GE Capital Teams with Spader Business Firm

November 30, 2010 by · Comments Off on GE Capital Teams with Spader Business Firm 

Pete Lannon, GE Capital

Pete Lannon, GE Capital

GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) today (Nov. 30) announced the launch of a new program with Spader Business Management.

Under the program, GE Capital is subsidizing a one-year subscription to Spader True, an online system that allows qualified recreational vehicle dealers in the U.S. to compare their business performance against industry benchmarks on a wide variety of financial metrics, according to a news release.

Spader True is an interactive system that provides a summary of more than 1,500 individual data points in a series of graphic displays, known as dashboards. It allows dealers to compare their performance on a wide variety of detailed metrics related to expenses, sales mix, and profit margins, by department, against industry averages.

“GE Capital wants dealers to have the best financial reporting and forecasting tools to grow their businesses,” said Pete Lannon, managing director-RV for GE Capital’s CDF business. “We are pleased to help make the new Spader True product available to dealers.”

Under the program, GE will pay 50% of the cost of a one-year subscription.

“Spader True contains live data that dealers can start using immediately,” said John Spader, president of Spader Business Management, in Sioux Falls, S.D. “Spader True provides a true measure of businesses performance to show where they are now, where they’re headed and where they need to be for a healthy organization. It was designed to be used by dealers and their management team so that, with one quick look, they can discover what’s working and what needs improvement.”

Dealers can learn more about the system by visiting the GE Capital booth (North Wing Lobby #24E) or the Spader booth (#94 or #308) Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the 48th Annual National RV Trade show in Louisville, Ky.

About Spader Business Management

Spader Business Management offers a full range of programs, tools and applications to help revitalize businesses, restore optimism and create clarity and confidence for success. John Spader founded the company more than 30 years ago.

About GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance

GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance is a leading financing provider to manufacturers and their distributors. Programs include inventory financing, asset-based lending, private label financing, collateral management, e-commerce services and related financial products. Additional information can be found online at, or by following company news via Twitter (@GEInventoryFin).

About GE Capital

GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital).

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Spader Reflects on Work, His Career & Life

August 23, 2010 by · Comments Off on Spader Reflects on Work, His Career & Life 

Duane Spader

Duane Spader

Editor’s Note: Despite working in an industry that represents travel, Duane Spader has spent much of his business career close to home. He grew up on an Oldham, S.D.,  farm reading three to five books a week, farming with horses, raising lambs and filling out pigs. He learned his South Dakota-based value system here and teaches it worldwide through Spader Business Management, a training and consulting company. He started Spader Camper Center in 1964 in Brookings and moved it to Sioux Falls in 1971. This summer, Spader was listed as one of the “100 Most Influential People in RV History” by RVBusiness magazine and in 2004 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. A founding member of the national Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) , Spader served as president in 1974 and 75. As RVDA’s top volunteer during a critical time in industry history, he was instrumental in laying the groundwork for what has grown into a unified and financially sound organization that serves the nation’s RV retailers. He is recognized as having conceived and developed the RVDA 20 Group programs, which allow dealers to network and share best practices. He has been an RV dealer for over 40 years and a campground operator for over 30 years. In these capacities, he has devised and distributed benchmarking and performance measurement concepts that have revolutionized the way RV dealers do business. He has been a friend, mentor and coach to hundreds of RV dealers from coast to coast. Following is an interview with Spader conducted by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Question: What’s your career story?

Answer: I wanted a college degree so bad, but I was 10 of 16 children, and my father did not believe in education, so I actually put myself through high school. I was the first boy in the family to go to high school and college. I started in 1964 in Brookings and ended up in a business that I never intended to. In 1964, I had to make the choice: give up my college degree or start a business.

Instead of paying my bills for college, I decided to start a business. About 1970, I was working 120 hours a week, basically paying to work. I was in the process of shutting down to go back to college when Ralph Rogers, a local Sioux Falls businessman, told me to move to Sioux Falls and that he’d help me.

So I had five of the top people in Sioux Falls as my mentors on how to expand the business. The mentors here in town – John Griffin, Lloyd Reaves, Jack Flowers, Allen Herman, Don Cornish – helped me to become a better businessman. The business continued to grow, and we’re now in 10 different industries.

Q: What’s the best part of being the founder of Spader Business Management?

A: The tremendous rewards that I get back from working with other people. We have over 5,000 business clients of every size, from just starting in business to international corporations. The amount of input I get back from working with them is phenomenal.

Q: What is your outlook on life?

A: First of all, I’m thankful to be born in the United States. I’ve been blessed in life; I’ve worked very hard, though, and am confident I could not have worked any harder. I’m thankful to be born in the family I have. I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had in business. I also believe that without the responsibility that I learned as a child and without doing it for other people rather than myself, this business would not have survived like it did. My family background prepared me for this.

Q: What country would you like to visit and why?

A: I have customers in Australia, New Zealand and Moscow and have always wanted to visit them. If it weren’t for my health restrictions, I would be visiting my clients worldwide.

Q: Who is your favorite Disney character?

A: My favorite character is Mickey Mouse.

Q: If time machines existed, what time would you go back to and why?

A: I have mentioned this many times, being born in the 1940s allowed me to live in the best times in the world. I lived in a time with the luxuries of technology but also the stability and values that come when you don’t have the luxuries. I was fortunate enough to have them both.

I don’t know if I’d want to go to a different time at all. My kids don’t have the stability of the values that were implemented when there weren’t so many luxuries. They will adjust, but it isn’t like it used to be. I actually farmed with horses, and in the sixth grade, I had to go count how many cows we were milking at my father’s auctions. When I was 13, my parents took my siblings to Florida, and I stayed home all winter by myself. I lambed out 125 ewes, a mature female sheep, and filled out about 40 pigs. My folks gave me a huge amount of responsibility.

Q: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

A: If I could have any power it would be to have people understand the Bible and what’s behind the Bible. The real super power is outside of this life and that’s God. It’s something the young people are not recognizing as much as when we were children.

Q: What food can’t you live without?

A: The basics. Meat, potatoes and vegetables. It’s what I was raised with and what I still like today.

Q: What’s something people don’t know about you?

A: Even though I’m not a writer, I’ve written a couple booklets for my classmates. One is the One Dollar Empowerment and the other is After America. I’ve also published over 150 national pieces, and most local people do not know about that.

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Spader Business & Life Associates Are Merging

April 19, 2010 by · Comments Off on Spader Business & Life Associates Are Merging 

logo2Providing business leaders with the clarity and confidence to make sound management decisions in all economic conditions is the goal of the merged resources of industry consultants Life Associates and Spader Business Management.

Today’s announcement strengthens and formalizes the long relationship the two firms have had over 30 years and moves their activities under one combined system easily accessed by their respective clients, according to a news release.

Business Highlights:

  • Spader Business Management has developed industry specific business programs for the RV, marine, power-sports, lighting showroom, farm equipment, motorcoach, trailer and office furniture industries.
  • Life Associates founder Michael O’Connor has authored or co-authored six books on management including the best-selling book Managing by Values with  Ken Blanchard.
  • Life Associates has worked with diverse companies including Fortune 500 clients.
  • Over the past 10 years Spader has helped more than 5,000 North American businesses achieve success by enhancing on-going best business practices.
  • Spader personnel are frequent speakers and commentators for industry publications and events.

“Our two companies have shared philosophies and a mutual respect for each other for over 30 years,” said Spader Business Management Founder Duane Spader. “The combined intellectual capital that these merged resources represent offers businesses a full suite of processes and timeless principles to allow them to establish successful and sustainable businesses.”

Life Associates founder Michael O’Connor, is an internationally recognized thought leader. O’Connor has made substantial contributions to fields such as human resources, behavioral management, leadership, strategy and organizational development, devoted to achieving higher personal, group and organizational performance.

Commenting on the importance of the merged resources, O’Connor said, “Bringing our two capabilities together is comparable to hardware and software. The software is the art of hiring, retaining and training the right people to a common philosophy and a realistic, practical process for achieving what an organization values. Spader Business Management’s philosophy and proven facts-based business principles and programs are the hardware. This combination represents the natural progression of what business consulting should provide as comprehensive, total solutions for companies looking to reach new levels of performance.”

“The timing of this announcement is good news for both organizations’ clients as they navigate through our current volatile economy,” said John Spader, president of Spader Business Management. “Our clients will find that by taking advantage of the processes and principles of our combined offerings that they will have the confidence and clarity needed to stabilize and grow their businesses.”

Spader Business Management, located in Sioux Falls, S.D., has an over 30-year history of providing processes and management tools for a variety of businesses that focus on improved profitability, productivity and performance. Spader’s offerings include “Total Management Workshops” and industry leading “Spader 20 Groups”  that bring business leaders together to share comparative data and best practices.

Life Associates, with locations in Naples, Fla., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., provides management consulting services that are designed around a systematic approach for businesses to align their culture and business practices with their core values to create all-win solutions for its stakeholders.

For more information about Spader Business Management, visit <> .

For more information about Life Associates, visit <> .

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Dealers Report New Boat Sales Down 47%

May 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on Dealers Report New Boat Sales Down 47% 

New boat sales for the average dealer tracked by Spader Business Management were down 47% in the first quarter vs. 2008, the company reports. Sales dropped from $1,083,738 to $574,357, with pre-owned boat sales down only 2.3%, Boating Industry reported today (May 1) on its website.

Spader, a training and consulting firm based in Sioux Falls, S.D., tracks North American marine and RV dealers.

New boat inventory levels were down a little more than 14% for the first three months of the year ending March 31 – from $3,8 to $3,2 million. Spader reported used boat inventories were up 23.8% to $453,918 in the first quarter, resulting in a total inventory decline of 11%. 

Total dealership sales fell 36.1% compared to Q1 2008. F&I revenue fell 53.8% and service revenues dropped 19.4% for the month, while parts and accessories sales were down 15.1%, marina revenues dipped 0.9% and other department sales slipped 58.5%.

Total dealership gross margins rose 3.5% because, with boat sales down, a greater percentage of revenue is coming from higher margin areas, Spader explained. The average dealer reported a significant increase – 5% — in gross margin on parts andaccessories. New boat gross margins edged down 1.2% vs. last year. 

Spending, in turn, was down by more than 20% in terms of dollars spent. However, as a percentage of gross margin, the average dealer spent more in the first three months of 2009. Personnel expenses, floor plan interest expense and fixed expenses were all up in terms of the percentage of gross margin spent on those items. 

The average dealer reported a net loss of $127,013 for the first quarter of ’09 – 10% more than the average net loss of $114,808 for the first quarter of 2008.

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