As promised last week, I committed to sharing the results of my recent business review with you following the first full calendar year of trading.
As a bit of background and for context around these results, I'll explain a bit about how I arrived where I am today.
Those of you who know me personally, or have come to get a feel for who I am by following my work, will know this is a business I run in my spare time and is not my day job as such.
I got into photography when I retired from playing rugby and I needed something to fill my time. I feel I have a creative side but following some sensationally poor attempts at drawing and painting, I picked up a camera and thankfully, that worked! When I started to receive a lot of positive feedback and offers of work, I decided to set the business up with two main objectives really. These were to fund a gradual upgrade of my kit as Photography can be very expensive but also, and more importantly to me, a way of generating revenue to support local good causes - many of which I have personally been involved in. I therefore committed that for a minimum of the first 3 years of trading, 50% of all profits would distributed between those to objectives.
Anyway, now to the performance....
This table outlines my key performance indicators (KPI's) that I set myself last year. As you can see, there has certainly been a lot of growth in the business, particularly around the web traffic and turnover. The only area of downturn has been a recorded loss of £3,292 which is significantly greater than 2017. That has however been a calculated decision and I will explain why.
I won’t go into the profit and loss figures in detail however for context, it is worth calling out at this time that £965 is currently tied up in stock based on retail prices after a heavy investment in the ‘craft fair’ side of the business and that needs to be turned into capital soon. Also, with £2,315 invested in advertising, this accounts for the loss in the calendar year so had these calculated investments not been made with future growth in mind, the business would have been in a break even position.
With all that being said I feel these are a healthy set of figures for the first full calendar year of trading however some aspects of the business need to change to allow this to become a profit making business. I will outline a high level strategy set of targets for 2019 which I believe to be key to convert the current loss making model into profit.
In 2019, I intend to:
Grow the ‘Paying Customer’ base
Increase Social Media following by 20% across all channels
Target advertising of services more specifically
Improve communications with you, the customer
Continue to support local good causes
Add fresh content to all sites on a weekly basis
Liquidate all stock to realise that capital for reinvestment
And most importantly, continue to provide an excellent and personal customer experience
Like any small business, word of mouth is crucial to engage people in what we do. I chose this year to invest the significant sum in advertising as I deemed this to be key to the growth of Cribbes Photography in 2018 and beyond.
In Q2, I noticed a change and I was getting business from people I have never met or don’t know well. Businesses in the area were in contact and also individual customers which for me, demonstrates that the decision was a sensible one and has given a solid platform to build on.
In line with one of my main business principles of giving something back to my local community, I have sponsored/donated funds to the local high school, youth football club and my rugby club on two occasions. This for me doesn’t feel like advertising as such but it certainly gets the brand name out there so it is mutually beneficial as it ticks all the boxes for me. This expenditure has totalled £1,200 and where possible, I would like to continue this so I will build it into my fixed costs going forward.
In short, the above shows that the losses sustained by the business were a prudent expenditure to enable future growth, the key is to now realise that growth.
I hope you found this a useful insight into the business and if you are still reading at this point, you've down well. Now to tackle 2019 with full gusto so onwards and upwards - and thanks for the continued support as always!