Clover Professional Series


By Steve Butler

Everyone ventures into a new business with the full expectation of achieving unbounded success. Great products, great service, great customers and, of course, significant profit. The formula seemed simple enough when we started but somehow it has all become so much more complicated. 

Unfortunately only a few dealerships will truly excel while most will struggle to exist or fail. It is an unhappy fact that the competitive world presents much more opportunity for failure than for success.

History teaches us that 80% of businesses initiated today will have failed within the next ten years. Those who survive past the first five years eventually succumb to a developmental paralysis.

Initial success lulls them into a false sense security and the business fails to keep pace with the evolving business environment. By the time they realize it, it’s too late. The game has changed and somehow they didn’t get the memo.

The question then arises, if change is necessary, how do we change? Sometimes we are forced into change. Circumstances, either obvious or not so obvious to us at the time, force our hand.

Do or die. It becomes survival of the desperate. We do whatever is necessary but in the end it is only a coping strategy. Damage has already been done and chances are we will never fully recover.

On the other hand, some changes are evolutionary. We recognize the successes of a competitor and merely adapt to that strategy to keep pace. But there is the serious cost of lost opportunity in applying the “me too” strategy.

It’s the price we pay for not being on the leading edge where the new formula is playing out. Incrementally, slowly, even painfully, the market and our customers simply leave us behind and it may very well be impossible to ever get them back.

There is a third option. It’s the game changing option. It requires anticipation, innovation and strategic change.

The legendary business guru Peter Drucker famously quoted, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Instead of motivation by desperation or just keeping pace with the changing business landscape and suffering a slow, painful death, we can leap ahead of the game and create our environment.

Easier said than done however. There is no all encompassing blueprint for business success since every dealership is different. But there is help.

The Clover Professional Series has been developed by Clover Needlecraft to provide a open forum for the exchange of innovative ideas with those who want to change the game and create the future that benefits them.

It is the intent of this program to provide a series of discussions that will stimulate conscious business thought and by doing so promote overall growth through anticipating the future and developing innovative responses to those emerging requirements. You will always find those who are content to play the part of the pawn.

The Clover Professional Series, however, is for those who want to play chess. We at Clover truly value our association with independent dealers. Please join with us in the Clover Professional Series as we explore the future of business.

The first topic of discussion will be the 80/20 rule. This will be launching January 2016, so make sure to sign up today!!!

To sign up for Professional Series quarterly e-mails, e-mail

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