Greeting Salsa friends. Thought I'd follow up Kid Riemer's 2007 review with a little recap of my own. I'll also share a little bit about where we are going in 2008.
First, thanks to each of you. Salsa had a great year in 2007. I think 2007 was a year all of us here in Salsa land should be proud of. You've probably heard folks say things like "3 steps forward, 1 step back" when referencing their own view of progress. Well, I think I'm just going to go with 3 steps forward.
STEP 1 - Results. We got good, and in some cases great, results this year. Results can mean a lot of things. I'll share a few points we measured this year.
GROWTH - We had 20+% growth this year. Our highest growth in many years.
WEB TRAFFIC - We introduced a new website early in the year. In October we also made an effort to reach out to our customers by allowing blog comments and direct feedback. We had our all time peak of unique visitors, visits and page views in October 2007.
RACING - We increased our professional and semi professional sponsorship. We had a top 10 overall in the US National Mtb series with Jeff Hall. We've got a couple of world class juniors from the Clif Bar Junior Development team going the the Euro Cross Camp and Cross World Championships. The UK Salsa team finished in the top 3 overall in both the men and womans divisions. On top of that, lots of other racers chose Salsa as their ride for countless cross races, road races, 100 milers, 12 hours and 24 hour events. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
DEALERS - Our dealer base increased a lot as did our commitment to service. Our dealer retention and dealer pre orders all increased going into 2008. Thank you.
Step 2 - Product Development
STAFF - Our product development team hired 2 engineers and an additional industrial designer. On top of that, they have 2 more job postings coming. We take great pride in the fact that we design our own stuff.
PRODUCT - Our development process has improved a lot. The end result is better product. So much work was done here with lots more coming. Software, testing equipment, vendor compliance, & QC all improved in 2007.
Step 3 - Vision
PRODUCT - We believe no matter how we market or build the Salsa brand, we are defined by the product we make. Doesn't matter how good your marketing is if your product is crap. I've already called out product in our product development step 2. Good product is one thing, but I think we are getting better at identifying market opportunities and finding ways to produce products that other manufacturers choose not too. We are trying to release product when it is ready. Sure we'll make a mistake every now and then but our intent is clear. Introduce product when it is good and ready. Make sure our dealer base knows about it before they read about it or have customers coming in asking for it.
DEALERS - We are committed to serving both our international distributors and US dealers. We are hiring staff and seeking ways to increase our service.
COMPLETE BIKES - We introduced 1 complete bike for 2007 model year to learn processes and test the market. We have 5 complete bikes for the 2008 model year. Who knows what 2009 will bring?
NICHE - We will continue to focus on niche markets and products. At least ones that make sense to us and ones that we believe we can add some sort of value. Besides, it's more fun working on these projects! All I can say right now looking forward is hold on.
Honestly, I could go on and on about 2007. I'm sure some could chime in here and let us know what we did wrong. I want to assure you we recognize that too and will ask just those questions later in January. Today's post is about what we did right and where we are going.
I'm proud of the Salsa team and I'm thankful for our staff, loyal fans, supporters, racers and customers. Thanks again for the great year.
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Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.