The Business Rusch: Royalty Statements
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Pretend you run a very large business. The business has a lot of built-in problems, things not easily fixed. You’re aware of the problems and are trying to solve them. A decade ago, you actually had hope you could solve them. It will simply take time, you thought, but back then, your business was a leisurely business. Back then, you had no idea that the word “leisure” would leave your vocabulary and never return.
In that decade, your business has changed dramatically. Your corporate masters sold out to large conglomerates, so now you can no longer point to your small but steady profit as normal for your industry. The conglomerate doesn’t care. All the conglomerate cares about is quarterly profits, which should rise steadily.
Your industry doesn’t work that way, but you do your best to make those quarterly balance sheets work for the conglomerate. Unfortunately, that means any long-term outlook you used to have no longer works for your corporate masters. Now you can only look one year ahead, maximum, because that’s all the focus the conglomerate will allow.
One of your business’s largest problem comes out of the nature of the industry itself. The success of each product cannot be replicated. Just because you build one really good widget doesn’t mean that your next widget will sell at all. Your business has a luck aspect to it, an unpredictability that no matter how much you plan, you can’t fix.
The other built-in problems mentioned above cause your prices to verge on too high. If you solve the built-in problems, you might lose even more revenue, because most of those problems benefit the stores that sell your product. Those stores have made it clear they will not order from you if you take those harmful (to you) perks (to them) away. So your prices hover at a point too high for an impulse purchase, even though your business does better when consumers can buy your product on impulse.
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