Noticing winter a-settin’ in got me a-thinkin’ about Christmas merchandise. First I attacked three piles of old catalogs and recycled all but half a dozen serious contenders. (I threw away at least 100). Then I started plowing through my six-month backlog of marginally relevant and mind-numbingly dull trade magazines. Once I’m done with that I’ll whip up some dummy orders/reorders to cost out everything. Then I’ll forecast how much I can spend, and finally pare things back until those numbers match. If this year is typical, I won’t find the best stuff until October anyway. I must resist the impulse to shoot my wad in September. It’s a small wad, after all (sing that to the tune of "It's a Small World After All").
Trade magazines aren’t written for one-man, work-at-home, technologically naïve souls like me. The articles often make me glad that my life doesn’t involve mainstream, high-stakes retailing. A few make me despair that my website lags behind the tech curve, and I’m helpless to change it. I am always at the mercy of Sunshop.
Speaking of which: On Sunday my new, post-Eric developer is scheduled to perform his first job for me, upgrading Sunshop from version 4.1.7 to 4.2.0. I’ll write more about that after the deed is done. The new version contains one major new feature, and Turnkey has promised to add some new templates that could offer me a whole new look.
I want to figure out social media before I get sucked too far into Christmas. I need to link this blog to a Facebook page and a Twitter account (both of which I have, but don’t understand), and then figure out how to use it all in concert with my email newsletters. Social media are as much about attracting media attention as actual customers. I do know how to provide a personality -- an often disagreeable personality, yes, but at least genuine.
Finally, I started using Google’s keyword tool to broaden my ad campaigns for a few products – casting a wide net for obscure but effective search terms that I’ve overlooked. I’ll have to winnow out a lot of crap in the process. This is driving up my ad costs in the short term.
Reasons to hate myself: I always log into my bank account to schedule payment immediately after reconciling a credit card statement. I’m sure that I ordered last month’s check as per my routine. But I must have forgotten to click the “Finished” button on Citizens Bank’s crappy interface, because last week I got a late-night overdue payment notice. I logged onto my Amex account and paid them online within minutes. Alas, they’d already extracted their pound of flesh. Forgetting to click that stupid “Finished” button cost me a $38 late fee and $42.81 in interest. So much for the $100 windfall I got for my old computer.
Why hate myself, rather than Amex or Citizens? Because we all know the sleazy games that card issuers play to “earn” fees nowadays. Before the Great Recession, I’d have begged Amex for mercy due to my stellar payment history; post-crash, I know better than to even ask. And the Citizens Bank interface just plain sucks. They are rolling out a redesign next month.
Reasons to hate QuickBooks: The eighth major patch for QB 2009 came out. Number of my previously tagged reasons to hate QuickBooks that were addressed: Zero. I can’t believe Intuit deliberately left the transaction-list sorting bug intact.
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.