Thursday, May 21, 2015

Can You Take It? (Tradecraft)

Yesterday was the most expensive purchasing day since I opened my store. Modern Masters II shipped, with $15,000 of invoices. Many stores are scrambling to pay for this order. Some have been pre-selling it like mad, at prices lower than necessary, because they don't have the money. Many stores don't buy on credit, so this $15,000 or larger hit (some stores claim orders easily twice as big), needs to be paid up front.

In the long run, this is losing them money. This is a product that has a current street value 30% higher than the MSRP. That's based on retailers opening boxes they received early and valuing cards. Although speculators will try to lowball estimates so they can buy low from fools, retailers now know better.

Yet, many retailers still sell below MSRP.  I will admit, we sold a small amount of ours early at a small discount while we gauged demand, but now? Now this is a limited product with a known high value with a pretty final supply number. Our main concern now is selling it too quickly. If I show up Monday morning and it's all gone, I've made a different mistake.

So what do you do if you don't have enough credit? Ask for it.

Call your distributors and ask for terms. Get a credit application and take what they'll give you. I've got 30 day terms with every supplier who offers them. Some started at 7 day terms, the financial equivalent of training wheels. Some started with ridiculously low credit limits (which we mutually ignored). Over time you can boost the term period or the limit.

Once you get them, pay invoices religiously. Getting terms gives you time to sell things appropriately. You can make sales projections, instead of hoarding cash and starving your store for something that hasn't been released yet. Then, if your projections are wrong, you can liquidate unsold product at the tail of the market, rather than gumming up the works and devaluing it in the beginning. This is to everyones benefit as you act like a business person and less like a scavenger.

Rather than scrambling to pre sell enough product at a discount to come up with a COD order, you now order enough to sell through your finance period. Can I sell $15,000 worth of Modern Masters II in the next 30 days? Can I ever! The best thing is I only need to sell a little over half to pay the invoice. The rest can be sold over time, the store supported by other products that were bought on time.

If you've got a credit card, ask for a credit limit increase. They can only say no. If they say yes, your credit score is likely to go up as your utilization rate drops. You're penalized on the percentage of credit you're using, so using a lower overall percentage of that type of credit only helps you.

"Businessman, see? Roots in the community. 
You're just a scavenger."
If you don't believe credit cards are good things and you can't possibly be responsible enough, I invite you to reconsider. You are a business person now. You are a professional. Roots in the community.  If you're in year three or year five of your retail business, you have grown as a person. You have proven yourself responsible. Business is managed risk and maybe it's time you step up and manage it.

You will make more money this way. If you get 100 boxes of Modern Masters II and you have to sell half to raise cash for your COD order at an 8% discount (the current Ebay discount), you've lost nearly $1,000 by not selling in store at MSRP.  You've lost a whopping $4,500 based on projected street values.

You want to be treated like a professional and not a scavenger. Here's where you live up to your side of the bargain. Step up, get your finances straightened out, make the money. Diamonds the size of testicles.

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