Our financial year end for our 8th year came to an end March 31, 2015. We’re still finishing up the books, but as always this time of year makes me wonder about the business and the choices we’ve made. Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of things – some that didn’t work, some that did and have left even more roads unwalked. Reflecting on the past is often just a waste of time, as the ‘what if’ game is useless but sometimes it can be useful to consider for what you intend to do in the future.
For us, the biggest decision point recently was deciding not to become a full B&M store, instead moving to a new warehouse to facilitate growing a second business (Fortress Geek). I’m still uncertain if that was a good idea, though the 2nd business has finally gotten some decent traction and sales. It’s been a bit of a learning curve there, and we’ve still got a lot more to learn and grow but we’re developing the business and our customers there.
For Starlit though, not being a B&M store has cut us off huge areas of the ‘gaming’ industry. We can supply RPGers without a problem, but CCGs and Miniatures are large sources of revenue, but neither of those are properly supported by an online store. We can supply the product, but both niches require tablespace and opponents to play with. Neither of which unfortunately an online store can provide as much.
Add the fact that Magic is the juggernaut in the gaming trade and we’re basically trying to build a business with 2 out of 3 legs cut off. Sorry RPGs – you just no longer provide enough revenue that you are considered an essential part of a gaming business. Don’t get us wrong, it’s certainly possible but more difficult and it means the ‘pie’ is smaller than it could be.
Another road we’ve not taken is that of investors. So far, we’ve been financed entirely from profits and my personal funds. Investors would allow us to grow faster, take more risks, push marketing harder – but they also come with their own burden of regulations and requirements. It’s something we’ve considered occasionally, but giving up ownership of the company is something I have refused to do. So far, anyway.
We’ve got a couple of years on our current lease (before our extension option kicks in) and it’s interesting to consider what we need / might / should do in the future. I know for certain that we’ll be fine till then in this space, potentially longer – but perhaps we do want to move and make another big change in 2017. It’s nice to plan and think about, and sometimes the roads not taken previously is the way to go. Or perhaps those roads weren’t taken for a reason.