I made some rather Large orders of books and games yesterday. I was scheduled to make these orders anyway, as part of my regular August spending, but I decided to go Bigger than I'd originally intended.
I've been thinking how, in an odd way, my decision parallels the national debate of austerity versus stimulus.
First of all, I waited for the full three months of falling sales before I declared it a trend. This is a fail-safe mechanism for me, because I can overreact to short term gains or losses. But there is now little doubt that -- at least for me -- I'm going through a double dip downturn. (I've got some independent information that it isn't just happening to me, too.)
Secondly, up to now my focus this summer has been on profits, not growth. As a result, I've been able to 'balance the budget', if you will. But sales have been dropping, and there is the danger of continued decline, or 'deflation', if you will.
Personally, I think the falling sales are more dangerous. So I've reversed course, and decided to prop the sales up again. (This has been my goal for most of my career, as long as I was taking enough home to pay the bills. What I'd been hoping to change was the ability to bring home 'extra' profits -- extra in the 'putting it in the bank' sense.)
Just throwing money at the problem isn't very useful. Fortunately, I have two categories in my store that are showing signs of strength -- even growth. Books and games. I have a long list of product that I can order that I either 1.) have sold in the past, or 2.) am pretty sure I can sell in the future.
I have the luxury of growing the categories with salable product. (There is also the side bonus that being proactive is much more fun and interesting, and my engagement in the process often, in and of itself, encourages sales.)
On the other hand, I don't get the sense that buying more Magic will help. Or toys. Comics and graphic novels are pretty well stocked -- these are mature product lines that are already selling about as well as they are likely to sell and I'm already keeping my inventory up and buying more might boost sales a bit, but wouldn't be terribly cost efficient. I don't want to just "buy" myself into sales growth.
By buying more games and books, I've probably insured that I'll increase sales through August and hopefully through the end of the year, but I've also probably given up my chance to make the 'extra' profits. That goal will have to wait for another day. Now is not the time for foregoing growth in viable product lines.
I suppose the big difference between me and the federal government is that I'm not in debt. I have no loans out, my budget is currently balanced, and turning a profit. There is a chance that if this new product doesn't sell in a timely manner that I might have a budget deficit, but I'd be surprised if it happens. It wouldn't hurt us much if it did.
Also ironic -- and typical for me and Pegasus -- is that I'm buying heavily into a product -- BOOKS -- that many other people seem to be having doubts about. I've been selling more books than ever, and I still see a path to selling even more, (trends that are evident, authors who sell who I can buy more of) so that's where I'm headed. Contrarian, as usual.
One of these days I'd really like to prove the store can be Very profitable, not just modestly profitable.
Maybe now isn't the time to try to prove it.
As everyone keeps saying, "Breaking Even is the New Black."
16 hours ago