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Comic Zone’s One Year Anniversary

December 7, 2009

Well, we have joined the ranks of new businesses considered successful in that we are not among the 50% of businesses who fail in the first year. To what do we attribute this success?

The first quality that has really helped us is perseverance. We have continued through the ups and downs. We have persisted, insisted on making this work. More than once we have been down to our last $1000 and wondered how we would continue. A few times we were rescued by our private financing source. A few times one or another of us made a small member contribution so we could continue. All four of us made great sacrifices in time and money to keep the store going.

The second quality that has made a huge difference is our ability to take a step back, assess where we are at, and not be afraid of changing things up. If something wasn’t working, we tried something else. We found out that, for our business, costly display ads in popular periodicals do not pay off for us! I think we got one or two customers from our display ads. We found out that having remotes from radio stations frequented by our target audience works like a charm. Two hours, for a fraction of what a display ad costs, would more than pay for itself that day, and we’d continue to realize positive repercussions for the next week or more. We found that simple flyers and word of mouth were very effective marketing tools, and right now, we are exploring a solid marketing presence in social media. Every step is a learning experience and we keep what works, and let go of what doesn’t.

The third quality that serves us well is knowing when to say no. We learned very quickly not to order too much from our distributor. We learned that sometimes it’s better to run out of an issue than to stock too much. We learned that people want to sell us their comics, and hope to make a fortune doing so…. we usually tell them if they want to make a fortune, they need to do the work and sell their prizes individually. We really don’t have time to do that, nor can we pay what they are hoping to get. But sometimes, people just want to help us out, as they de-clutter their garage or what-not. We have learned that even at a very reasonable price, we need to be discerning. We really don’t need a bunch of comics that aren’t in demand.

Most important of all, however, is our dedication to our customers. We bend over backwards to please our customers. We have a solid and healthy pull-box membership. We have regular sales for our preferred customers. We will go out of our way to help our customers find something that they want. We love and appreciate our customers, and always give a little more than what they expect. Our customers are our life blood, and we want them to know that we appreciate them!

We had a huge celebration on Saturday – one year after our preview party on Dec. 5th, 2008. It was a great day. We had cake. We had balloons. We had coffee. We had comic book artists and writers from 12:30 to 7:30 pm. We had bellydancers for two hours. We had sales throughout the day. We sold t-shirts with our store logo on them, which grants the wearer a 10% discount on any order. We gave away our new loyal customer punch cards which entitle a customer to a free trade paperback after purchasing 20. Everyone had a blast.

And that’s another important quality. We appreciate our customers and we celebrate our successes. Comic Zone – the best comic book store in Scottsdale, AZ.

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