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2010 in review

Well, well, well… It’s been almost a year since my last post. Despite the long hiatus, I thought it would be fun to come back and post a State of the Union for Creative Conners. In my last post at the beginning of 2010 I ??? mentioned that we were going to renew our marketing efforts. While we didn’t manage to squeeze out a marketing mailing every month, we did manage to get quite a few out the door as well as some advertising placements in print magazines. What was the result?

 

The short answer is that our marketing efforts brought no tangible benefit. Sales dropped roughly 17% this year after a 30% drop in 2009. Yikes! Training Of course, the economy 1050 hasn’t been kind to anyone so I am thankful that I have been able to squeeze out a living doing what I love — making scenery move. Scenic automation is the most fun and interesting industry that I know of. We get to play with high-tech toys, program computers, build machines, and support inspiring art all at the same time. The only thing missing is the truck full of money ;-)

Quo Vadis?

While Creative Conners has remained profitable, we are clearly missing our financial goals. And when I say “financial goals”, I’m not talking about yachts and Cadillacs. We need to make more money to fund more research and development efforts so that we can continue to develop new products and improve our existing products, get a little savings cushion, and afford a decent shop space (and eventually I need to replace the clutch in my 1999 Tacoma). Software takes a lot of time to develop. New machinery cost a lot to prototype. In a perfect wholesale mlb jerseys world, we’d have a few more folks on staff to handle production work so that I could focus on new products while keeping an eye on the bottom line. So how can we meet these goals? Session Adjust pricing.

I’ve spent the past week pouring over spreadsheets and sales figures for the last four years and looking at forecasts for 2011. My first instinct was

We gotta cut costs to increase profit.

But… that’s not really the issue. Sure, there are some things we can do to streamline a few costs. We are looking into financing a decent inventory at the start of the year to take better advantage of volume discounts on the more expensive components. However, that’s a net gain of New maybe 2%-3%, not enough to fund hiring some new folks. Fundamentally, if we neither have enough time to do anything but build is orders, nor do we have enough money to hire more people to get more man-hours in the work week, our pricing is too low. I have been adamant from the beginning that we need to keep our prices Defect low to be able to sell systems to small theatres and schools, but perhaps I am missing wholesale mlb jerseys the mark.

Our current pricing is low, lower than everyone else by a wide margin. How wide? Well… that’s Wznawiamy hard SpikeMark to confirm, since nobody else publishes their prices, but feedback from our customers is that we are wayyyy lower than the other guys. However, even though our pricing is lower than the competition, our gear is still too expensive for most theatres to afford purchasing a system from a show budget. To get started with a winch, controller, and software, it’s going to run about $15k currently. You can’t buy that much automation gear and buy luan and 1×4 to build your show. That means that automation purchases are usually capital improvements and have a much more involved purchasing process. This is the same for most big improvements to other theatrical systems like lighting, sound, and wholesale jerseys rigging. So, once you get out of the show-budget mindset, is Employers it Automation unreasonable to think that a basic automation package could cost $20k instead of $15k? cheap nba jerseys Probably not. If you purchase a system it will serve the theatre for many years to come. It is an investment, and the price is amortized of a number of seasons.

What’s that you say?

Great, so you’re going to charge more. Perfect. We have budget trouble too, ya know!

Yep, I hear you. We are Automation still in this business to make automation accessible to theatres big and small. To continue our motto of “Motion Control for Everyone”, we are going to be lowering our rental prices. Even though sales have been declining for the past couple cheap jerseys of years rentals have been increasing. Many folks have no budget for capital improvements right now, and most have also seen their cheap nfl jerseys show budgets frozen or cut. On our end, we have not done a great job of getting our rental gear out the door. Too many weeks wholesale mlb jerseys I see piles of equipment hanging around here not making any money and not moving scenery. We need to get our rental inventory out every week to help us make money and help you meet your budgets. To help that initiative, we are going to cut our rental rates pretty substantially which should make it much easier for you to get the gear the needed to put on shows.

I think that wraps it up. Keep on eye on our website, in January we’ll be rolling out the pricing. Thanks to everyone for your continued business, cheap mlb jerseys I look forward to the next 6 years of making fun stuff!

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