The War Room

While I’m being facetious with that title, it’s actually not that far off. The battle begins anew every night when I get home from my work, and Kristy gets home from the QP warehouse. The shot is of our typical landing spot, the kitchen table. It was late and we had moved from wine to hot chocolate. Somehow “war room” and “hot chocolate” just don’t seem to fit together. Oh well.


 
Sales are kicking butt. You and the rest of the people who dig our popcorn are all awesome. Actually, unbelievable. Now it’s our job to make sure we keep up, to make sure we keep the popcorn on the shelf.
 
A few months ago we met with a friend who has started two very successful food companies. We didn’t have a product yet and we were pretty naive. He told us that we needed someone dedicated to sales, another person for marketing, and another to manage operations. That was the bare essentials he said. It didn’t really click at the time. We just wanted to sell popcorn.
 
A few months later and we find ourselves up at 12:45 crunching the next production round quantities based on our historical sales trends. A misplaced decimal point would spell disaster. Eyes red, hands cold, and wine empty. It’s fun, but in the fun-to-remember kind of way. Logistics/operations are becoming an increasingly important part our day. Actually, I have essentially been a glorified spreadsheet jockey for the last 4 weeks.
 
We did create a pretty comprehensive sales projection model. It’s clean, controlled, predicable, and, um, beautiful. Looking at it eases my mind. Reality is on the other end of the spectrum. Our 4 minutes of air time on Chronicle threw all of those projections out of the window. Last week we sold about 800% more popcorn than we did the week before. PR and product placement continues to have a huge impact on sales. That’s a great thing. It’s making us scramble, but as we get more practice we are getting better at keeping it under control.
 
A friend and client (day job) passed on a great quote that is often used within the publicly traded company he works for. “For every one of our failures we have a beautiful spreadsheet.” If there is a lesson in this quote and in the post, it is that planning is really important, but being flexible and responsive is essential.

 

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