Welcome to Week 53.
53? Yup, some years there are 53 weeks and leave it to 2020 to be a leap year and have 53 weeks.
This year has been a challenge for so many folks. Numerous Covid-19 deaths, no events, many without jobs due to small business closures, non-profits without donations, and Children out of school. Tough times for many. I’m grateful we’ve made it to the end of the year, but now the work begins.
Many retailers have closed their doors for good, while others have hung on cutting expenses where possible and reducing inventory. That’s where the challenge will begin in 2021, the need to replace inventory, but not knowing if they can be open and how they’ll pay for it.
So, begin 2021 in 2020 Week 53, by closing New Year’s Day and doing your inventory count. Some will spend the day watching Football/Basketball games, for us it was inventory day. Have solid numbers to determine what you need, as a minimum, to start the new year, and what you can live without until later in the year.
We always spent the last week of the year gathering year-end information – vehicle mileage counts, gasoline records and doing inventory. We kept our inventory on 4-column graph paper by vendor. These were put in a notebook and new orders added to the vendor page during the year. At the end of each year, we knew what we had ordered, how much of each item and what we had at the end. This gave us the information to know the “best sellers”, the “dogs”, and how to craft our new year budget. We then took that information and created our “to buy” list for the trade shows, and the data for the CPA for Cost of Goods Sold. Hopefully, you've all kept your Business Journal up to date and have the information you need. Get your 2021 free Biz Journal here.
Financing Your Purchases
This is where your “line of credit” or credit cards are vital. You should have the numbers from your inventory and year end accounting totals to know how much to budget for reorders, plus 10% for new product. If you have a credit line with your vendors, you won’t have to pay until 30 days from ship date (net 30). That 30-day grace period can be very helpful but be sure you pay on time. If you don’t have a grace period, you’ll have to pay when shipped. Some vendors require new accounts to pay when ordered, that’s where you’ll need your line of credit or credit cards to order.
Some companies offer free shipping, especially if you’re “trade show” is virtual this year. Be sure you find out before completing your order so you can cover the costs in your budget. If you have heavy merchandise it can eat up a lot of your funds.
We always requested a ship date in March and tried to schedule the largest orders to one a week. That gave us a week between payments going from the dead of winter to the start of the travel season. Or, if on the credit line/cards we could chip away at the balance weekly until we reached payoff, usually planned for June or July. This kept interest payments at a minimum.
While you’re doing an inventory count, be sure to do a good dusting. Whether it’s an in-person store or the storage shelves of your on-line store, a clean store helps the winter traveler decide to spend money with you. We visit a lot of stores, to comparison shop, in the winter and nothing turns me off to buying from them faster than a dusty/dirty store.
Week 53 is dust, count, clean, take down the Holiday Décor and start planning for March. In retailing, we’re always 90 days out. You do have your plans and décor for Valentine’s Day, don’t you?
And as I write this in Week 52, it’s important you take the time to be with you family and small group of friends. It may be on Zoom or the telephone but rejoice in your many blessings knowing this too shall pass.
Here’s to a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.
P.S. Be sure to deposit all your cash except your normal “cash on hand”, by the 31st.