would be beneficial to use after the event – wouldn’t it be a nice [promotion] to have the participants cross the finish line and jump into a hot tub to relax their muscles that had our name on the tub?
[We also are] inviting our best clients to our showroom, getting out in public events, having a cheese night, giving special discounts for health spas or clubs or running teams. All of these things, strategic marketing, planning and positioning are really keeping us, Marin Outdoor Living, our name, out in front of everybody else’s name.
Do you have any advice on weathering the storm? // What I suggest for people to do, whether they’re in their tenth year or fifteenth year or second year in business, I think they should focus and refocus on their original goals and business plan. A lot of times you’re spreading yourself too thin and thinking too far out of your network and your major area. Mingling in different circuits that they perhaps wouldn’t get involved in in the past that could benefit from what they’re selling and their product line. That’s what I’m doing. I’m constantly going back to the very basics and thinking, “What was my original plan?” [I’m constantly] reviewing and re-reviewing to come up with simple and straight forward ideas. I plan my attack without costing a lot of money and seeing what comes out from that. I keep a good handful of contractors and developers that I’m constantly calling and constantly giving each other different jobs. Just having a good network. It is very beneficial for me and I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be beneficial for everyone else. I think that in these tough times that are happening, if you just re-review what you first wanted to do and take a step back and approach it with perhaps one new idea and see where that goes. Stay simple and have some clear thoughts.