I received the following email from my 12 year old son this morning. I was at work, and he was home, obviously putting his half-term holiday to good use!
Subject: I know how to make over £30.00 at school in 6 weeks
"Everybody is interested in tech decks at school and they all say the cheapest place to get them is crazy clearance. They are apparently £3.00 each at crazy clearance. I have found a pack of 10 tech decks for £14.43 which is about £1.44 each. If I sold 10 per week at £2.00 I would earn £20.00 and make a profit of £5.57 per week. If I could do that for 6 weeks I would have made a profit of £33.42 towards my TV. Is this a good idea. Also do you think offering a free lollipop from the shop would be a good idea if I couldn't sell any in my first week because I would still make a profit on each tech deck. In east lee stores the lollipops are 20p and were popular at the beginning of the year, being sold at around 30p. If I charged £2.00 for a tech deck and a free lolli It would cost me £1.64 per tech deck and I would make a profit of 36p per sale. I would not do this straight away however because without the the lolli I would make a profit of 56p per sale. That is a 28% profit margin which is quite decent. Please tell me if this is a good idea. The only thing is allot of people are selling used tech decks for £1.50 but with mine they would be paying for the quality. I think it is decent because it means more than doubling my starting budget which would have to be £15.00. Tell me if this is a good idea and if so could you please build me a spreadsheet when you have the time just to keep you practicing your spreadsheet skills. And don't charge me for the spreadsheet because I can do it myself."
Putting aside the typos and lack of paragraphs (and the cheeky jibe about Spreadsheets by Email at the bottom), I realised I had come across so many business plans from grown-ups that weren't as considered.
He has sourced a supplier, researched the market (even establishing that he can still cover his costs at the current rate for second hand product) and knows his margins. He has even given thought to a promotion!
Part of me feels incredibly proud, and part of me worries I've created a monster!
By the way, I had to ask what a Tech Deck was, and this was his reply:
"It is a mini skateboard that you can use your fingers to ride and do tricks with. You can also get mini skate park equipment to use it on. Tech deck is the brand name though. you can get cheaper ones but they break alot easier."
What's more, this second email had a link to his blog in the signature!
It sounds like he'll do his bit for all of our pensions!
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About Glen Feechan
Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in management reporting, Microsoft Excel and business process improvement.
Also runs a spreadsheet development business at http://www.needaspreadsheet.com.
Provides consulting on the above specialisms as well as providing cost savings to clients at no cost.
Editor and chief contributor to Not Just Numbers Ezine - The ezine for those who know it's not just about the numbers.
Cost Saving for SMEs, Overhead reduction, Excel, Management Reporting, Process Improvement, PISO.