Friday, April 01, 2011

The month in review

... well actually, it's about 5 weeks, but who's counting?

Since this appeal a few weeks ago, things have been rather astonishing. I use the word astonishing carefully.

Adj. 1. astonishing
astonishing
- so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm.

Obviously, we had hoped that the effect of the appeal would be positive, but I don't think anyone could have expected the kind of response we have had (and are still getting).

We have been stunned and overwhelmed.

You can look back over the last few weeks of blogposts to see the kind of things that have been happening. Indeed there was more loveliness last night, as the SYP (Society of Young Publishers) threw a benefit party for us in our own shop. They brought the booze and the food, they did a raffle and donated the money that they'd raised from this to us. They also gave us a very nice cheque. And on top of all that they all bought books.
Here they are showing off their books.

We want to thank them so much for all of this, it was great fun and it really helped us out. If you are a young publisher and are looking for a society to join I would strongly recommend The SYP

So, after the initial day of madness, we set ourselves a target. That target then became something that we followed on the Strugglometer. I know a lot of you like the old strugglometer. I like the old strugglometer too. But today will be the last time you see the old strugglometer.
And here it is.
We have reached an incredible 96% of our target of relative safety. This is staggering, considering the position we were in before the appeal.
 So, we didn't reach 100%.
If you asked someone to give you £1000 and they gave you £960, you really wouldn't complain. This is how we are feeling right now. We are now in a position where we can actually spend a little money on marketing, we can keep the bookshelves fuller without worrying , we can invest a bit more in community projects and we can seriously look forward.
Because this appeal wasn't about getting us through this month. It was about helping to secure our long term future here in Wood Green. We have 9 months left of a bank loan, which we took out when we opened the shop. This is the biggest single outgoing each month and so once this has been paid off we will be 'relatively safe'(as safe as any business is). It looks like, we're now in a position to get through this next 9 months, and now you've given us this incredible opportunity, we're determined to be the best bookshop we possibly can be.
We're setting up think tanks to help us improve how we work (please forgive me for using the words think tank). Each of these think tanks will consist of a group of around half a dozen of our customers who have offered to help us out. Each of these groups will specialise in a certain aspect of the shop. For example one will be specialise in marketing, one will concentrate on finance, one on the look of shop itself and so on. We'll be meeting probabaly once a month to discuss ways of improving the bookshop and the way it runs and to agree what actions to take. 
We know that there are things that we are OK at, and we are painfully aware there are things that we are really rubbish at. The hope is that these groups will help us overcome some of the things we struggle with. (if you're interested in joining one of these groups, please email the shop enquiries@biggreenbookshop.com ).

I also thought I would share a screengrab of a graph, showing the number of visitors to our website. Before the appeal and now.
What this little picture shows is what a huge increase in traffic we had, and  also what it would show if the picture was a bit bigger was that we are now getting on average around twice as many visits as we did in February.
Coincidentally and very importantly, this is also true of the bookshop itself. We are now getting around twice as many people a day coming in through the doors. This is particulary pleasing, as these are new customers, who didn't know we existed until they heard about us through the appeal.
The hardest thing about running a shop is getting new customers, and now that we have some new ones, we want to make sure that we keep them, hence our determination to be as good as we can be.

So, in conclusion. This has been the most incredible month we've ever had in the shop. We are truly grateful to everybody who has helped in any way at all. I have cried between 20 and 30 times. Well done.

What follows will hopefully be the (new) most incredible month we've ever had in the shop. Where we build on what has happened and start to truly become the bookshop that our customers deserve.

Thank you.

1 comment:

maria said...

wheres your fuckin shop