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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, March 14, 2014

It's Always Something

Massachusetts’ Secretary of State got his $109 “annual report” fee a few days before the deadline. Hours later an email from my CPA corrected my assumption that I had another month to scrape up the $456 state minimum tax; it’s all due on March 17. Suddenly, my taxes are paid and my bank account is $565 lighter. Fortunately, March business has been so strong that I’ll still be able to pay my credit card bills.

Paying my CPA will be my first April priority; that will finally slay the tax beast for another year. The second priority is going to be a lot more challenging: Microsoft is cutting Windows XP loose. My five-year-old computer will have a big "hack me" sign taped to its back after that deadline passes. I’d like to spend $800-ish on a new Win 7 laptop that will serve me for four or five years, but I might have to settle for a barebones machine for half that price and plan on replacing it sooner. We’ll see if sales hold up and just how dire the security threat looks. I will most likely need some new software, too; Quickbooks 2009 is getting a little long in the tooth.

If Microsoft didn't have a gun to my head I’d upgrade my website first. The "responsive theme" will make it more mobile-friendly and that could improve sales. It only costs $75 up front, but customization and support could add hundreds to the price tag, and sales often tank for a few days after a software upgrade. That pushes it into May unless I decide to postpone the computer and take my chances with the bad guys for a month or two. 

In June I can knock off the last capital expense on my list: A new office chair. Staples has a good selection in the $100-200 range. I don’t want to skimp on this since my butt spends 75% of its waking hours parked in this chair. A $200 expense in June, when sales typically peter out, is substantial. 

If all of that spending is in the rearview mirror by July I can finally start bringing in a few of the Spring products that started crossing my desk in February. Even though I won’t have any money for merchandise until July, I will still attend the annual Cavalcade of Crap (or the Boston Gift Show, as it prefers to be called) in a couple of weeks. 

The computer and the chair, plus the smartphone that I already bought, will doom 2014 to being another year with no profit…but at least I’ll have a phone, a computer, and a chair that won’t need replacing next year!

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