Friday, April 27, 2012

Out of the Frying Pan

April gradually overcame a terrible start. In fact, this week was downright good despite a software version upgrade that broke First Class shipping for a couple of days. Sure, cash flow is still a struggle…but so is life. Two or three more weeks on the high side of normal -- that's just five or six sales a day -- would make everything better.

The numbers:


Total income: -14.3%
Total COGS: -21.2%
Payroll: -36%
Marketing: -9.8%
Net Income (Profit): +315.3%

Year to Date:

Total income: -2.6%
Total COGS: +3.2%
Payroll: +9.5%
Marketing: +22%
Net Income (Profit): -277.3%

Interpreting the tea leaves: COGs and marketing costs should both fall farther than (or better yet, rise more slowly than) income, while payroll should exactly track income. Net income takes care of itself when the other numbers behave themselves. The YTD numbers are poor, but at least I made up some ground on the bottom line by cutting costs more than sales fell.

This week’s sales emboldened me to reorder Lexco cigarette cases after a shopper asked for the one size that I’ve been out of for ages. I’d rather have spent my scarce money elsewhere because these things sell very slowly, but I do like the bird in the hand. Lexco cases are clever, unusual, and just politically incorrect enough to be retro-cool. The 2-dozen piece minimum order was daunting in the face of all the other claims on my cash trickle, but two new models designed specifically for blunts tipped me over the edge. Even if tobacco smokers are still pariahs, marijuana smoking is on the upswing – and that’s the real market for these cases.

Besides the normal costs of doing business, I owe my developer money for the Sunshop upgrade. My UPS box (which is to say, Curio City’s address) is up for its annual renewal. I still “need” a new copy of Quickbooks. I have to scare up $100 to renew my trademark, ideally by the end of May. Advertising costs remain stubbornly high. And I’m making no progress on my new-product wishlist. But my credit card bills are paid through the next three weeks and I have $577 in the bank.

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