Insider #6: The Barter Economy

Greetings from the trade show floor! We just completed the Promotional Products Association trade show in Dallas and are headed to Orlando on Wednesday for the PGA Merchandise Show. We should know by the end of February how much of a success MouseDriver will be! BTW, the new website is up and running: www.mousedriver.com.

Lessons Learned

Our search for a company to fulfill MouseDriver retail orders is over! We found a fulfillment house in Reno, Nevada (conveniently located near our time share in Lake Tahoe) who will stock all of our inventory, integrate secure on-line ordering with our website, provide 24 hour customer service and take orders/ship product to anyone who orders via our 800# or through our website. In addition, we have access to over 450 inventory reports that will allow us to track when, where, how fast, etc. MouseDriver’s are moving. We’re paying a premium for this service, but it essentially takes away the headache of us having to deal with orders (i.e. all we see is a check in the bank account at the end of the month) and allows us to focus on the marketing and PR side of things.

We finally completed our negotiations with suppliers in the promotional products industry, and yes, those negotiation skills learned at Wharton were put to work. (FYI: A supplier sells product to a distributor company who has lots of sales reps that sell the product to corporations as a promotional product. We sell to the supplier, they mark it up and sell to the distributor who then marks it up and sells to the corporation.) We decided to do a co-exclusive with two suppliers; DataPad is a very innovative company who focuses on manufacturing unique mousepads and desktop accessories. Barlow is the largest supplier in the promo product industry and has established itself as a premier brand name. The co-exclusive allows us to obtain larger coverage, benefit from the product marketing of both companies, and introduce MouseDriver into the market as quickly as possible. The largest promotional products industry trade show was held last week in Dallas, and both DataPad and Barlow were exhibiting the product. We should see a very large increase in sales in this industry within the next 3 months!

When you’re not a .com company with millions of dollars in venture capital financing, you quickly learn to utilize your existing resources very effectively. Although we weren’t able to move hundreds of thousands of MouseDriver’s during the Holiday Season, we were able to use MouseDriver to assist us in purchasing other products and services. Hence the beauty of a barter economy…something we all learned at some point in time in high school economics. Over the past four months, we’ve bartered MouseDriver’s for: two state-of-the-art golf putters, customized Mousepads, future ad space in golf magazines and newspaper publications, software and a slew of different promotional products. Let us know if you’re interested in making a deal.

What We’ve Done

  • Ordered MouseDriver Mousepads, customized media kit folders, button down Oxfords, and customized point-of-purchase displays for the PGA Merchandise Show. MouseDriver t-shirts are soon to follow.
  • Sent product sales kits to major department stores, mall retailers and specialty golf shops in hopes of doing deals for the Father’s Day retail season.
  • Began negotiating (primarily wholesale price and bundling options) with major brand name retailers.
  • Released our 2nd press release over the PRNewswire and Golf Services Newswire.
  • Completed our new and improved website and registered¬†www.mousedriver.com¬†with Yahoo!
  • Been featured on the front page of the business section in The Orange County Register and appeared (half page article) in the February 2000 issues of Senior Golfer and Golf Retailer Magazines.
Priority Goals
  • Initiate the second phase of our marketing campaign focused more on targeted media and print advertising.
  • Find key retailers (department/specialty stores) to distribute MouseDriver and finalize negotiations ASAP.
  • Collect on all of our outstanding accounts receivable (this is such a pain-in-the-rear!).
  • Sell, Sell, Sell!!!

Mood Meter: Excitement!

 

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