Expense Pie Chart for 2012

Before we start, I should post a few explanations on the chart.  Firstly and most importantly, this is one business, structured in our own particular way so take it with a grain of salt.  I’ve also compiled the various expenses into categories that make sense to me, but I’m sure can be confusing.  A few of the more / less obvious ones:

– Bank & Credit Card Fees including credit card processing fees, bank & credit card interest

– Exchange rate costs are basically losses due to the fluctuations in the exchange rate.  It’s pretty much a COGs expense (sort of, it’s calculated and fluctuates based on the exchange rate at the point that we sell the item).

– Import & Logistics Costs are mostly costs resulting from bringing the games over the border.  Again part of the Cost-of-Goods-sold realistically speaking

– Accounting, Legal & Insurance costs are so high due to the fact that we hire a bookkeeper; so their fees are included here.  In another company, that might be slotted under Payroll.

 

Financial Expenses Pie Chart 2012
Expenses Pie Chart 2012

As a comparison (of sorts); you should check out Black Diamond Games Blog Post on Game-o-nomics for a B&M store.  Note, our pie chart is based off expenses while theirs is based off revenue; so expect some differences.  Overall though, you can see our payroll expenses and COGs are much higher while our Rent costs are significantly lower.   Of course, our IT expenses are much higher and to make up for the shortfall in walk-in traffic, our Marketing Expenses have to be higher too.

Video Reviews – A Business Perspective

It’s been over 5 months since we launched our video games reviews; and I thought for the business readers here it might be interesting to see a business perspective on them.

Cost

The first part is cost.  There are 2 components to this – the financial cost and the time cost.  Financially, videos range from $200 – $400 a video; and that’s only because Rob at Phasefirefilms is a gamer and thus is giving us a great deal.   The other side of this equation is the time cost – and that’s a major cost.  We write all our own review scripts – figure 2 – 4 hours per script written and then another hour editing by a 2nd person.  On top of that, we’re looking at 1 to 1.5 hours for filming.

There’s also the cost of  managing the editing (generally quite small since Rob’s a great editor), reshoots (if necessary) and then putting the video up.   That can run an additional half-hour to hour a week, sometimes a lot faster.

Overall, in a year we’re talking a budget of nearly $10 – 15,000 spent on these videos, an enormous sum for us.

Marketing

What are we hoping to get from the videos? Sales obviously – putting the videos up, we’re hoping to convince customers if a game is for them (or not).  Eventually, we’ll have enough videos covering all our major games that customers can make better informed decisions.

There’s also the promotional aspects of the reviews.  There’s a problem though, because Youtube and BGG  are global websites and thus the videos hit a global audience.  Unfortunately, our customer base are majority Canadians – so there’s a lot of ‘missed’ targeting.    And that’s not a great thing when you’re talking about something that expensive.

We might be able to  get a small portion of that cost back by adding Advertising to the videos; but that just brings a whole slew of problems with it.  And let’s be truthful; we aren’t likely to make that much money here – at a few Cents a click, we’d have to get a lot of clicks to make our money back.

So Outsource

Why do it in-house? Control.  Control over both the content of the video, where it goes and what it’s used for and control over our brand.  Having the videos created by another party just didn’t seem to work as well, in our perspective.  I’d rather pay a bit more and control the content rather than provide it to a 3rd party as we have done so before, with scattered returns.

Bottom-Line

At the end of the day, we’re committed to continuing the reviews for this year.  After that, we’re going to have to take a very close look at the cost and benefits from it.  While it’s a great tool, it’s also an expensive tool and if we can’t get enough utility from it we might just have to stop.

What can you do help? Well, help us promote the videos and the subscriptions.  The more people who subscribe to our Channel, who buy from the videos, the more likely we’ll keep them going.  One thing we have considered, and might need to undertake later this year is to launch a Kickstarter / Indiegogo project to raise funds for the reviews.