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The Troubles of Success

Okay, so by the end of the year I'll learn whether I'm wasting my time or whether I've got something with legs. If sales are less than stellar, it'll be a little business that I run myself and make some pocket change. That's a problem that I can manage, no big deal. Eventually I'll probably find a way to sell the cards and I can sell the floor spinners, if the thing just tanks.

But let's go the other direction... what if it succeeds in a big way? What if each retail location sells 75 to 100 cards a month? Or more? I'll start out with 10 retail locations. That means that I'm moving close to 1,000 cards a month, which is my goal by the end of the year. If that happens, then my profits will go right back into buying more displays and getting more retail locations. Eventually, I'll max out of my local area. Where do I go then? Out, obviously, to Iowa more broadly. But the pitch to retailers outside of the area is now a story with numbers and real world statistics.

My plan is to paint new cards at a pace of about 5 to 10 per month. Every two months, I hope to rotate the stock in retail locations - new cards in, old cards out. Locally, I can do that myself, but I can't do it in Minneapolis or Kansas City. And I don't think the business owner will care to manage it for me. This needs to be very hands-off for the retailers.That suggests that I have to find area reps. Why is this important? Because paying them has to factor into my pricing model.

So this morning my price for each card went from $2.49 to $2.79 - still reasonable. I'd need to find some detail-oriented and honest salesy soul who knows that this is a once-a-month gig where they drive from store to store in a matter of a few days or a week and pull out the old cards, put in the new cards, and then ship the old cards back to me. I'd need to pay for the help wanted ad, interview candidates remotely, train them remotely, and then trust that they'll represent me well.

I think this kind of position is perfect for stay-at-home moms. It's a bit of socializing with the store owners, the kid(s) could come along, and it's a bit of income. Let's that they have 40 locations for which they are responsible. My plan is to pay them on commission at 50 per card sold. If each outlet turns 100 cards a month, and they are responsible for 40 outlets, then they make $2,000 a month, or $24,000 a year. That's the potential; they'd have to grow and maintain the market in that area. It's a good income for home-based, part-time gig.

Will that happen? Beats me. But it could, and it's something I have to consider. It also occurred to me that my display of choice has 20 pockets - I need not 8 cards to start, but 20. "Prolific" needs to be my middle name.

I'll be working on the web site today and tomorrow, and part of the web site will need to have an interface for the sales reps. Work to do!


by Brett Rogers, 1/1/2006 10:12:31 AM
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