Three little words.
Trial and error.
You try things out and they work and you do more of it.
You try things out and they don't work, and you do less of it.
Last long enough, and you gather a whole bunch of more winning strategies, and shed a whole bunch of losing strategies.
Except it doesn't take very many losing strategies to negate your winners.
What really works against newcomers is that so many of the so-called experts recommend what -- to me -- are losing strategies.
Right off the bat, most new businesses spend too much on overhead -- to many new shiny fixtures and gadgets, too many employees.
Right off the bat, most new businesses spend too much on advertising and promotion, and not enough on inventory. It's appearance versus substance -- and in the long run, substance will wins every time.
In a way, this blog has related a whole series of discoveries about what works and what doesn't. It's possible these discoveries are unique to my store but I don't really think so.
Often these trial and errors are by accident. Something happens by coincidence that unexpectedly works, and you try it again.
As you know, I've been ordering "sale" product heavily for a number of years now. By "sale" product, I mean stuff that is just a little too early or a little too late, or just a little less popular character toys in a popular series --- stuff that is just a little off of the beaten track. Much of it is what I call "mid-list" product; stuff you order when it first comes out and then fades.
If I can save half as much by carrying them, I can take twice as long or sell half as much as usual.
In the meantime, though, I always make sure I carry the "evergreens"; the constantly in demand product. (Which I know because of trial and error...)
Twice this year, I had a circumstance where I happened to ordered a large amount of sale product before I ordered the evergreens.
Then had a precipitous drop in sales for a few weeks which made it hard to do the evergreen order.
I didn't do this on purpose. It so happened that the sale product was offered in such a way that I had to order it then. The evergreen I can order at any time.
What was unexpected is, after the initial drop (which had nothing to do with inventory) sales pretty much stabilized -- even without the evergreens for a few weeks. Then I made enough money to go ahead and get the evergreens.
The eye-opener here was that I'm pretty sure the opposite wouldn't have happened. If I had just ordered the evergreen and waited for the sale product, I think it's more than possible sales would've declined, or that I wouldn't have had the money to make the sale orders.
I think it's because of the volume. I can get two, three, or even four times as much product in the door with the sale product as I can with the evergreen product. And meanwhile, I still have plenty of evergreen product in stock.
This is counter-intuitive, and I only stumbled across it, and since I discovered it, I've been very careful to order on every sale that comes along. And I've been able to order the evergreens as well.
Trial and error.
3 hours ago