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.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Slimming Down While Bulking Up
I had two bulk order inquiries this week, and another big kite order arrived out of the blue. The first pilgrim bought half of the Switchables fixtures that she'd asked about. The second one balked when he saw the shipping charge for golfballs. July's going to be a good month on the income side -- which is surprising in light of light routine business -- but the profit side will be slim. The bills for the merchandise will hit next month. My software undercharged the osprey kite guy for next-day shipping by $25, and I have to pay both inbound and outbound freight for the Switchables order, which also got free shipping and my discounted bulk price. In an effort to salvage the golf ball sale, I told that guy about the free shipping coupon, so that's another hit if the order comes through.
I keep saying that it's all about cash flow and profits are an afterthought, but that's only true while cash flow stays positive. Cash flow keeps the bills paid...except when it doesn't. Then you get negative cash flow, or "debt" to the layman. Profitability is how one pays off debt. If there's no money left after the bills are paid, there's nothing to throw at debt.
Don't get me wrong; a healthy top line is a beautiful thing. But as long as the bottom line stays red my debt keeps going in the wrong direction. I'm stomping on costs as hard as I can...but since I'm a natural-born cheapskate there's not a lot to stomp on.
Mailchimp's reports look just fine; in fact, they have some advanced reporting options that I can't use without implementing some scripts. I had expected an open rate of at least 50% from my stripped-down, recently-vetted mailing list. Actually got only 58 unique opens out of 157 sent (36.9%) and just 10 clicks. I hadn't expected very many clicks from this test newsletter, but you can see why they aren't worth $20 per month -- that would have been $4 per click at Constant Contact prices (assuming six newsletters per year). As for results...one person used the free shipping coupon and one (a family member) unsubscribed. I found that rude, even though she has never bought anything, nor ever will...but I suppose I don't need low-quality addresses cluttering my list or people reading my newsletters just to humor me.
My developer says he'll have time to tackle my task list next month. I'll work on reviving email marketing after that.