Nov 17, 2010

Is It Time to Grow?

"If only I could turn this hobby into a business, this would be my dream job."

Retro Business Sign by VintageGoodness

I've heard this several times recently. What sort of vintage seller are you? Are you new to it? Been at it for years? Just think of it as a hobby? Consider it necessary to pay the bills? Whichever level you're at, are you content with your sales?
Toy Cash Register by Calloocallay
Selling largely is a balance of consistency, numbers and content. Listing often keeps your shop fresh, puts you at the top of the vintage category, and indexes your item on Google. Making sure you have a variety of items, a wide range of prices and a healthy number of items listed keeps your shop interesting and worth returning to.

Perhaps it's time to expand your business. Ask yourself what kind of sales you'd like to do. What kind of dollar volume you'd like to make annually. It's easy to get intimidated by big numbers and to aim lower because it's more comfortable. Don't. I was told years ago that it's just as easy to think big as it is to think small.

WWII Poster by BookFiend

I find doing numbers in reverse to be very enlightening. For example, say I want to sell $200,000k of product in a year. Yipes!! That's a ton of money! But my handy calculator helps me wrap my brain around it. Take 200,000. divided by 365. (the number of days in a year) That roughly equals $548 dollars a day. Also a lot of money to expect daily.

But here's the interesting part-knowing your ASP. Your ASP, or Average Selling Price is critical. If your ASP is $35 (meaning 1/2 of your items are priced lower and 1/2 are priced higher) then you only need to sell 16 items a day at that price.

Bottle Opener by McYarnPants

That seems doable. Perhaps not by yourself, but with a helper you could manage it. Someone to handle shipping, or perhaps someone to post alongside you. Maybe a picker to find products and bring them to your door. Maybe a family member to help take photographs for you. Figure out what would be the most effective form of help for your business. The same formula doesn't apply to all of us. We all have very different needs.

I'm in the middle of this process myself and it's very enlightening. By breaking it down in terms of what has to to be accomplished daily and finding the resources to help, I know I'll be able to grow my business.

One of the keys of any well run business is an owner that focuses on their core strengths and surrounds themselves with others that they can delegate to. This might start by asking favors of family or friends and morph into hiring employees. My 7 year old loves filling boxes with peanuts for shipping!


FairyFiligree said...

This is a great post! I never thought of it in quite that way but the math workout seems something we can all do easily. You used a word in your text - consistent - that is the clue of things I believe. When you're single-handed & going it alone, it can become disheartening when sales don't materialise & coming up with juicy new ideas all of the time can be tiring. Thanks for sharing!

ImSoVintage said...

This is exactly how I plan my business. I have set a goal and have broken it down in just that way. I'm not there yet, but I work everyday towards my goal.

nora - treasurehuntvintage said...

Thanks for another great, informative post. CONSISTENCY and VOLUME are the keys, imho. I have set "quotas" for treasurehuntvintage since its inception in 2006. These have been either $$$ selling price listed daily, or 3 of items. (my wares are spread across several sites and local avenues) While I am not at $200,000 gross annually, this IS my day job, and I love it!!!