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.
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Friday, December 15, 2006

What Does Success Look Like?

That is a harder question to answer than you might think, because there are several possible long-term futures. Those will be the subject of future posts. For today’s essay, let’s make these assumptions:

  1. That Curio City Online continues indefinitely as a one-man, home-based, online-only operation;
  2. That I solve enough structural financial problems to achieve profitability in 2007;
  3. That I can do #2 while still devoting 16.5% of gross sales to payroll, and that I can handle the business while remaining the only employee;
  4. That I can achieve the above and also take on some additional expenses (like insurance), and can eventually pay temporary part-time help so that I can take a vacation now and then.

In other words, I’m assuming for the sake of discussion that things go on pretty much as they are now, except with dramatic growth continuing for 2-3 more years.

I said in an early post that riches are not my goal in life. I only need to pull out a salary of $50,000 per year to live quite comfortably. That means Curio City has to gross roughly $300,000 per year. Quite simply, that's my success level.

In Year One (November to November, so not including this all-important Christmas season), I made 515 sales, averaging 1.4 per day. Gross sales were $22,510 with an average ticket of $43.71. To reach $300,000, I’d need 6,865 sales, or 18.8 sales per day.

It sounds like a lot. It is a lot. But it’s attainable. I already make four or five sales on my good days. My busiest day ever hit 18 transactions, and I’ve averaged 10-15 per day for the past few weeks. I've had to run at full speed. It’s hard to imagine processing 20 sales a day on average, but it's not impossible...and I've shown that I can (just barely!) handle the logistics of finding, ordering, receiving, storing, packaging, and shipping that much stock. It would become overwhelming to do it routinely, but that is a problem I’d love to have.

My goal for 2007 is to double my 2006 sales, and end the year with a profit (even just $1). Curio City will pay me in salary about the same amount as I plan to infuse, making the year revenue-neutral from a personal point-of-view.

If I can achieve this realistic goal in 2007, I will feel comfortable taking out a loan for a major expansion in 2008. That’s where my “possible futures” columns come in, so I’ll leave it at that for today.

Other Forthcoming Topics:

  • Christmas Wrap-Up
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Possible Futures
  • Planned features

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