As I write this, a new president has just been sworn in, the Covid-19 vaccine is beginning to be delivered, and we have a divided Congress.
The pundits are mixed on the results these changes should mean for the economy. Here’s what we’re planning for, our best estimation of the future as it affects your company.
The most important thing informing our planning is that iConsumer is “working”, but at too small a scale. People are joining (but not enough people), people are shopping (better than expected), and all of the processes are operating as designed. I interpret this to mean that our basic premise works – but needs a marketing push. People want to use iConsumer to build their future, but if they don’t know about us, they’re not going to join.
It means that our singular message, centered on “stock back”, resonates. It is a focus on tomorrow, not on a quick buck today. A focus on becoming better than a $4 stock. Which means that we stick to our messaging, just do more of it better.
Not all peaches and cream
Here’s what isn’t working. Our referral program. Too few people are joining because their friends share the iConsumer opportunity. We need to change that. Look forward to more on an updated referral program in the next month or so.
All of this is happening against an economy that is hard to predict, but predict we must. We’re planning based on the assumption that the economy will improve over the next year:
- pent up demand unleashed as people actually have to go to a workplace that isn’t their home
- lots of federal stimulus will help, especially that directed at middle income folks
- the stock market will follow suit (helping our stock price)
- eventually, inflation will kick in.
My take is that inflation will either help us, or be neutral for us. Our revenues are tied to activities that adjust with inflation. That is, as prices go up, our revenues will go up. Our costs may also adjust with inflation, but in the end, at worst we’ll be even for the experience.
We may be better than even. We’re awarding people with stock whose price may/should adjust upwards with inflation (it won’t actually be worth more, but it’ll be priced higher). Upward stock price activity, whatever the reason, seems to be good for us.
Contrast that with rewards that are denominated in cash, points, or airline miles. With inflation, the value of cash goes down. And airline miles have always seem to deflate in value, even when inflation was under control.
It’s not been a good year to want to cash in airline miles.
Taking advantage of the opportunity the marketplace is affording us will require cash. Last last year, we had an investment of $100,000, and we expect additional capital to be put behind our endeavors this year.
This will give us the means to up our marketing budget rather significantly (anything more than zero is significant).
Our travel revenue prior to the pandemic was significant. So significant that we were required to call it out in our financial statements. And as we all painfully know, travel mostly went away (even as we weren’t able to go anywhere!).
With the vaccine probably being widely available (and utilized) sometime this summer, we expect the travel sector to rebound for iConsumer. Do remember, if you’ve begun to make plans, to use iConsumer to book those trips.
We don’t think Amazon will go anywhere this year, but Amazon being Amazon, you never know. We don’t get any special treatment from them. We send them customers, they send us money, and that money helps to make us more valuable. I don’t expect that we’ll get member level tracking from them this year. Which means that we will still be reminding everybody that if they use Amazon (and who doesn’t?), remember to use our special link so that we make money.
68,000 And Growing
Some minutes after I publish this, iConsumer will be over 68,000 members and prospective shareholders big. That’s some accomplishment, but we need to get to be much bigger to deserve being a $4 stock. We’ll get there because those 68,000 people are interested in the future, are interested in learning what it means to be a shareholder in a publicly traded startup, and are interested in making money.