One of my favorite thinkers is Roy Williams, “The Wizard of Ads”. Every Monday, Williams formulates a newsletter called the Monday Morning Memo, designed to enlighten and encourage its readers. In a recent memo (read the full piece here) the following comment was made:
There’s a big difference between the way things ought to be and the way things really are. If you moan about how things ought to be, you’re a whiner. And the only
people who like whiners are other whiners. But if you work to make things better, you’re an activist. If you fling yourself headlong into making things better, you’re a revolutionary.
Up to this point, my blog posts have set out a long line of hurdles that sellers are expected to jump over if they would like to be successful in the online marketplace. Today, we would like to begin laying out a plan so that we (and others like us) can conquer those hurdles.
In an earlier Monday Morning Memo (found here) Williams shared some quotes from a book review by Eric Baker of Time. The book being discussed was The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses by Amar Bhide. In his analysis, Baker shared a startling statistic drawn from the book’s pages: “93 percent of all successful companies had to abandon their original business plan -- because the original plan proved not to be viable.” Baker went on to say, “In other words, successful companies don’t succeed because they have the right strategy at the beginning; but rather, because they have money left over after the original strategy fails, so that they can pivot and try another approach.” In another review, Mary Whaley summarizes the book by saying that successful businesses “survive and prosper because of an ongoing ability to adapt to opportunities and problems, are subjected to many detours, and stumble along the way.” Williams went on to say, “Successful companies have an ability to improvise. Unsuccessful companies blindly ‘stick to the plan’. The intended plan is deliberate. The improvised plan is emergent.”
With all of that being said, I do not believe that we have failed in what we originally set out to accomplish as a company. Within our first year of business, we became a self-supporting organization with growth financed purely by sales. We have assembled a strong and committed team of employees. We have more than doubled our inventory (more than once). Our price-per-transaction has doubled within that past year and a half. In the midst of a hostile environment, we have managed to maintain our status as a Top Rated Seller. We have begun to build a loyal following. Much has been accomplished, but our growth potential is limited if we stick to our current path. In light of recent developments (all of which have been outlined within our blog, starting here) it may very well be a path to destruction.
So where do we go from here? Here at RoofTop Antiques, we designed a plan of attack. Today, we reveal stage one:
Upgrade our presence on eBay - Even in the midst of difficult times, eBay is still a viable marketplace. It is currently our primary source of revenue, so we must make the most of it. Many of the things we have already done within eBay in the past have been successful. As Top Rated Sellers, we are amidst the best of the best. We have established a glittering reputation with our buyers and, to some level, have gained the respect and support of eBay when it comes to individual transactions. Above and beyond this, there are many things that we can do to (without directly spending any money) to upgrade our presence on eBay.
For the time being, our presence on eBay is important. It is where we established our brand. It pays the day-to-day bills and keeps the machine moving. Because of this, we must maximize the tools available to us to generate as much activity as possible within our store on the eBay Marketplace. We need to attract more eBay users and make them our store visitors. We need to prompt more of our store visitors to be buyers.
See the rest of our eBay series here:
Part I - Why are My eBay Sales Down?
Part II - eBay Takes a Hit
Part III - Google Takes Aim
Part IV - eBay Alternatives?
Part V - Fixing the Defects in eBay's Defect System
Part VI - Breaking Up is Hard to Do: eBay's Split from PayPal
Part VII - Is eBay's Cassini Really the "Best Match"?
Part VIII - Is eBay's Cassini Stuck in Orbit?
The Plan, Part I - Positioning for More than Survival
The Plan, Part II - Expanding Our Reach Beyond eBay
Frankly, I am not fond of monkeys. They affect me the way spiders and snakes affect other people. The flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz” and the rogue monkeys in Robin Williams’s “Jumanji” were menacing to me, and I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to see them.