November 2008 Archives

How We Compete on Black Friday

We’re smaller than most of our competitors.  Particularly in automotive detailing, Detailed Image is chasing large sites like Autogeek and Proper.  Black Friday is a great microcosm of how we manage to compete with them and rapidly steal market share, despite having a team of only four people and an array of other projects we’re working on. Below is the newsletter that went out this week to our customers.   We think we have the best sales of anyone in the industry.   This is where… Continue reading

11/28/08

What I’m Thankful For

Thanksgiving is an interesting time for an online retailer.  While most people are winding down to relax for the long weekend, we’re gearing up and preparing for what should be our busiest weekend of the year.  But don’t mistake the busyness and the stresses associated with it for not being thankful.  As a team, we are the most thankful group of young business owners that you’ll find.  Answering emails on Thanksgiving and packing orders on Black Friday are small prices to pay for being able… Continue reading

11/27/08

Anatomy of an Efficient Process – How We Pack Orders

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to come back and delve a little deeper into our new packing area. The process outlined below is a combination of George’s prior e-commerce experience, my industrial engineering experience, Greg’s overall business experience, and the work that Mike has done in studying how our competition and other e-commerce sites ship orders (specifically this great newegg video), along with a whole lot of trial and error.  It allows us to process orders faster, with less mistakes,… Continue reading

11/25/08

Where I Work – Updated Warehouse Pics

A whole lot has changed since that frigid Monday in February when we worked our first day from our warehouse. We survived not paying ourselves, we’ve grown our sites by leaps and bounds, we’ve made significant improvements to all of our business processes from accounting to shipping, and we’ve seen revenue grow to more than double what it was in 2007. But one of the best ways to see progress is to walk through our warehouse.  Everyday I walk out on the floor I’m amazed… Continue reading

11/22/08

Set up SMS Monitoring for Your Sites for Free in Less than Five Minutes

Earlier this week I set out to sign us up for an independent website monitoring service.  In case you don’t know, these services periodically check your websites to ensure that the site is up and running.  If it isn’t, they contact you.  It’s really pretty simple, but it’s also very useful, especially for someone like me. Now that we run our own server and I can control everything, I can usually fix any issue.  If I can’t, I can call Liquid Web and their awesome… Continue reading

11/20/08

The Final Step (in Automating our Order Processing, that is)

One of the features of our shopping cart that I’ve touted over and over again is that we’ve automated our back-end shipping process.  With a few clicks we can print invoices and shipping labels while the accounting and inventory are being done automatically.  Whether it’s 5 or 50 orders, we can process them (packing excluded of course) in essentially the same amount of time. In reality though, there was one manual step left in the process:  picking a box size for every order.  FedEx requires… Continue reading

11/19/08

How to Invest $15

Seriously. I see these little cards every month and think to myself  “what a steal”. One of the best uses for your money is investing in your own personal development.  Reading offers the most bang for your buck – you can literally learn anything you want by picking up a book.  Back in January I wrote a post entitled What I Read.  The list has changed a bit since then, but the overall goal hasn’t changed – read a whole lot each and every day… Continue reading

11/18/08

More on College as a Results-Only-Work-Environment (ROWE)

I’ve referenced Tim Ferris’ awesome blog post about Best Buy’s Results-Only-Work-Environment before, but it bears quoting again: ROWE stands for Results-Only Work Environment. In a ROWE, each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Currently, there are two authentic ROWEs—Fortune 100 retailer Best Buy Co, Inc. and J. A. Counter & Associates, a small brokerage firm in New Richmond, WI. At both organizations, the old rules that govern a traditional work environment—core hours, “face… Continue reading

11/15/08

It’s a Lifestyle Thing

George and I often remark to each other that we wouldn’t trade our lifestyle for any amount of money.  It happens pretty often because we’re often reminded of how lucky we are to do what we do everyday. I think that’s often lost in the decision of whether or not to become an entrepreneur, particularly for young entrepreneurs.  Yes – you should want to change the world.  Yes – you should want to make a ton of money.  But starting a business should also be… Continue reading

11/12/08

A Truly Amazing Experience

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only had Tastefully Driven since April.  It feels like it’s been around forever.  The first year has been a mixed bag, but overall we’ve learned a lot and created a solid stream of revenue so it’s hard to look at it as anything but a positive experience.   My #1 favorite feature of the site is the Commerce with Conscience program where we donate 5% of our pre-tax profit to local charities in the Albany area.   The idea being… Continue reading

11/7/08