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, April 01, 2016

In Like a Lamb and Out Like Mutton

I wish that metaphor left me with a freezer full of delicious meat, but all I got was blood. This month turned a tiny YTD gain into a $1,800 deficit. I blame early Easter. Ordinarily I expect churchy people to buy around a dozen Dove kites; this year I sold all of two.


Total income: -37.2%
Total COGS: -36.7%
Payroll: -18.6%
Marketing: +91.4%
Net Income (Profit) vs LY: -446.2% (-$1,466)
Actual Profit/Loss: -$1,795


Total income: -14.5%
Total COGS: -12.8%
Payroll: -9.6%
Marketing: +2.2%
Net Income (Profit) vs LY: -77.2% (-$840)
Actual Profit/Loss: -$1,928

Last March was way better than average, so is the historical perspective any gentler? Nope. This was the worst March since 2008 and the fourth-worst (or the seventh-best, for you incurable optimists) in 11 years. The best thing I can say is that I set a really low bar for next year.

Since several bulk kite sales made April 2015 the best April ever, and since bird kites are likely to remain unavailable all month, I'll probably lose another $1,000 or more next month. That pretty much ensures that 2016 will extend my five-year losing trend.   

The new Bing "shopping campaign" is only getting one or two clicks a day. I turned my regular search ads on to test the new tracking code (see that huge jump in the March marketing number above?); they reported 12 conversions at a cost of just $115. Paying less than $10 for conversions that historically have cost me more than $18 would be swell, but I strongly suspect that the new script is double-counting. I was advised to insert it into two templates: One that affects all of my pages, as Bing requires, and one on the checkout page alone where conversions are actually counted, because the general template supposedly doesn't extend to the checkout page. But I really don't know. I ought to disable the code on the checkout page and see if Bing continues to report any conversions...but then I'd have to turn the ads back on again, and I can't afford to throw money at testing, especially while business is so slow that legitimate conversions can be a week apart.
I can end on two positive notes: I finally upgraded my laptop to Windows 10, turned off most of the Microsoft spyware, and installed the Win 7 skin this week. Designed as it is for touch screens, Win 10 is butt ugly and harder to use, but at least I'm up to date and everything works. 

American Express is rewarding my flawless payment history with a 0% APR for the rest of this year. It doesn't apply to balance transfers, so I can't move my $4,500 MasterCard balance over there and save $60 a month in interest. I use Amex for operating expenses and MC for merchandise, and most vendors don't take Amex due to high processing costs. But for the rest of the year I'll make the minimum Amex payment and throw what money I have at the MC. At the rate sales are going, even that modest shift will take three months.    

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search