“Drive thy business, or it will drive thee.”

— Benjamin Franklin

It seems as if almost every industry member I speak with is having a tough time in this market. Sure, there are a few bright spots, but overall the feeling out there is, “Let’s hunker down and tighten our belts.”

While cutting expenses is necessary for many companies to stay afloat in this business climate, it’s also important to remember that innovative, aggressive methods of getting your firm’s name out there will give your revenue a shot in the arm.

Not long ago, we reported on a new group that was forming called Recway. The organization was co-founded by Jesse Roberts, CEO of Roberts Pool & Spa in Omaha, and involves pool and spa businesses partnering with firms in the home electronics industry. Recway aims to create cross-promotional opportunities and combine resources as a way to strengthen ad-buys.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a well-known spa dealer who, along with four competitors, is in the planning stage of creating a group that would invest in promoting spas on a local level. “We can’t cut expenses anymore,” the retailer told me. “We are as lean as we can be. Until this market hit, there had never been a desire among the top five dealers in our area to get together and talk about solutions.”

The group’s future plans include buying advertising throughout the summer and holding a live radio event each weekend at a different member’s store. Down the road, they also may sponsor a local backyard show for consumers. Of course, the topic of anti-trust has been thoroughly examined, and certain subjects are strictly off-limits for members to discuss.

In any case, these are two examples of members of our industry being proactive during a time when such bold, decisive moves are sorely needed.

Here’s hoping their hard work and ingenuity will pay dividends for years to come.