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October 20, 2017

Manage Better

antiques tourism

Boost Sales With Antiques Tourism

“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” — Leo Tolstoy When Tolstoy made this point, I’m sure he wasn’t foreshadowing the modern tourist industry. Nevertheless, there is a lot of “coming and going” occurring in the U.S., and in the past year

returns policy

How Do Your Return Policies Affect Your Sales?

A visitor to an online forum recently sought help from forum members regarding a problem he was having with an eBay seller. It seems the visitor had purchased a “working” used game system, but when it arrived none of the accompanying cords fit the unit and he was unable to use it. The seller’s Terms and

Avoid Falling Victim to the ‘Sunk Cost Fallacy’

photo courtesy of  lawschoollies.com/ In the following scenario, what would you do if you were the dealer involved? At an estate auction you find a lovely Nickelodeon (coin-operated player piano with drums, etc.) that seems to be in working order. The auctioneer claims that it “has been partially restored and plays well. Just needs tuning.”

In-Store Spending on the Rise (Again)

It seems that eCommerce and Big Retail have finally learned what we antique dealers have known all along: Customers prefer to handle and inspect an item before they buy it. For years, retail analysts have touted online selling as being the future of retailing. And in the board rooms of The Big Guys, decisions were

open to buy

Open to Buy

Unlike our other calculators, this one doesn’t automatically calculate answers for you. This topic is too important to automate the math; you really need to internalize this process. So, I have provided tables and a set of instructions Antique dealers often get into trouble by willy-nilly buying inventory without giving any thought to what they

Operating is Risky Business Without Insurance

In my July 26, 2012, Behind the Gavel column, I related a story about the Mountaintop Antique Mall in Hillsville, Virginia. This popular mall near Interstate Route 77 is one of my favorite places to visit when I go antiquing near Hillsville. Last month, intending to visit Mountaintop, I drove right past the mall entrance.

When Does a Hobby Become a Business?

It was apparent from the wording of his forum post that Ben was overwrought. He had just received a 1099-K from eBay and feared that he would owe the IRS a lot of money. Ben wanted forum members to advise him on how he could maneuver through his difficulty. It seems that Ben’s uncle had

grim reaper

Can Your Antiques Business Pass the Acid Test?

Back before Saturday Night Live there was a radio comedy troupe called The Firesign Theatre. Their routines included a game show titled “Beat the Reaper” in which contestants were injected with a deadly disease and had less than a minute to analyze their symptoms and guess what disease they had. Those who did would Beat

books

Books the Antiques Experts Use

I recently read a comment on an antiques forum that referenced a 2009 blog post titled “Being An Antiques & Collectibles Dealer Isn’t Rocket Surgery, But…”. The post was by Deanna Dahlsad, and is found on the Collector’s Quest blog. Mixed metaphors aside, Ms. Dahlsad shares the point that like both rocket science and brain

google trends

Trend Spotting with Web tools

It’s been said that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” By that reasoning, as the economy improves, all of us should be seeing greater sales revenues. Of course, the “rising tide” of the economy also increases our taxes and expenses, so, relatively speaking, we may not be any better off than we were at low

if then

Find More Time by Using Online Tools

This time of year, many antique dealers are breathing a sigh of relief. The holiday selling crush is over. For the past month or so, administrative chores have been put on hold in order to service in-store and online customers. Hopefully, most of us have fattened bank accounts to make up for all the hard

parcel

Holiday Shipping: Hazardous to Your Gifts?

If you’re gifting and shipping collectibles for the holidays, I hope you are either very lucky or very well insured. I recently shipped a First World War artillery-shell lamp and packed it to the point where I thought it was bullet-proof: a layer of paper wrap, tape-reinforced at the lamp’s base and socket, bubble-wrapped, and

GMROI

GMROI, or Gross Profit Return on Inventory, answers the question “How much money do I get back for every dollar I invest in inventory?” The Gross Profit (or Gross Margin) that is created when you make sales needs to provide sufficient money to operate and grow your business and make a profit for the owners.

card acceptance

Keeping Up With Payment Systems Technology

A recurring scene in futuristic movies shows a character paying for a purchase by touching the screen of a hand-held device, or swiping a wand across a terminal. Thirty years ago such an act was certainly the stuff of science fiction. Today, this payment method is a reality. The future is here. That is, except

gas prices

Dealing With High Gas Prices

I don’t know DeWayne Butler, but his business seems to be very similar to my own: auctioneer, antique dealer, and raconteur. His comments in the video below got me to wondering about how other antique dealers budget for gasoline expense. The cost of gas varies wildly from state to state, and month to month. I

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