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Responding to the Coronavirus: A Place to Start

Posted By Liz Walz, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Let’s face it: There’s no one here on Earth who is an expert on how to adjust your marine business for success in the face of this Coronavirus Pandemic. Frankly, none of us have been through this before – the “experts” included.

But we all need to begin adapting to the changes taking place, whether we feel perfectly prepared for it or not. Whether we have all the answers or not.

We’ve gathered together some COVID-19 resources for businesses that we hope will help, and we keep adding more. You can check them out here.

But where to start? We like the guidance provided by business thought leader, educator and speaker John Spence in his video, Leading Thoughtfully and Effectively in a Crisis, available here.

In it, John shared the four lessons on where to focus during challenging times that he learned from the best, most successful leaders during the last recession:

  • Priority #1: Take amazing care of your employees, especially your top talent:
    • Provide:
      • Training
      • Support
      • Resources
      • Help
      • Coaching
      • Mentoring
      • Give them as much safety, trust and stability as possible
      • Communicate courageously and transparently about problems
  • Priority #2: Take incredible care of your customers

  • Priority #3: Keep your eyes on the financials

  • Priority #4: Find someone outside of your business to talk to


Here at MRAA, we can help with all four of these. And we’re going to continue to develop new resources in these areas and others. Here’s what we can provide today.

  • Priority #1: Take amazing care of your employees, especially your top talent:
  • Priority #2: Take incredible care of your customers
    • This starts with having a plan for communicating with current and prospective customers about what you can do to serve them safety and securely – and what you’re doing to protect them. For example, if you have customer boats in storage or in the service department, you may be getting questions like: Can I pick up my boat? If so, when and how? How can I pay for it?
    • It’s okay to not have all the answers right away. But that shouldn’t stop you from communicating. At a minimum, let them know that you care about their situation, and you’re working on a plan as you and your team adapt to a fast-moving situation. More about communicating in a crisis is available here:
  • Priority #3: Keep your eyes on the financials
    • Three key areas you will want to watch closely are your budget, the aging of your inventory, and your cash flow. Need help tracking these? Our friends at Parker Business Planning have made templates available to you here:
  • Priority #4: Find someone outside of your business to talk to
    • If you belong to a 20 Group or you’ve participated in Roundtable Discussions at MRAA’s annual conference, you know the power of this first-hand.
    • But what if you could plug into an even larger segment of the dealer community 24/7/365? That’s the goal of the platform MRAA is about to launch on its website, which you can access by logging in to If you don’t have an account, you can create one (even if you aren’t a member).

Just like you, the team at MRAA is adapting to a fast-changing situation, developing new tools, resources and education to serve you and your team. As you navigate the uncertainty and challenges that come up, our goal is to meet you where you are with as much of what you want and need to be successful as possible. Please contact us to let us know how we can help.

Matt Gruhn, President

Liz Walz, Vice President

Allison Gruhn, Director of Business Development

Mike Davin, Brand Director

Liz Keener, Certification Manager

Nikki Duffney, Member Development Manager

Mickaela Hilleren, Program Marketing Coordinator

Katie Eichelberger, Marketing Specialist

Sarah Korbel, Events & Operations Specialist

Adam Fortier-Brown, Government Relations Manager

Michele Rosacker, Administrative Manager

Bob McCann, Lead MICD Program Consultant

Jim Million, Certification Consultant

Rallee Chupich, Certification Consultant

Zane Stevenson, Certification Consultant

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