Getting close…

We turned a major corner this month.  While I had my head in the sand focusing on wrapping up programming for our new cart, we had our largest revenue month…by a cool 33% more than our previous best!  I didn’t even realize it until George read the revenue number out loud the other day and my jaw dropped.  What’s encouraging about this is:

  • We did it in a month that wasn’t during the holidays or the peak auto detailing season.
  • We were able to keep up with inventory management and warehouse work, which bodes well for growth without the need for a ton of employees.
  • We did it without our new shopping cart.  The programming is basically done, but with testing and text revisions and whatnot we’re looking like May 1 for the launch.  It definitely meets my goal of being a ten-fold improvement of what we currently have up there.  Everything is built to improve the user experience and make shopping easier, which should increase conversion rates and average order value, giving us another boost.
  • We did it in the first month after taking on several new forum sponsorships.  While those certainly account for some of the growth, George and Greg are very adamant that it takes 3-6 months to establish a presence and good track record to begin seeing the full impact.
  • In short, we’re far from reaching our potential, which is where I always want to be during periods of huge growth.

A few random thoughts that come to mind from all of this:

  • I don’t really know what “success” is as a business, but I think we’re getting close to how I define success…if we’re not already there.  We’re able to make a good living running a profitable and exciting business.  Can’t really ask for more than that.
  • There’s definitely less pressure when you become more cash-flow stable like we are.  Sure, there are different pressures, but there’s nothing worse than waking up every day and wondering if your company is ever going to make any money or if you just totally suck at business and were a total idiot for quitting your job.  Planning how to scale is way less stressful than worrying about how to pay the bills.
  • I like how we’ve been on the offensive with everything.  From the outside looking in, it seems like our competitors are getting defensive. With the new e-commerce platform and subsequent features on the horizon, I think we can keep them reeling.
  • I like how we’ve almost solely focused on our biggest money-maker, Detailed Image, although I’m looking forward to getting back to more of the 70/20/10 schedule at some point this year.  SportsLizard, Tastefully Driven, and Hotteeez (and Music-Alerts a little bit) all make us some nice revenue without doing any marketing at all.  It’ll be nice to work on those a bit and also launch some new sites.  I’m so much better at this development stuff than I was a few years ago, Mike is so much better at design, and we’re so much better at web business in general, that I think we have a few kickass web-apps up our sleeve.  In particular, some web-apps molded together with e-commerce sites, something I’ve really been wanting to experiment with for a while.  Plus a few other types of revenue models that will either work or totally not work. We’ll see.
  • I’ve had a pestering cold all week, which has sort of been a blessing in disguise.  No one wants to be around me, so I haven’t had anything to do but work.  I’ve been able to get a lot more done than I probably would have otherwise.  Will be nice to get out of my apartment over the weekend though 🙂

4 comments on Getting close…

  1. nethy says:

    Well done

  2. Tim says:

    Congratulations! I know it is hugely rewarding to see years of hard work and dedication bear fruit, it’s an experience only those who have experienced it can truly understand. Clearly the planning and exceptional service you guys offer plays a strong part in growth like this. However, much like you alluded to, sometimes huge growth seems to happen for no particular reason at all. Typically our busiest days were Monday, Friday and Saturday, however our single most successful(profitable) day was a Thursday. Yes this day took place during our busy season, but not during the normal conditions that equate to a busy day, snow. It was a real anomaly that to this day I can not explain – to make it even more memorable, we were hugely understaffed that particular day. Before I ramble on too much I will wrap it up here – congratulations again, you guys deserve it!

  3. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks guys. Tim – I hear you on not quite understanding growth. If you look at our analytics, each source of revenue (search engines, ppc, forums, etc) has the exact same growth curve. I think a large part of it is that we’ve just persevered long enough and the work from the past few years is starting to compound upon itself. I’ve talked to all of my partners the past few days and we’ve all been getting the same question from friends and family and there’s no simple reason.

  4. Dale says:

    Congrats Adam… hope to follow in your footsteps someday!

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