You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know: Selling an RV Dealer
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know,” and never understood it, I was there also. I sold my family business about 18 months ago to a much larger company. At the time, I thought that knew a lot about the RV industry, after all, I was a third-generation owner. I figured if my grandfather and father had been successful for over 50 years, what they’d taught me ought to be enough. That idea, that concept embedded into the depths of my thought, couldn’t have been more wrong. I soon would learn “what I didn’t know.”
The first six months were really a blur. Our projections and goals were constantly changing based on more growth than I ever could’ve imagined. All of the new tools and information I now had at my disposal were amazing. Any question I had could be answered, and hunches could now be backed up with quantifiable data. I’ll admit it was a bit of an overload at first, but now it has become normal.
To people that have been brought into the light after having been in the dark, the world seems amazing, and this is how I felt. Along with this amazing feeling also comes a bit of shame. I now can say, “I didn’t know what I now know.” Shame comes from knowing that in 50 years of business, we never truly grew. Not when I came home from college with all my “fancy” degrees and learning. Not from an evolving economy. We only focused on small, consistent growth that was very risk-averse and preservation-minded. Debt was always considered bad. Sure, we made a great living, but now I know what could’ve been.
So to all those out there who “don’t know what you don’t know,” I suggest you learn before it cost you as much as it cost me. Sure, it cost me in the valuation of my company, but most of all, it cost me years of personal and professional growth. Now I am always searching for ways to improve, so if I am ever in the same position, my “don’t know” won’t last very long.
If you own an RV dealer, supplier, or OEM and would like to explore your growth options or exit options, I would welcome an opportunity to speak with you. Feel free to contact me for a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-521-1521. I look forward to speaking with you.