Early on, I heard someone say, "If you aren't moving forward, you're dying."
I pretty much accepted that as a business principle. It seemed to be true. Every time I would try to curtail my building inventory, it would seem like sales would fall. So I just took it as a basic necessity that I constantly build my store.
If you've seen my store lately, you know I didn't skimp on the inventory. Over the last few years, I've tried to find clever ways to fit more inventory into the store. I looked for product that would pay for itself in the space allocated. If the product could be adequately displayed in a smaller space, it got precedent over product that took up more space.
Carrying new books has been a learning experience. In some ways, it's been great that I have a choice of only the best books. Because of my limited space, I didn't even try to carry the wide range of new releases. Instead, I would cherry pick the entire history of books. Classics, books with cult followings, books I loved, books people I knew loved, books that caught my attention for one reason or another.
Truth is, even just cherry picking, there are more good books available than I can possibly carry.
This has also become true of the graphic novels. It is no longer possible to carry every good graphic novel, much less every graphic novel.
Since I have reached a kind of space limit, I'm now constantly trying to improve the mix. If I have 100 books, and 50% are great, and 25% are pretty good, and 25% are decent -- my goal is to slowly turn all 100 books into the "great" category.
Same with all my other product.
But this is more of a incremental process -- a learning process about what sells, what is a great read, what's new , and so on.
It has been a process of learning which products mix well together, which products have a decent profit margin, which can be displayed, which turn over, which I like having around and talking about.
This process probably won't change. But for the first time, I don't have any BIG changes in the planning stages.
Just the incremental improvements of what I have.
Kind of leaves me with a different feeling, like somehow I'm not doing enough. It was kind of funny to read the two comments I got yesterday.
"Up 20% for 11 months straight is a dead cat bounce? You're a tough man to please." ANON.
Yeah, I can see how that looks. But I simply can't say anything aloud that would possibly make me think things are safe. Things are never safe, I can never take increases for granted, I can't hardly see them as increases at all. That way lies madness.
The other comment was from H.Bruce:
"Trouble with having nothing I have to do, is I don't do anything." (Me.)
H. Bruce: "Why is that a problem?
"I loaf and invite my soul / I lean and loaf at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass." -- Walt Whitman
It isn't a sin to do nothing once in a while. In fact it's good for you. You need to shake off that bullshit Calvinist/Puritan ethic."
Yeah, well. I blame my Mum. It can't be a nice day outside with me sitting on the couch reading without hearing in me head. "You should go outside. DO something!" I don't know if I'll ever escape that.
Like I said, I don't think you can ever say to yourself, "Good Enough." Beyond that, though, you have to pick a level of effort that makes sense, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and mentally. And that is going to be an ongoing process.
4 days ago