Archive for April, 2012

Sustainable Service in Auckland Printing / CD Duplication

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

We’ve got to get unbusinessing, I feel it’s an imperative right now to cut down my work.

And I’ve got to keep blogging, it’s always important to keep the posts coming and your blog refreshed for maximum search engine optimisation penetration!


Right now I am having all kinds of weird reactions to my situation, that is basically experiencing growth in a dying industry, cd and dvd duplication isn’t supposed to be a big deal but I keep getting more work to the point that I am working every day, and just far too compromised to keep all the other parts of my life running smoothely, a little mistake there that being on a good earn from your work means you can fix everything, well we need solutions now that give me my time back.

But in the meantime it’s easy to freak out without recognising the hard work that is and has been done – this is all about my hard work for at least 3 or 4 years now, in 2008 and 2009 the really hard work I was doing to establish my business, now I just need to haul through to the point where I’m the boss guy with my workers all running around.

Or something, I need creative ideas because now I am beginning to sense that creative thinking will help me to achieve my goal – not growth but sustainability – of course I don’t mean greenie stuff but keeping a continuum from where I am now relying on discs mainly, to other services I provide with in 5 – 10 years building – well not building, but maintaining the brand and goodwill to take us through to other services that continue to meet the needs of out clientele.

The longer we’re in this phase, where we’re building up capital slowly while we cultivate other business ideas, the more we’re ensuring our success, because these secondary ideas are having more time to flower, I’m having more opportunity to assess them and there’s more opportunity to let it unfold.

Cheap auckland printing, pirate party stuff, video production, it’s all happening despite the fact I don’t promote it, it’s just the seo goodness I get from updating my blog, and the rehaul of the site in future should be very good in that way also.

What I’m talking about now is the growth of entertainment services, talent management and video content services as my preferred means of income as cd duplication services decline. But that’s 5 years away before I would need to generate more supplementary income to cover my basic costs, but I would want to learn to make $500-1000 p/week from this just so I needn’t be concerned.

What this leads to is a space between 2-7 years away where I have the cd duplication going possibly still quite well, when we have these opportunities to spread out with my talent or entertainment services or my video production but we don’t have time as we’re still trying to keep the disc duplication business running smoothly.

It’s not an issue except that my artist services and talent agency need work put in if they’re going to work as money spinners. Maybe that’s a decision we can put off.

Short term, my only option is to get more staff and more streamlined, I need to make more time and be more on top of it. But deciding how to allocate fewer resources – for whatever reason – is highly strategic also, and this week will be interesting because I really don’t need to take on any jobs I don’t want to.

This is becoming regular I need to get evasive with some clients who are too naggy and have jobs that are an issue.

I need to get more militant about this!

But if I was thinking big picture, it would be different, I would want to outsource 80% of my job for a weekly salary to an employee, and then move into building another business, such as my video production services.

– call for burner
– prepare cd duplication sample
– photography dvd packaging
– cover band cd duplication.
– collect dvd master

We have to accept that having assistants is the only way out of here. But until then, the work we’re doing is important for establishing ourselves long term, I’m already sitting pretty,

2014 I could still be doing 1.5 x cd duplication while pirates, trading, video production, gardening, all brings in stuff. Is it possible to consider I might purposefully let the cd dvd thing wind down?

Auckland CD DVD Duplication, Printing and Video Production

Monday, April 9th, 2012

So I’m doing write ups – copywriting for my landing pages for two businesses I’m keeping simmering in the background in case the cd dvd duplication business falls sharply and I’m left in a tight situation.


We don’t want to be working on what we want to get done later, but what we want to get done now!

I’m not sure what our actual video content strategy is outside of the business timeline, we know we may have to do a lot of online video production before we actually can get paid for it. Well we could do something good if we thought about, or we could just do something and keep trying.

We have to make some plans for later on, that aren’t just fancies.

I’m honestly giving it 4 years before I’m noticing slowing, but it could slow very quickly, by 2018 I think I will need something else contributing significantly to my income and I believe I could make $1000 from video production and related activities and also my pirate entertainment every week, which would be enough. Effort I put in now will help me in the long run however.

We just don’t want this complicating everyday business for us now that’s why we set the very basic goals of at least having a half decent website, then we really only need worry about as time dictates, the inevitability being the less cd duplication we do, the more time we will have to consider other business options.

For the video production website we will be putting new packages together, and then adding new copy and new videos based on that.

But we want ad campaigns ready to launch as well, having them simmering away on $20 p/week, ready to go to $50 the moment we want to see real action. I’m testing new approaches to ads on my artist website.

But there’s no real deal there to sell people on.

When is something a waste of time, in terms of just being driven by vanity? I seem to have too many ideas that I can indulge because I can afford to spend money on them without knowing if it will work. You can never really know. But you can’t just say “once I’ve spent $5k, $10k on promoting my business, it’s bound to be successful.”

Given my track record you might agree, but usually I felt my way to where the money was out of desperation, now, I can’t just hope spending up will land me somewhere near somewhere where money can get made in video production.

With artists websites it’s even worse, we have no guarantee of something that could work. That’s why we need a strong brand. So how much is it worth to get a free trip overseas and 500 people buy every one of your tunes and 100 people coming to every gig? How much is that worth? To be making $10k a year and getting free trips all from music?

Surely that’s worth a lot more than $5k.

ASSISTANT DUPLICATION AND PRINTING SYSTEMS AUCKLAND

I’m trying to organise better systems and processes in my business which extricates myself from the situation. I want to be able to be on top of my business within a few hours, and ready to do some awesome video production.

My plan is to have a employee who connects with the print staff to complete the packaging and delivery of all our cd dvd and printing jobs.

So my main jobs become sales, print orders, and supplies. Once that happens I don’t become involved again until the invoice gets sent out. Then I have to send reminders, then on isolated cases, I have to get serious. Which is a drag.

Also we need clearly defined lines. When writing off $2k is as bad as it gets, it’s no picnic but it’s not really a disaster. We’ll live. Any more than that is a bummer and it’s not worth going with.

So what I’m saying is more discipline is required to keep the job under control. But there is the option of getting it completely outsourced, the reminder emails anyway, but that may be a false solution. Being more disciplined about not letting people run up big accounts will be the best solution, because it means not ever having the problem in the first place.

So I do the sales, I process the printing orders, I collect supplies and I follow up invoices. Then I’m done. I wake up in the morning go to the cafe where I can do all my sales emails, print orders, and even send invoices and reminders. I may have to pick up supplies, I may have to check in that everything is going smoothly, and check in on sales emails later in the afternoon.

Other than that I’m free to do video production, but the way things are changing are we really committed to growing any extra business activities?

With video production it’s really just my own stuff I should be getting on with. What is the first opportunity to make money? Lots of hits for viral videos so I think we need to get on with our schedule there, the more music videos we produce ourselves, the more online video production we roll out, The more we’re able to say we can do this.

I had some great ideas going on the video production blog about how to break down the costs of each part of the post production so that I can be producing these video as a service, but also get access to the talent I need to roll out 100 videos that would get 1000 hits every week.

We need to consider the long game. What are we really trying to do here? A lot more performance and content revenue over time, the issue is it’s just not rewarding. What we don’t want is in 10 years time to be barely scratching $600 out of kurb, and relying on entertainment to raise $800 every week.

But we’ve got video production, and various marketing stuff, wedding video production, don’t forget the trading, and gardening! If I was doing 2 pirate shows, pulling $200 off song sales and ad revenue from 50,000 hits on 200 videos every week, and doing $1000 worth of video production a month, and doing some trading, I’d be alright.

8 years is a long time which is the only realistic expectation for things to decline that much. It’s just good to know what the plan is when in 2020 not too many people are going to want discs. But we still have to help people deliver their content.

Video Production to Marketing to Duplication

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Right now I’m identifying 2 areas to work on for improvement.


We want to improve our video production websites front page so over the long term, possibly 2 years as we develop this business, we have a credible pitch available for jobs I am actually interested in doing. It’s a balancing act, because I don’t really want to do a lot of video production work right now, but I want to start building the business for the future, I know there’s a couple of years of hard slog to make it work, and I don’t want to be forced to do that earlier than I have to while I’m in the coasting phase of the cd dvd duplication business.

You need to start picking up and completing initial jobs to prepare yourself for an ongoing service, but I don’t want to do jobs that are grinding and depressing while I’m still working on cd duplication and dvd replication, so the big change is that the deal isn’t that great, it’s very take it or leave it, it’s not going to be a spectacular offer if I’m offering basic services for $500, and average packages for $800.

And lots of stuff I won’t offer any more.

You have to be competitive on price, especially coming into the market. But this isn’t my primary business so I have to remain aware of that and not undersell myself to the detriment of my primary income.

From what I can see I was no longer pushing the low value packages any more anyway. But there is confusion over “combo” video production and video marketing, so we really have to take some time to work out the packages.

I say we have basic production costs plus 3 stages of add ons to offer video promotion packages.

Do we really want to offer a $197 package? Sure, I’m sure we can offer a $100 for the job and have it take care of.

When I use my videos such as low key and juice of life, what would I expect for them? 2 days work and $65 to an assistant? I’d say $497 plus the promo,

All the way to a $997 music video project which would involve a bit more process. But what’s my aim? To make $10k from video production in 2013?

Kind of ambitious. But I honestly think I will get better at making videos and probably in a year or so they will look like they’re worth $1000 including a promo campaign which I will refine. I’ll just go about serious business, I’m lucky that I already have one good business going because that means I have time to invest upfront.

I’ll make a dozen of my own videos, I’ll make some exapmple videos, I’ve got time to build up some necessary examples I can show people, work closely with clients for a good result and take the high road of showing a good product, having testimonials etc and putting emphasis on the fact that we offer creativity and a better quality product relative to the very low prices.

When that kind of content is in position, then you can do ads etc., because you’ve got good presentation etc. Doesn’t mean you’ll fast forward to the $1000 budget, but still. We have to be aware that we can’t really kick up the business until we have good content, and we have to be aware of that in designing the pages, so initially it may come across as if we talk a big game, but hopefully in 6 – 12 months we’ll be able to put some videos up and say: here’s a $500 vid, and here’s a $1000 vid and this is what you get, and it’s awesome.

What we have to remember is that there’s plenty we could do to make the site awesome, having separate sections for music videos and corporate video presentations, corporate dvd duplication, but we’re under pressure to make this business a going concern right now. We don’t need to do that. We just need a basic site telling people about some packages, and us slowly adding the videos that serve as good examples of the value the video producer provides.

What if in 5 years I was doing several $5000 music video production and promotion packages? If I only wanted to do half a dozen per year it would create scarcity.

Nice idea. But just remember, are you really going to do this if you don’t start earning less? Yes, but not really anything more than casually, I might just have prices to reflect that, make it $2000 and only do 2 or 3 a year, but then it’s all part of the online video production paradigm, so one way or the other, the thread will be taken up. It’s not a waste of time to push video production, that’s why we’re doing it.

WEBSITES, OFFICE + BUSINESS SPENDING, CD DUPLICATORS

So far my website bill is looking like about $300 for artist and video site, maybe that again for pirates. I may have to spend another $100 on my artist website to get it just right, but then I think I could do a front page for the talent site for $100 too. That’s $800, most of our budget, but we’ll take it from there.

We’re focused on spending, so once we get new desks in the front office, I wonder what else it will need? One step at a time, we have to find out. A new mixer? New phone? When we get round to it.

There’s developments with both the camera and new cd dvd duplicators I was planning to get. The camera I will need to research, but with the cd burning, I discovered you could make some repairs to the equipment by buying a new motherboard.

This would be cheaper than buying new equipment, but would it be better? If we bought new we’d realistically have 20-25 drives, but be prepared to spend up to $20 p/week on failed cd dvd burning.

If we fixed our old cd duplicating reproducers we’d have 20-25 drives to, but without so many fails, and we’d higher audio capacity. With this option more jobs in general would be completed faster, but the other option would be better for smaller discs and larger runs.

With new machinery, we’d have greater max capacity, with a small data disc or dvd reproduction we could have 29 or more drives going. Yet with repair, we could probably manage 26, 27 at the very most. But when those thousand orders come in, and you make $500, then you don’t mind stacking a cd burner 40 times to make the money.

Or more importantly you get someone to do 500 and they’re done in a few hours. We’ve budgeted $1300 for new, and we’re estimating up to $500 for each repair. So we’ll attempt 1 repair first.

New Managements in CD DVD Duplication and Printing

Friday, April 6th, 2012

So we’re making breakthroughs almost really, pulling in cashflow and reducing that accounts receivable right down so that we can spend up on expansive practices. We are now ready to invest into the projects that can push us forward.


I can’t help but think of stuff that can push my business further than mere dvd duplication and printing and such. As an entrepreneur you want to have goals and right now I don’t seem to be able to look that far ahead. This is mainly because the cd dvd duplication thing is so weird, it could be done within 4 years, or it could trail out for another decade.

That’s what we’re planning but what if it just carries on strong? Just go with it. However long it lasts, whether it’s in 5 years or in 10 years, you may be back sitting not doing so much but y’know what? We would have already succeeded, we already would have some capital behind us, put it like this, if we found ourselves one day with $200k and nothing to do, I think we would be able to look after ourselves even if discs weren’t part of it.

So why worry too much about a bad situation that would probably take 5 years to express itself, and we are well prepared for anyway?

We know we have to be aware of growth strategies of course because we added it up the other day to pick the point where we have enough cash depth to take a few expansive steps. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, now that I make more than I need, it really starts to get comfortable, I don’t really need much more to really be working myself into a strong position long term.

The moment cd dvd duplication printing wanes, I am ready with pirates, gardening and my trading strategy to pick up the slack over 2 years.

But I don’t want to fall into a trap! I’m trying to organise better systems and processes in my business which extricates myself from the situation, and that’s the goal. I want to be free to really ask myself if getting into more business is smart and is 2 good business ideas in a lifetime too much to ask for? That was always the idea. One more idea as good as cd dvd duplication and I could be planning my retirement. It could be any time in the next 20 years, I need to chill out.

But I also love to plan business, I can’t help it.

Assistants are the most important part of that, those who can take the work on. My plan is to have a employee who connects with the print staff to complete the packaging and delivery of all our cd dvd and printing jobs. So my main jobs become sales, print orders, and supplies. Once that happens I don’t become involved again until the invoice gets sent out. Then I have to send reminders, then on isolated cases, I have to get serious. Which is a drag.

But we’re now back in the fun part where we get to focus on spending and expanding and bringing new aspects that roll out production.

We get new video production equipment, we get new cd dvd duplication and cd printing equipment to continue to expand our business. But also people doing jobs, what jobs? Debt collecting? Invoices and what not, we were just talking about this. Design thingees. There really isn’t much.

It’s nice to think we can outsource everything, but there’s always going to be stuff to sort out and it’s foolish to lull yourself into thinking that there aren’t always issues a business owner will have to come in and make decisions regarding.

Y’know it was really smart not to start a shop. Really smart. I’m making plenty of money now without a shop.

VIDEO AND TALENT

Now I’m having some ideas to rewrite my video and talent pages, and set up marketing campaigns for my artist websites and my talent website.


PRICE POINTS ETC

Man cd duplication in jewel cases causes a lot of problems.

– artists and packaging.

Well that sort of sums it up, fussy artists, and packaging that not only is hard to put together but is also breakable.

Our new prices will have to be $230, $420, $700, $950, $1450, and this is how we’ll roll, we’ll say that we have to spend more on postage now than before so that covers it, that leaves space for us to offer the old deal for auckland cd duplication as they will pick it up.

DEBT COLLECTING ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

It seems like an issue but the more organised you get, the more you’ll stay on top of it, and the more you’ll remember to get on to people who are being slack. But more importantly it’ll start to be natural, the less you have to deal with, the less a reminder after 30 days will seem like a drag even if they only owe $100.

Also we need clearly defined lines.

The policy for bands is payment upfront for first job, but clients can pay on collection.

The policy for businesses is that jobs under $1000

All jobs over $1000 and replication jobs are 50% upfront.

No unsettled accounts bigger than $2000 for any client except, long term clients we’ve been working with that expect it – airline, tourist operators etc.

I think we just have to stick to the rules, and recognise that we have to be firm with the big brands. We have to say to them that they gotta pay their bills. This is where I went wrong in letting a company rack up $6k – I’ll get the money, but what a nightmare waiting for the money! I can’t put $6k at the back of my mind. I can’t splash out on something awesome knowing that that $6k isn’t really there where it’s supposed to be!

When writing off $2k is as bad as it gets, it’s no picnic but it’s not really a disaster. We’ll live. Any more than that is a bummer and it’s not worth going with.

So what I’m saying is more discipline is required to keep the job under control.

So I do the sales, I process the printing orders, I collect supplies and I follow up invoices. Then I’m done.

Cheap Online Video Production Service

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

I’m looking at websites here again, I want it done with, but I’m also thinking that I really don’t need to be worrying about a website that is not already making money, or money or profit, revenue related to websites at all! I’m really not looking for big exhausting growth, I want to have some solid business ideas waiting in the wings for when cd duplication and dvd replication isn’t so strong.

But my video production website is so ugly it doesn’t even have a chance!


We will spruce up the artist website, the pirate website and the video website for appearances, but we won’t even touch kurb for another 6 months unless things change. It’s all about having some forethought and putting in preparation so if the market shifts, I’ve got a few plans in place.

It’s a nod to the future that I can do video for 20 years most likely, just an idea and you can take it anywhere, but that’s all so fanciful, you need to keep abreast of practicalities. The whole youtube partnership advertising thing – 3c a watch? $30 for 10,000 views? 10,000 views is worth so much more than $30, 10k youtube views should get you 5 willing fans or buyers at least, get them coughing up $800 each every month for their video production and video marketing and you’ve got a business!

But surely there will be a year where we struggle to hit even $1200, and we’re not uncomfortable, but we have more spare time, and we know what’s coming.

In as little as a year it could be $800, and things will pinch a little, but that’s the point, we’ve got 2 years, in theory to make video happen if we have to.

VIDEO PRODUCTION WEBSITE

What’s my idea for the video production site? A better website? Sure, but what’s the product we’re selling? I’m not sure we know! We have to produce some videos and say that this is what we do before we go getting all excited! What kind of job a re we looking for? A quick youtube presentation, with a campaign, for like US$800, so we might be better off $500 once we’d paid all the contractors, without doing more than half a days work.

And because we’re doing music video production, we should advertise that. Video and promotions package for $795, and the videos we put up initially probably won’t be much chop but in a year or two we should have a couple of decent videos, but even then it’s kind of . . . well a lot of 2 way traffic, traffic coming from youtube to look at the deals on the site, so we just need some examples, and some deals and links etc the blog, and that should do.

We honestly have to shake up the content. It’s pretty sad, the rest would be simple, in terms of just getting a designer who can do something flashy and standard and going with that, but how do you expect it to play? In 18 months our videos are getting good and they draw attention to themselves, people want to pay $1000 for the video and promo and we’re doing one every month and pocketing $650.

Right now I reckon I could charge $600 for the video plus promo, and I would pocket $400 but that’s still 2 nights work, okay but not that worth it, we have to start with the $795 package, a promo package and a few straight video packages.

So yeah we do want to re do the video production site but we need some kind of idea of where we’ll be in a year or two when we actually want to push it.

Really I just want to spend $200 getting it looking smarter, and let video push the message. Pirates right now can look after itself, and don’t see why we should worry too much about kurb for now either, there’s just no reason to develop it much while it’s still doing well.


AUCKLAND CD DVD DUPLICATION AND MARKETING

We’re still looking for that assistant, if they were coming on monday they would be helping to pack up what we’re sending, the band cd duplication, and maybe a trip to penrose for the dvd duplication services. Then we might be thinking about picking up cd cases for cd replication but it really depends what jobs come in.

This helps with packing and delivering, and even printing and supplies pick ups, where are our other issues? In admin. What’s taking up my time?

Worrying about websites and photoshoots and office rearrangement?

What’s this admin business?

Payment Reminders
Invoices
Tax
Design stuff?

Meeting clients and customer service is not something I can really bow out on, and it will always involved people coming and going.
Sales
Art + Design Masters
Print Orders

Savings Through Duplication, Replication, Printing

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

This year has been so full on and I have been grateful for the opportunity to see my business When you’re becoming successful, as I said you should be aware of your long term plan, this is especially pertinent to me as technology erodes the foundations of your business.

Just profiting more isn’t necessarily growth if it’s not sustainable. I was even happy there was no sales today because it means breathing space, and time to focus on where we need to be moving forward, because the further you move forward, the more plans you need in place and a clearer picture.

The most important thing now for me is saving time.


The bigger a deal it becomes, the more I think it’s totally appropriate to write about on my blog because other business owners want to know what comes after becoming successful with business and that is getting your lifestyle back!

We are slowly accepting how important it is to work on our labour / staff situation, we didn’t really see it as a problem until we started to realise how limited we were without people to do work, this is because I’ve been lucky enough to have an idea if what the future holds, and that having people to do the work is only going to become more of a problem.

Earlier I thought that it didn’t matter because it’s just money from work that I don’t really need, it’s not a huge problem, but that was the wrong way of looking at it. Because whether I need the money is irrelevant to my business principals that you set a price and you provide a service. It’s almost like a duty. There’s no obligation, but if you really expect to earn the rewards of a robust business, you can’t just disregard the commitment you’ve made to provide a service.

It’s not a life sentence, but you need to maintain a healthy attitude about doing a good job. But that isn’t helping me withdraw from responsibilities, and be in a better position where my business allows me to have a good lifestyle.

So what am I doing right now to get the assistants I need? Well, you need to have a clearer vision of the system by which these assistants will work.

NEW ASSISTANT PRODUCTION SCHEDULE

Check print jobs > call print shop (I have to send print jobs)
Check packaging > package discs (I have to stock cases)
Collect Printing / Packaging / Do Deliveries + Postage (I need to provide addresses and contacts)
Finish Packaging / Arrange Deliveries and Pick Ups.

How difficult can this be?

Well we need to make the preparations for this to all run smoothly. What I’ve been doing is preparing to stock up on cases so it doesn’t stall any of my assistants waiting to complete a job. We’re getting the system down so that anyone looking at that laptop is going to be able to work out what has to be done.

My idea is to even have whoever stop by the printers to see what is ready first, then they don’t have to worry about stock, everything is there. All they have to worry about is packing it up and sending it out.

Past the printers > Packing everything up > Sending it Out.

What are other ways I can cut down on the jobs I do not want? Raising prices is the only choice left.

But I am stocking up. CD Jewel Cases, Slim Cases, DVD Cases, and Sleeves.

I have been forced to find ways to press the realities of supply and demand, and the big announcement is I have actually cut free delivery for new clients.

Old clients will still get free delivery on cd dvd duplication services but new jobs for new clients are to be charged, which I think will save us $50-100 every week. More importantly though it shifts the responsibility a little over towards the client, as they must specify what they want to pay for.

Auckland / Small package – $5
Box North Island – $10
Box south Island / big box north island $20 – Fast $60
big box south island – $30

But if someone in south island orders 500 dvd’s, I can just make it $100.

Today having that printing late was a bummer. Not really much we could do. Tomorrow we are waiting on 2 new cheap printing jobs for dvd duplication, which will require packing into as many as 450 cases. But because we don’t know when the printing is ready, and neither job is urgent, we’ll plan to have those done in 2 days. Tomorrow I will see the accountant about the new business model.

So I am sorting out my tax and all that kind of thing.

So I lost a big job because I wasn’t organised. Or was I? Basically the client had been waiting months for her samples to be sorted out. I’m not concerned at all except for the subtext. I’m not concerned because the job had been a nightmare and was bound to get worse because it was particularly labour intensive. Just what I don’t need right now. Having the house all busy and working like crazy for 3 days just for a $1000 would quickly reveal itself to be madness.

But is this why the samples weren’t sorted? I printed 3 different samples, and I was being asked to do a lot of set up stuff – boring stuff – to get all these samples prepared.