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.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, March 28, 2014

Here's the Black; Now Gimme the Green


Total income: +27.8%
Total COGS: +41.1%
Payroll: +33.2%
Marketing: +15.1%
Net Income (Profit): +62.1% (+$761)

Year to Date

Total income: +8.3%
Total COGS: +14.8%
Payroll: +3.2%
Marketing: +8.1%
Net Income (Profit): +39.1% (+$666)

Kite season is here! I not only demolished LY’s sales…I’m just $74 shy of squeaking out my sales plan for the month. It’s not all lollipops and unicorns, though.

·         Most of the profit increase (actually a loss reduction…real profit never shows up before November) will evaporate after I pay my accountant’s tax prep fee. That expense is a few weeks late this year.
·         A lot of those sales were Jackite dropships, meaning that I’m selling merchandise I haven’t paid for yet. I’d rather sell stuff I already own.
·         COGS (the Cost of Goods Sold) rose a lot more than sales did, in part because shipping charges cut into my markup on dropships.
·         As much as I appreciate all of the nice big kite sales, my routine, bread-and-butter small sales have dropped off noticeably. Eight $250+ days is great; 13 sub-$50 days is worrisome.

The numbers might have looked even better had a mysterious technical glitch not shut down credit card processing for a day or two before I caught it. My credit card processor (CDG Commerce) gives me access to either the Quantum Gateway or the Quantum Transparent Gateway. When you submit a credit card order, the “regular” gateway takes you away from my site and pops up an ugly plain-white CDG confirmation page. You click a button to return to my checkout confirmation screen. The transparent gateway eliminates that extra screen. I used the transparent gateway for five years until it simply stopped working for no apparent reason last week. 

It took a few hours of fumbling to figure out that I can still accept cards through the regular gateway. The superfluous confirmation screen isn’t a big problem because the customer has already clicked Process Order by the time they see it. It’s not like they can back out. I’m a worrier, though – when something stops working, I need to know why. Technology can be a lot of things, but “mysterious” isn’t one of them.

When you’re a one-man business, nobody cares about your problems except you. It took two days of nagging just to get somebody to take ownership of the mystery. Once you finally get a support person’s interest, he’ll usually run it to ground. I say “usually” because they still haven’t solved it and they stopped sending me progress updates two days ago. I think they've given up.

Meanwhile, three charges from last week never found their way into my checking account. CDG just fixed that today, citing a “technical issue”. Seriously? This should be routine stuff. This is what your company does. I have reluctantly decided to ditch CDG next week. I hate to perturb systems that are working, and this one worked fine for five years. But they’ve been plagued with errors ever since they started implementing “improvements” a few months ago. 

Oh, and with all of that crap going on I blew off the Boston Gift Show.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search