By Joe Francis
I n 2000 I decided to expand my cart business and do multiple carts. We did 2 carts in California, one in Reno, NV and 3 in Connecticut. This was the year that I learned a lot about the people you pick to partner with and the importance of who you put in charge at any of your carts. This is not a problem you run into until you decide It is better you want to do more than one cart.
This was the second year we sold Bungee Balls. The thing about this product is that you cannot go back to the same mall that you sold in the first year as the area gets saturated and the sales crash after selling one season.
I happened to pick a mall that was in between two locations where the bungee ball had been sold before. The end result of that was the sales were very soft to begin with but I stuck things out in that mall and still profited $10,000 almost two months although I would have liked to make a lot more.
I partnered with my wife-to-be on the mall in Reno, NV. My wife had always done with anything that she sold plus she is driven to accomplish things and can handle other people as well. She did extremely well at her cart at this mall and was the highest grossing cart and profit out of all the ones I was involved with.
An older friend of mine ran the other cart we did in California and while we did very well working together the first year on our first cart he was not strong enough organizationally to handle running the cart on his own and even though he started out much stronger than me in the mall that I was running I passed him in the end.
Connecticut is where I really did not do well. I partnered with a friend of mine who I had known for some time. She did well in the mall that she ran directly but we barely broke even in one of the other malls and lost some money in the third mall. Plus, this was clear across the country and wasn’t able to go there to handle why things were not going as well as they should. The two malls that did not do so well also were questionable to start with as to whether they were good picks. One had a fairly low amount of body the traffic and the second did not have a great amount of traffic in the location we were given plus this mall did not have the type of customers we wanted for our product. Last, we had continuous trouble with one of the managers of the carts we owned and so no matter what we did we could not get the sales to increase as they should.
So a lot of new lessons were learned this second year and they were as follows:
· It is better to sell a product that doesn’t saturate after one holiday season. You spend a lot of time finding a mall to sell in and building relationships with people in the mall and to have to turn around and do this all over each year wastes a lot of time.
· Make sure when you take a new mall that it has the type of customers that buy your product, i.e. this can be a lot of kids, or a certain economic class. The point is to make sure you know who buys your product and that your mall has these types of people in them.
· If you are going to expand and pick multiple malls ensure that you can get to these malls to visit them during the holiday season as well as being able to handle while they are not doing well.
· Only partner with people who have shown that they are successful at the things they take on. If you don’t already know this about a person ask questions that will determine this.
· You are better off not taking an additional mall if you do not have a competent manager to run it. If you have a bad manager running a mall you will wish you never took it plus it will take your attention away from the malls that are doing well.
· Last, a bad manager in a good mall will do badly. A good manager in a bad mall will often do well. The characteristics of a good manger include the ability to sell to people; the ability to handle others and get them to work; someone who is responsible, shows up on time, etc.