Not Quite the Clean Slate

2021 is off to a weird start

We certainly didn’t expect the ball drop on January 1 would make the problems of 2020 disappear, but I’m not sure we expected the first weeks to look quite like they did. Despite the political chaos, hot tub retailers and manufacturers are expecting a banner year. As manufacturing and the supply chain catches up to demand, tubs sold in 2020 will be delivered.

That being said, none of us are expecting 2021 to be business as usual. And if you don’t expect operational changes in your business to continue, you’re mistaken. For instance, in this issue retailers discuss handling commissions as lead times remain long. Longtime staff already have plenty of payments in the pipeline, but what about new hires? If a recent hire makes a sale today, are they OK waiting until August to be paid for it? Some hot tub retailers have implemented new commission structures, and some expect to continue to use those even when lead times get back under control.

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Lead management is another area where retailers had to pivot quickly. If you neglected your sales funnel in years past, 2020 certainly put it front of mind again — and with the increased interest came more efficient ways to manage leads. Whether retailers hired a ‘lead concierge’ or automated more of the sales process, these are changes that for many will be permanent based off their success. After the insanity of 2020, I hope hot tub industry retailers and manufacturers don’t just sit back and relax. You may have tubs sold out through August, but if you stop doing the things that got you here, where does that leave you when it goes back to normal? Continue to work on your business, advertise, and become lean, nimble and efficient. If you found yourself flat-footed when the pandemic hit, don’t let that happen again. Be prepared for whatever comes next.

Megan Kendrick, publisher