Eighteen months of unemployment honed my skill at redlining budgets. I used to preserve generous margins for error, even though I rarely err financially. Now those comfy cushions are gone. I often drain my accounts down to their last $5.
That’s safe with my meager personal finances. It’s more chancy with our household finances. It’s downright dangerous when applied to Curio City. For the first time in five years, I may have frakked up.
If September sales were worrisome, October is downright frightening. Only five days have beaten last year and I haven’t hit my plan even once. The income that I was pre-spending isn’t coming in, but the bills are. I’m averaging a decent five sales a day but too many of them are in the $10-15 range. Five sales a day at $40 is about where October should be. Five sales at $10…well.
And yet, spend I must. This compulsion could be a sign of the apocalypse, so alien it is to my nature. Skyrocketing keyword prices have doubled my advertising spend even as sales decrease…but cutting back on advertising would be suicide. After waiting literally for months for the supplier of my bestselling 5-LED Cap Light to restock, I finally gave up on them and found an alternate source – one who also sells a color version. Woo! This will be a surefire hit. But, of course, I had to spend money to bring them in. (Those links won’t work until the products arrive next week).
So I’ve deflated my cushion (I keep reminding myself that investing it in Christmas merchandise could pay off better than the $2 it’s earning in monthly interest). As of this morning, bills are outpacing cash by $1,600. Receipts between now and the end of the month might or might not cover that gap. I might carry a small credit card balance for the first time ever. That wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would feel like a frakup.
Well. October’s only halfway over and I have one good-sized sale in the pipeline (I’m waiting for a paper check to arrive for a deal struck a month ago). Lighted cap sales revived after I bid up my keywords and hopped up the page text to seduce Google. The next two weeks probably won’t reverse the damage from the first two, but they could at least stop the slide.
Curio City isn’t the only one who needs cash. Anne’s birthday is two weeks away, my packie’s huge fall beer tasting is almost upon us, the Boston Globe bill is due again, and I’ve got all of $17.74 in my checking account.
Weird footnote: More than half of this week’s orders came from Texas, California, and Florida. I don’t know why. Under the “How did you find us?” dropdown one customer chose “You were linked in a blog or online article”. Really? Another said “Heard about you on radio or TV.” Wow. She probably saw Panther Vision caps on TV – one of the shopping channels used to sell them…if that’s begun again it would explain the cap revival better than my feeble efforts does. Believe it or not, most consumers don’t understand that retailers and manufacturers are different entities; many of my customers think I’m Panther Vision. I don't care if they think I'm Satan Claus as long as they place those orders.
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.