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Owning a Small Business (Part 1)

Owning a Small Business (Part 1)

Running a Memorial Art business is a topic that invokes a wider range of emotional response than, say, having a Kettle Corn stand (yum Kettle Corn.) From 'Oh my god that's horrible' to 'that's so cool' I do get very varied responses. I think running this type of business also has a wider range of concerns than maybe some other businesses. Foremost is marketing.

Why I can't lose weight

So how does one market a business that has, fortunately, a very small window to sell into for a product that hopefully is not needed more than once every dozen years.  But in actuality how small is this window?  From a quantifiable standpoint, what is the market at any given point in time?  Here's my attempt to figure that out.

The percentage of the US population that is cremated is around 50%.  The US population is 360 million people.  Wow, that's a lot of Kettle Korn to be sold .. oh yeah I'm selling memorials :(

The official death rate is the US is .008% of the population per year; multiply that all together is 0.8% * 360M * 50% = 1.44M people in the US get cremated per year.  Wow - I should be doing amazing right!!! 

Wait, you're being sarcastic aren't you?

Well, no, because this is the total possible market, nobody ever gets that large percentage of that. Go present a new business to investors and saying 'we'll be successful if we only get 1% of the market!' is the quickest way to get kicked out the door.

Bye now!!

So what is the actual number? One of the bigger challenges with memorials is you have a non-repeatable purchase in a small window. I would guess it's about 2 weeks prior to the death (when often the inevitability of the event sinks in) to 4 weeks after. While I can certainly get orders for people who have had cremation ash sitting on their mantle for years (and it's certainly more beautiful to have it in a garden orb than a mantle) the reality is that's the exception.

Shameless plug - 3" garden orb.

So let's say it's a 6 week, or a 45 day window. 45/365 = 12% so now our 1.44M becomes 175K. Still, that's a lot of people to market to at any given time, but that's my total market. Or is it? That's the number of deaths in that time period, however it's the family purchasing so let's say children and surviving spouse brings it to 4 potential purchases; now I'm at 700K applicable market at any given time. A larger slice to be sure.

Writing makes me hungry

Note I'm not including pets in this calculation, it's only people, so that number is likely around 2M. But to the point, it's still a hard market to target since it is something that effects anyone and can hit at any age. It's not like selling leather fringed hiking boots. So that's my current challenge ... how can I focus my advertising on this market to get a greater ROI??? To be continued...

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