Due to Ice storms, BenzForce will be closed 2/1/2023. We will reopen once shipping carriers resume their routes
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Pivotal Decisions

For the new people reading the blog or those that don’t know me, I tend to be overly transparent and share the behind the scenes activities more than a typical company. Most small businesses are too worried about putting on a polished façade. The hope is that transparency leads to an understanding of what it takes to bring certain offerings to the market and also build confidence that I have the customer’s best interest in mind. With that said, I have written in the past about the success, and failures, thus far with BenzForce.

The business has grown to the point where the company is approaching a critical fork in the road. The niche for om617 and om60x performance diesel products is extremely limited and without services, the revenue sales generate would not support the lifestyle I have. In fact, I have yet to take money out of the business, instead, I have sunk all profits into the dyno car, product development or inventory. At this point in time I see the following options:

  1. Change my lifestyle. The key in what I said above is that it wouldn’t support *my* lifestyle. Through the years I have become quite spoiled due to the success of my consulting practice and my current consulting position. Once you experience a certain level of success, whatever level that may be, it is hard to willingly step back.
  2. Offer services. I have a number of houses across two states. I could pull out equity to sink into a commercial building, move into a smaller house and dedicate myself to BenzForce almost full time. This was actually my plan for a little while. I was thinking of building “Man Caves”; large workshops for affluent people. The rent from the man caves would offset the construction and building of BenzForce that would share the same property. Honestly, I just don't see me working on people’s cars. I don’t have all the tooling in place and the liability is just a turnoff. This is also a business decision. Most garages are nothing more than jobs where the equity and resale value of the business is minimal if the assets are stripped away.
  3. Expand e-tailing. The online store has been successful to a point. As I mention I am in a niche of a niche and expansion of the offering only makes sense. There is a wealth of products available for newer models and after researching a few product lines, I feel confident I can be competitive. Additionally, from a pure business perspective, if the inventory is stripped, there is still a strong value tied to a trusted international brand. The breadth and depth of market penetration from a successful online store should always exceed that of a local service center.

So what is the pivotal decision? Right now, I am thinking I will take number 3 and number 1. Here’s the plan (always subject to change):

  • Store. This December, BenzForce will go offline while I move to Shopify. Currently, the store runs on BigCommerce but I have had numerous issues: hiccups with the UPS quoting and Paypal modules are the most annoying and ultimately cost me money. Moving the store sounds easy but there is a lot of work to modify templates, move data, configure my integrations, DNS redirects, etc. I also need to reevaluate all of my pricing. I have not done this since items were originally put in the catalog. Building out the catalog will take time and happen throughout 2020.
  • Downsizing. At this time we are planning on moving to Round Rock, TX into one of our other houses and sell the one we are in. We have done it before. In Ashburn, VA our house was 4900 square feet, a couple moves later we got down to 1400! That is quite a change, but gradually we increased house sizes again. With both boys out of the house, we just don’t need to live where we do, especially with our HOA and the grumpy prima donnas on the street. The cost of living after doing this would be ridiculously low giving me tremendous flexibility in what projects get funded and what my inventory looks like.
  • Commercial building. This would be nice, but I am thinking it would be well worth it to just rent a space for a short time as validation. The commercial building is not a priority at the moment.

So there you have it. For the time being, the diesel offerings should remain unimpacted and the plan is to add to what’s on the site now. I finally got a free day today, so I am off to work on the dyno car. If I am lucky I will get the engine in the car this weekend and wrap up the core wiring.

Thanks for the read,

Rodney

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