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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, January 31, 2014

Stumbling Out of the Block

January & Year to Date

Total income: -10%
Total COGS: +1.1%
Payroll: -11.7%
Marketing: +3.4%
Net Income (Profit): -118.4% (-$253)

If you omit four bulk sales that plumped up January 2013 this year’s underlying business wasn’t bad. I thrashed LY one week, got trounced another week, and basically tied it the other three weeks. With a day and a half left I’ll finish within a few hundred bucks of LY. Analytics says I’m still drawing 150+ visits a day, which ought to yield 3+ sales, but for the past few weeks I’ve only averaged two per day. Failure to convert is a bigger problem than traffic. My makeover plan might help with that if I can ever scrape up the money to do it.

Obviously, too much advertising bought too few sales, and that’s exactly what killed me last year. Ideally I’d like more sales from the same spend. As a fallback I need the same sales from a smaller spend. To that end I’ve changed my Google bidding method to give me better control over price. So far, I’ve shaved it by $10/day without a noticeable hit to sales. COGS is only up because I had some favorable one-time inventory adjustments last year.

I managed to pay off both of my December credit card bills and most of my taxes. Doing so delayed Monday’s paycheck by one day and left me with $2.71 in checking – how’s that for cash management? Now I need another $1,115 above and beyond my operating expenses for more taxes and tax prep. If I can swing that in February, I can think about doing my site upgrade in March. If I can’t, it gets postponed til April. That’s when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP and amps up the pressure to buy a new laptop. The cash flow challenges never stop. 

The rest of this year’s sales targets look achievable. February should be especially easy if the random act of media that I wrote about last week pays off at all. The vendor refused to give me inventory on consignment, but says that they will fast-track a reorder. That will give me one chance to back up the 36 pieces that arrived today if Monday’s action is unambiguous. If I sell every piece that I have, I’ll gross a whopping $515 – not exactly the stuff of dreams. If it flops, I’m only stuck with another $216 worth of dead merchandise – a setback, sure, but not the stuff of nightmares. And I could do better if some of those 36 hypothetical customers buy other items, such as earbuds. With the newsletter and coupon that hit today, I feel like I’ve done everything that I can.


Meaningless milestone: Sunshop cranked out order 111111. It’s not really my 11,111th sale, but it was kind of cool to see the number anyway. Since numbering started at 100001, I’ll never see 222222. In fact, at the rate I’m going I should be safely dead before I hit 122222 in another 9-10 years.

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