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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 02, 2015

So, That's That for Another Year

First, I want to brag about winning Employee of the Month for shipping 302 packages in December with zero errors. Way to go, Ken! There's a little something extra in your paycheck this week...NOT! Here's why:

Fiscal December (Excel)

Total income: -9.7%
Total COGS: -37.9%
Payroll: -9.7%
Marketing: -37.2%
Net Income (Profit): +118.9% (+$3,211)
Actual Profit/Loss: +$510

Final FISCAL Year (Excel)

Total income: -2.5%
Total COGS: +0.6%
Payroll: -28.0%
Marketing: -9.4%
Net Income (Profit): +67.2% (+$8,340)
Actual Profit/Loss: -$4,073

Final CALENDAR Year (QuickBooks)

Total income: -2.0%
Total COGS: -8.5%
Payroll: -3.3%
Marketing: +3.0%
Net Income (Profit): +79.8% (+$2,898)
Actual Profit/Loss: -$735

My Excel accounting calendar steals a few days from both 2013 and 2015 to bookend the year with full 7-day weeks. These week-to-week comparisons are useful to me, but the world sees the QuickBooks numbers (where "the world" is my CPA, the Mass. DOR, and the IRS). 

December broke $10,000 by either measure, but it became the worst Christmas since 2007 by falling $1,300 short of LY's $12,205. No profit means no year-end bonus for me, and no bonus makes this the first year since 2007 that my salary didn't hit five figures. I missed that milestone by $70 (that's just $350 in sales -- I accuse two friends who didn't place their usual big Christmas orders this year...and who won't see me calling them out here because they don't read the Facebook!). 

In case you haven't been playing along at home, 2014 was perking right along until October and November tanked dramatically. December's near-recovery gives me some hope for 2015.
2014 was a year of rebuilding, featuring two big-ticket items: My first smart phone and a new laptop. I'd still like to upgrade to the current version of QuickBooks and get a more user-friendly backup/recovery service, but those are optional. I don't have any real capital expenditures to worry about in 2015.
Investing in infrastructure prevented me from investing in merchandise until November. That was my biggest omission this year. 2015's going to rectify that...theoretically, anyway. As badly as I need to reorder key products right now -- before I can even think about bringing in new ones -- my hands are tied until I can pay off Christmas and render unto Caesar. Next month's Amex bill is already a big challenge. 

While I wait for the financial battery to recharge, I'm removing the giftwrapping option from all of my products. Now you can buy most of them from the category screen without opening the product page to choose options; 99.5% of customers take the default "No giftwrapping." Saving them one click (or tap) and potential confusion far outweighs the whopping $33 that I earned on giftwrapping this each year. Mobile customers especially don't like extra steps or big blocks of text. This is the first step in a larger attempt to optimize my store for smartphone shoppers.  

Next week: Predicting 2015.

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