Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nightly Roundup - Day 362

Marriage - Check;-)

Kids - Fun time throwing rocks into the pond during the rain - mom there mentally AND physically.

Business - Did about 30 minutes today more of general research to create the business plan to then eventually meet with a mentor. Decided to focus on Leapfrog as an educational toy provider and get more info on the market. Went to to look up their company name. Then clicked on Leapfrog Enterprises and did a "filing type" search for a 10-k, which they must file each year as a publicly traded company. So if you're starting a company, this is a good place to gather the inside scoop. On the business plan:
Major Players - according to report are Leapfrog - Mattel via its Fisher Price Brand; Hasbro via Playskool division; and Vtech holdings.
Problems - Competitors introducing similar products soon after they are created at Leapfrog, often for a cheaper price due to materials, sources, labor, etc.
Principal methods of competition in the educational toy realm - performance, features, quality, brand recognition, price, and learning content,
Limits- 60 percent of gross sales depend on just three retailers, Walmart, Toys R Us, Target - and if any of these runs into significant problems, there will be big problems for Leapfrog.
Customers - Our customers generally fit into one of the following categories:
● Retailers that resell our products to consumers in the United States and some international regions;

● Distributors that purchase our products for resale to retailers, generally internationally;

● Direct consumers who purchase our products via our website,;

● U.S. schools and school districts that purchase our products for use in their classrooms either through education market resellers or directly, through our website, (But I couldn't find the breakdown of which customers are responsible for what percentage of sales).
Problem - Declining sales and profits

At this point I'm not sure how all this will fit into my business plan, but it gives me a bit more of a feel for the industry. What happened to the good old, "Build a better mousetrap and they'll be beating down your door????"

Book - Talk about overlap. I spent about 15 minutes reading the first chapter of From Book Idea to Bestseller. The seven rules of book publishing are now supposedly:
1. Compete for readers.
2. Think in terms of product.
3. Act like a promoter.
4. Develop and package the project.
5. Design your proposal for a committee decision.
6. Understand the changing landscape of book publishing.
7. Turn the chains and superstores into allies.
Did Jane Austen have any idea how good she had it??

Garden - Brought in more annuals.

Health/beauty - Fun here. I dusted off my old Billy Banks Tai Bo videos that I hadn't used since I was pregnant with Kirk and blew off some steam kickboxing. All that book and business stuff seemed a bit overwhelming and there's nothing like Billy's positive style and a few well placed chops to work off some anxiety. The kids wanted to be part of the action, so I let them work on some kicks too.

Spirit/catchall - Had a lovely chat with one of my best friends on the phone today. We were college roommates and she now lives in New Mexico so we don't get to see each other as often as I'd like. But when we do talk, we connect again in about 2 seconds. Thanks Emelia!

FI - Am trying to work my schedule to only spend money one or two days a week. I've done this in the past to great effect as it forces you to put off buying and often you decide the day you finally shop you don't even want or need half the stuff you would have gotten on impulse purchases. But this isn't always easy to do. Will try to schedule at least four NO BUY days next week.

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