EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S CORNER: MAPPING A NEW COURSE FOR SAIL AMERICA
For the past several months I have been working closely with the Board of Directors to develop a new strategic direction for Sail America. Sail America's Executive Committee, consisting of Bill Bolin, John Peterson, George Day, Walt Brown, Bill Goggins, and John Burnham, met in early April to create a new strategy and value proposition for Sail America that will be sustainable, profitable, and exciting.
Despite all the great work that Sail America has done over the years, it became clear to the Board of Directors that we needed to take a close look at the role of Sail America and better define our mission and value proposition going forward. More specifically, we recognized that we needed to develop a strategy that will better meet the needs of our members, help grow membership, generate increased funding, return our boat shows to profitability, increase participation in sailing, and unite the industry for continued growth.
Although the market conditions aren't great, there are many opportunities for sailing, including positive demographic trends, strong export markets, new innovations, and industry initiatives – such as Grow Boating – that we all need to focus on and get behind. There is a need, now more than ever, for a strong trade association that will tackle the issues and help identify the opportunities, resulting in a stronger, healthier market for all of us.
Following a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Sail America, and an assessment of the threats and opportunities in the market, the Sail America Board of Directors agreed upon the following vision statement:
"To create a strong, healthy and sustainable SAILING market for today and the future.
Sail America will be the source for leadership and resources for all companies delivering sailing-related products and services."
The vision is intended to be inspirational and all-encompassing. We also avoided the term "sailing industry" to be more inclusive of those companies that sell products to other markets besides sailing but don't necessarily define themselves as part of the sailing "industry."
Sail America's new mission statement is:
"Sail America will promote the health and growth of SAILING by providing our members with:
- Vision, leadership, and a unified voice
- Targeted sales opportunities
- Integrated marketing programs
- Industry information and knowledge
- The tools to achieve high standards and best industry practices."
We will achieve this mission by:
- Running all-Sailboat Shows (i.e. Strictly Sail)
- Promoting and featuring sailing at other boat shows (i.e. SailFest)
- Promoting the sailing lifestyle
- Introducing and re-introducing people to sailing
- Generating qualified leads for members
- Providing members with business tools & education
- Facilitating forums and networking opportunities
- Supporting industry-wide initiatives, such as Grow Boating
A detailed tactical plan, including new membership services and benefits, will be communicated to all existing and prospective Sail America members in June 2007.
I believe that Sail America plays a vital role for all those companies that are involved in providing sailing related sailing products and services. I look forward to your ongoing support of Sail America and welcome your input and suggestions on how we can provide greater value to our members.