September 2007

Ask Beau - "How has business been?"

Posted by admin in 2007, Ask Beau, Newsletter, September

I received a nice email from a person who was my second customer when I opened the doors to True Sake so many years ago! Ryan R from San Francisco wrote:

"I will be honest, I never thought that I would see your store open year after year and smile to myself whenever I walk by. You took a huge risk and it looks like it is paying off. Is it paying off? How is business in the sake world?"

Beau Timken

Well R-san thank you for the thoughts and the good question. On August 7th True Sake celebrated its 4 anniversary and we are now into year five. This holiday season will be our 5th Christmas of operations and for many this is a miracle. We hear it all the time - "I can't believe that you're still in business?" "Wow 5 years has it been that long" "Most businesses fail in the second year" "The fad's not over heh?" and my favorite "You're still here?" said in a cold voice of disbelief.

On Thursday August 7th 2003 the store had to open to satisfy our liquor license requirements. (It took me over a year to open the store because - well you know - trying to do business in SF is a nightmare. That is why I say that True Sake was established in 2002.) I had a total of 3 sales! Total sales for that day were $108.50. Some of my notes in my accounting tablet were priceless, and please remember I had never done retail before but how does this sound. "1st Customer - I panicked and undercharged by $2.01!" "2nd Customer - I panicked again and made him pay me only $20 as a friend and lost out on $6.04! The prices were not set at the time of purchase and I was winging it"! So I botched 2 out of the 3 first sales on that day. And incredibly I am still in business!

Friday the 8th saw an increase to a whopping 9 sales then 6 on Saturday and that was followed by a measly 2 sales on Sunday. From then on sales picked up and up and up! The store record is well over 100 transactions for a single day.

Let's just say that business is indeed good. And I firmly believe that it will only get better. The problem is - and I have said this all along - me! Despite having a Master's Degree in Business I am pretty darn poor in business skills! And tag that along with some personal setbacks it is no wonder that I have not realized my goal of dropping a True Sake shop in most major markets. So if you know that "business group" looking to back a guy who "panics" on his first two sales give them my number!

Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All correspondence should use info @

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