Very important boat broker lessons
you need to know

In 2009, after 4 years in the boat brokerage business, I decided to start a company to change the way people were selling boats worldwide. My team and I spent the last 5 years travelling around the world to hundreds of boat shows. We have seen hundreds of companies struggling and eventually going bankrupt due to the 'crisis' in our industry. I never had the chance to know the good old days of boating so my only option was to make every day a good day and remind myself that what matters is not when the crisis will be over but when I will be over the crisis.

I learned a lot from meetings so many boating companies around the world. We constantly asked questions and heard the same stories over and over about their main difficulties and challenges. This fabulous overview of the industry made me realise that one word was summarising the difference between the companies who thrive from the ones who die or are in difficulties and this word was "Change".
The business world is not easy and either you adapt to change either you die. As best-selling author and leadership expert, Dave Logan says: "If the speed of change is slower inside the company than it is inside the industry, then your company is dying." 

1- Businesses are reluctant to change

Why are businesses so reluctant to change when the world we live in is changing so fast? I remember reading a book from Daniel Pink in which he stated:  “There is a huge mismatch between what science know and what businesses do.” This quote inspired me and I decided to help companies succeed by leveraging technology.
Let's quickly review how technology grew in the last 20 years. Have a look at this Radio Shack advertising from 1991, you can notice that each item originally on sale on this page is now integrated into a single smartphone.

Boat Broker Lessons - Radio Shack ADS

If leveraged properly, technology can help you grow your business exponentially. In his captivating book Abundance, Peter Diamondis explains the difference between a linear and exponential grow. "If you take thirty linear steps you will cover 30 meters but if you take 30 exponential steps, that will represent over 1 billion meters or travelling more than 26 times around the earth". Today, human knowledge is growing exponentially. A futurist called Buckminster Fuller came up with the theory of the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By 1950, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to

By 1950, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” and development of nanotechnologies will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. So by the time you go back home and the time you will come back to work in the morning, the sum of human knowledge ever discovered will double!!

Boat Broker Lessons - Knowledge Doubling Curve

2- The 2 main reasons businesses are not willing to change

Change is an absolute necessity in today business environment. The reticence of implementing change can be explained by 2 main reasons. First, the natural tendency of human being to stay in their comfort zone. Secondly, we live in a society where the preponderance of choices is becoming overwhelming. We have lost our ability to filter what is important and what isn't. Psychologists call this the "Decision Fatigue". The more choices we are forced to make and the more the quality of our decisions deteriorate. Those difficulties in taking decisions are not solely due to the abundance of choices but as well at how we are influenced to make those decisions.
(information and opinion overload as well as hyper connection).

So how can we identify what must be changed when we are advertised 2000 to 5000 times a day? One of the first keys is to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers. A tip that I always try to do is not to think "at the market" but to think "in the market". When you look at this photo below from the Papal throne in 2005 and 2013, you can really identify a strong change in consumer behaviour.

Boat Broker Lessons - Consumer Behavior Changes

Our conclusion from this photo leads us to believe that investing in mobile technology would be a wise investment for businesses. Surprisingly, the majority of them waited so long to become mobile friendly and many of them still didn’t make the step. So why are they waiting so long to change? Simply because their main objective is to monetize the switch to mobile technology. The problem is that mobile is not a new way for them to make money but a new way for consumers to communicate and interact with businesses.

I noticed the same pattern for social media. So many businesses didn’t believe in it and took so long to use it. The reason for their hesitation was that they were just waiting to prove that companies who were using social media were not monetizing it. But once again social media was not a commercial platform but a way to engage with your consumers and build a community.

As you can see in the last two examples, looking only at the financial aspect of a new investment will not help you to set up the right strategy for your business.  If you want to grow, you need to adapt to your consumers and environment and detect major trends. The earlier you will identify and adopt them and the more benefits you will get in return. Th stories of Instagram and Kodak will help you understand the power of change.

3- The businesses who embrace change will be the ones who will win

Kodak invented the first digital camera in the 80s and was the first to commercialise it in the 90s. In 1996, Kodak was worth $28 billion with near 150,000 employees worldwide.  Kodak failed to adapt to the new digital era (that it invented) and was pushed to bankruptcy in 2012.  That same year, another company in the photography business called Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Instagram was founded just one year earlier and only had 17 employees.

Boat Broker Lessons - Kodak Example

Instagram was not thinking "at the market" but "in the market", Instagram leveraged, social media and mobile technology and grew exponentially by building a billion dollar company in a record time frame while Kodak failed to change and went bankrupt. Those stories confirm the famous quote from Darwin, "It is not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."

Vincent Finetti