Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, September 08, 2006

Startup Phases Defined

My last post mentioned Phases 1, 2, and 3. The definition of each has changed with experience. The budget for each has not.

Phase 1 (once I lost my delusions of grandeur) was simply creating a working e-commerce site and opening for business before Christmas 2005. It cost me about $21,000 to get there.

I’m in Phase 2 now. The objective is to enhance my site as much as possible given the development constraints previously explained, refine my inventory selection, strengthen my brand, and achieve financial break-even. Phase 2 ends when the Sunshop version upgrade is completed, when my current modest development task list is done (or the money runs out), and when Curio City has its first break-even month. The budget for Phase 2 was $10,500, more than half of which is gone.

Despite August’s lamentable sales numbers, I came within $51 of breaking even; with no physical store, my costs are highly scalable. Year to date, I’m $3,867.42 in the red on gross sales of just over $14,000. While I don’t think that Christmas can possibly save the year, I do expect to have my first profitable month – maybe even this month, although September is off to a disappointing start.

Phase 3 begins when my last bank CD matures next May. It will end when that $10,000 is gone. By then, Curio City must be consistently profitable and providing me with dependable paychecks. My main Phase 3 objective is to release Eric from servitude and find a new developer to implement some of my more advanced features. Secondarily, I need to remedy some necessary omissions (like insurance) and employ a part-time helper during the Christmas season.

By the time Phase 3 ends (probably Q1 2008), I’ll know whether Curio City will fly as an exclusively online business, or whether I need to open a physical store...or whether I should just get a respectable job. By then, I’ll have invested all of my money -- $41,000 -- and a couple of years of my life.


The Boston Gift Show begins tomorrow. If it's at all interesting, that will be my next topic.


Other Forthcoming Topics:

  • SEO: The 900-Pound Gorilla
  • Where the Money Came From
  • “We” versus “I”
  • Good Debt, Bad Debt
  • Long-term Prospects
  • Planned features
If you're especially interested in any of those subjects, or if you want to suggest something else, please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I'm interested in all of it, so just keep writing.

  2. Thanks for letting me know that you are reading and interested. I am always happy to get feedback.


What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search