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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, September 05, 2008

Slow Motion

Curio City has a pulse. Traffic surged from a somnolent 93 visits to a lively 164 visits as office workers returned after Labor Day weekend. Sales picked up less dramatically. The max_user_connections bug still haunts me. Yesterday my web host raised the number of connections available, which is at least a band-aid…but the underlying bug is still at large.

The resolution that I made in last week’s post to double sales twice in two years is almost certainly doomed. Let’s see where slightly more realistic (but still exceedingly ambitious) sales goals might get me by the time I turn 55 in 2012.

Start with $10,000 in salary plus bonus this year (henceforth, my bonus shall be 75% of the annual profit, leaving 25% for company growth). I’ll need at least one big surge next year to raise that base. Let’s plan 75% growth in 2009, 50% in 2010, 35% in 2011, and 20% in 2012. That gets me to $17,500, $26,250, $35,438, and finally $42,525. As some costs remain stable while overall revenue grows, I can raise the salary percentage a bit – I just did some spreadsheet hocus pocus to give myself a raise from 17% of gross revenue to 17.5%. (Of course, that just takes those dollars out of my profit, which is taxed more favorably than salary, so there’s a limit to how much I want to do that.)

Looking up from the perspective of this year’s $10,000, $42,500 seems like a fine income. Yet, it’s still far short of what I earned in the early 1990s. Am I deluding myself? Should I save myself three more years of struggle, and just go bag groceries?

Those increases (75%, 50%, 35%, and 20%) are the lowest goals that I can get away with planning. Even after August’s dismal results, 2008’s YTD income is still running 77% ahead of LY. Gross profit is up 85%, payroll is up 93%, and bottom-line profit is a couple thousand bucks in the black, versus $5 in the red at this time LY. If 2008 returns to that growth rate after last month’s stumble, I’ll just need to duplicate it in 2009. If I did it once, I can do it twice.

Unfortunately, right now sales are barely even tracking LY. If sales remain lackluster for the rest of this year, I’ll have to consider folding my tent as soon as late winter, when Christmas peters out. I would not kill Curio City outright, but I’d cut it back to a part-time gig that supplements a minimum wage job.

Speaking of failures… the fall Boston Gift Show (a.k.a. the Cavalcade of Crap) was canceled. On one hand, I’m not surprised or sorry to see it go. OTOH, it was my only physical connection with the retail world outside of my house. If it doesn’t come back in the spring, I ought to find a different show to replace it…and that would entail travel and expense. I’m not sure what to do about this. It pretty much guarantees that I won’t find any unexpected great new products for this Christmas (not that the Cavalcade of Crap ever delivered anything substantial anyway, but at least the potential was always there.)

  • Legal extortion
  • The zombie store
  • Wacky ideas

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