Thursday, June 10, 2010

So many things to say....

...so few politically correct ways to say them.

I read the Source last night, and...I'm literally biting my tongue. It behooves me to shut the fuck up.

So I will.

I won't say anything.

I'm going to tend to my own knitting, by god. Till my own garden. Mind my own business.

**********

I was talking to a customer that I hadn't seen in years, and he was marveling at the growth of the store. He asked me why I was doing so well, when others were suffering.

First of all, I'm surviving, which is good, but I'm not exactly getting rich.

But as to why we're surviving: I think everyone is allowed one bubble to learn from. Unfortunately, (fortunately?) big bubbles may only come around once or twice in a career, and often wreck the business before any lessons can be learned.

I didn't know it at the time, but having gone through at least 7 bubbles, really prepared me for the big one. Hell, I didn't even learn enough from the first bubble, (sports cards) and proceeded to make nearly as many mistakes on the second bubble (comics). So much for being smart.

I then continued to make mistakes on the third and fourth bubbles (magic and non-sportscards) , and probably only really figured out how to handle the process with the fifth, sixth, and seventh bubbles (pogs, beanie babies, pokemon.).

This would be the 8th bubble, and while it's certainly economy ranging and a major bubble, it isn't even in the top half of the bubbles I've experienced, in terms of drop in sales.

So, just surviving a few bubbles has been the experience I needed to see another one coming and prepare....

Like being inoculated with cowpox to avoid small pox.

(That doesn't mean there might not be some other, unforeseen plague around the corner. In fact, I expect there is one. Which is another lesson from experience....)

**********

Yesterday was kind of a declaration of intent. I'm going to earn a good profit.

It's a way to stiffen the old spine.

This will work if and only if I can stick to my budget. So this morning I woke up, checked the Sales online, did a modest order, looked it over and decided it was all very marginal and deleted.

I'd be much better off spending that money on the good boardgames I'll be selling all summer....

**********

Reading over the first part of this post, I realized I didn't really say anything about HOW I prepared for the bubble.

1.) Eliminate debt.
2.) Keep overhead well below the break-even point.
3.) Keep your margins, don't panic.
4.) Fill your store with product.
5.) Don't preorder too much stuff.
6.)Don't spend the 'boom' money.
7.)Have a fall back plan.
8.)Mind your own advice.
9.)Don't overextend (or expand.)
10.)Work your own store.

There are plenty more, but these are off the top of my head.

19 comments:

RDC said...

Oh go ahead and comment.

Duncan McGeary said...

I can't, RDC. Just can't.

Except in the most oblique ways....

Duncan McGeary said...

By the way, I added to the post to be a little more specific.

Duncan McGeary said...

11.) Stick to basics...
12.) ...but diversfy.
13.) Pare back on non-essential activities.
14.)Fill the store with product.
15.)Oh, did I mention? Fill the store with product....

Duncan McGeary said...

16.) Make efficient use of every foot of your store.
17.) Be self-contained. Don't expect others to bail you out.
18.) Cut costs, (0bviously, but just in case you haven't done it.)
19.)Look for bargains.
20.)Bring in more product....

Duncan McGeary said...

21.) Dedicate your time and energy to the BUSINESS.
22.) Work the counter, yourself.
23.)Make use of every inch of your store. Make sure every foot is paying for itself. If you simply must provide service space, try to use it in off hours, or find a way to use the same space for both selling and servicing. Downtown rents are too high to waste.
24.) Treat your business like a business.
25.) Be self-sufficient.

Duncan McGeary said...

26.) Pay your employees enough, and then expect them to WORK.
27.) Any service that doesn't help the business should be done in off hours and or/outside the store.
28.) Focus on your core -- the product.
29.) Don't focus on 'popularity'. If you have the product they want at a reasonable price -- they'll buy it.
30. If you don't have something to sell, no amount of goodwill will compensate.

Duncan McGeary said...

O.K.

I'll shut up now.

blackdog said...

Thirty rules are way too many for anybody to remember. If you want to write a bestseller about How to Succeed With a Small Business you need to pare it down to 10. Or even better, five.

RDC said...

Atleast indicate what article created the reaction

blackdog said...

I looked through the latest Source and the only thing I could spot that could have triggered Dunc's ire was the caption under the picture on Page 7.

Duncan McGeary said...

Sorry, I know that it's not fair to bring it up and then not expound, but the fact you guys haven't got it means I've succeeded.

I thought you all would immediately get what I was saying...

blackdog said...

"Sorry, I know that it's not fair to bring it up and then not expound, but the fact you guys haven't got it means I've succeeded."

Succeeded at what? Confusing us? Yeah, you have.

Whatever it is that annoyed you, it must be pretty obscure.

Don't you like the picture of the cute rodeo queen on the cover?

Duncan McGeary said...

A thousand pardons, sahib.

RDC said...

I went through the online version and nothing stuck out. Nothing was more inane then it usually is.

Duncan McGeary said...

I saved the article, and someday when no one can still be offended, I'll do a postmortem.

RDC said...

Maybe its the article about indoor/outdoor cats?????

Duncan McGeary said...

I"m outraged. Outraged, I tell you! By indoor/outdoor cats!

(Never attack pets, my friends....)

not really.

Duncan McGeary said...

I just realized, I should have said: it wasn't anything in your column, Bruce.