"Take advantage of the good times now to prepare for the eventual downturn."

— Gary Morgan, senior director of North American Sales

The Year Ahead. This year should be even better than 2007. We're concerned about the under-40 hp market as housing starts continue to decline. Hay and forage will continue to show a great deal of strength as beef and poultry and ag commodities continue to look very favorable.

Planning for the Next 5 Years. Having owned an auto dealership for a number of years, one of the things I found to keep me pointed in the right direction was writing down my goals. I've already found that many of our dealers don't do this. They have no idea if they're working on a day-to-day or month-to-month basis. So, I'd challenge you to write down your goals on where you want to be 5 years from now. Perhaps that might even involve a succession plan. A lot of dealers have the bulk of their net worth tied up in their dealerships. In the unlikely event that something tragic happens, you need a succession plan.

Take a walk through your dealership and really look around. Sometimes, when you spend as much time as you do in your own store, you can be unaware of what your place really looks like. You can be sure that your customers know what it looks like.

Prepare for the next downcycle. Take advantage of the good times now to prepare for the eventual downturn. Differentiate yourself from your competitors. People are drawn to success. How successful do you and your dealership appear in your community?

(Morgan was appointed to his position at New Holland on October 5, 2007. Previously, he was with CNH capital. He also spent 3 years with Harley-Davidson and 20 years in auto industry. He owned and operated a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership for 9 years.)

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