For almost the last 3 years I’ve been focused on cutting fixed expenses with the biggest being software subscriptions, and all the costs associated with running a warehouse (which includes employees for receiving, picking, packing, and shipping orders).
As these costs have come down the pressure to keep sales at a high enough level to support the costs has gone away. What that has enabled is a conscious decision to only advertise with a return on ad spend that makes us profitable from day 1 of the sale. Many ecommerce companies are forced to advertise at breakeven or a loss on the first purchase in the hopes to make their profit on future purchases from the customers “acquired” at a loss.
It’s led to a flywheel effect in terms of us being able to continue to reduce costs. Some of this cost cutting comes from personnel reduction, and that isn’t fun for anyone involved. But the end result of our outsourcing and cost reductions is that we’ll be left with only employees who truly create value. All the employees who kept the wheels running will be on someone else’s payroll or the task will be made unnecessary by software.
Having a smaller business with less activity has created some benefits I didn’t originally think about, some of which are:
Less incoming sales pitches and charitable requests - With a lower profile we have less people asking us to buy things or give them money or things.
Keeping a clear head about expenses - With smaller budgets I’m way less inclined to take a flyer on some random marketing expense.
More time to live - I’m currently in the best shape I’ve been in since college, and in some aspects such as endurance potentially the best shape of my life. I have more time to spend with my wife and kids.
More time to read books - For me reading requires a calm mind, and I’m able to reach that mindset now. In the past it was almost impossible for me to read a book.
This article is a reminder to myself that things are going pretty well right now. It can feel like things aren’t going well when your business isn’t on a breakneck growth pace, but I like the benefits I’ve listed above and wouldn’t trade them to have a fast growing business.