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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, October 31, 2008

October Surprise

October is just a few hours from over. One of the worst months in the history of the world economy turned out to be among Curio City’s best non-Christmas months ever. I can’t explain why. Maybe my business is just too small to be affected by macroeconomic trends. Incremental improvements in my own operations and market position dwarf the overall decline in consumer spending. Or maybe Christmas just started early this year. Ordinarily the holiday uptick starts around Halloween. This year, it started after Columbus Day.

Here are the juicy numbers for calendar October:

  • Total income: +64%
  • COGS: +49.6%
  • Gross profit: +76.6
  • Payroll: +292.5% (yay me!)
  • All expenses: +79.6%
  • Net income (profit): +20.2%

Same numbers for YTD:

  • Total income: +75.2%
  • COGS: +74.1%
  • Gross profit: +80.3%
  • Payroll: +95.3%
  • All expenses: +50.8%
  • Net income: +1,190%

To celebrate, I gave myself another raise, from 17.5% to 17.75% of gross sales (works out to around $150 per year). That’s my second raise this year, up from 17%. I’ll eventually need to get my payroll percentage north of 20% if I’m ever going to hire employees.

Now I’ve got to keep bucking those macro trends.

Eric upgraded Sunshop to version 4.1.7 last week. It went smoothly. While I was bumbling and fumbling my way through various account management screens, I discovered that MochaHost has only assigned me 25 simultaneous database connections. It’s no wonder I keep getting the max_connections shutdown! I wonder now if there was ever a bug at all, or if they are just being niggardly with server capacity. When I complained about various speed issues, Mocha moved my site to a new server. I just re-pointed my domain name servers this morning. Right now I can’t access my store from my other computer, whose DNS cache I did not flush. I suppose that’s for the best; I don’t really want orders coming in on the old server, since it’s not easy to flip back and forth between databases. It supposedly takes up to 72 hours for the Internet to cope with a DNS change. I’ll leave my other computer unflushed so that I can periodically check for access. Meanwhile, I’m suspending my ads for the second time this week.

The version upgrade and the server move certainly explain why this week’s sales performance fell back into the “merely OK” category. At the moment I am exactly $1.28 ahead of LY and plan looks elusive, especially with advertising suspended and the DNS change still propagating. I’m sure that my site’s improved performance will pay off over the long haul. The site is much, MUCH faster on the machine whose cache I flushed (maybe because it’s not getting any traffic yet!).

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