Growing to £180,000 sales in year 1 with Martin Thornalley from Red Rock Games (episode 349)

Martin Thornalley is the founder of Red Rock Games, a retailer of board and card games founded in October 2020. Nearly 12 months in, they are anticipating sales of £180k in this first year.

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About Martin

Martin got to a point in his career where he was looking for a new challenge, and the idea of having his own eCommerce business came from a conversation with his partner.

Combining his love for board and card games with the thought of being his own boss, Martin founded Red Rock Games and since day 1, has been hard at work to reach his target revenue.

About Red Rock Games

  • Based in the town of Dawlish, Devon in the UK
  • Currently selling to the UK only, but with plans to also serve the rest of Europe in the future
  • Runs their own website via WordPress and WooCommerce
  • Can also be found on eBay and Amazon
  • Sells other people’s products with no intention to develop their own games for now

The Team

The business is run by Martin himself with his partner Donna doing finance and bookkeeping.

Design work, some IT tasks, and email and content marketing have been outsourced to freelancers, while an agency has been brought on to do their digital marketing.

Not A Side Hustle

While most people who get into eCommerce start off by retaining their day jobs, Martin decided to go full time with Red Rock Games from the beginning, knowing that he works better by focusing on just one thing.

He also looked at the figures for his sales forecast and knew that to reach his target, he had to be working on the business solely and not splitting his time.

He also felt that he wasn’t taking too much of a risk because going back to employment wouldn’t pose a problem if he needed to, with his IT skills being in demand at the moment. 

Time And Money Constraints

For Martin, time is the most constrained resource and he has to prioritize well in order to make things work and run smoothly, especially since the business is just in its first year and there is a lot that needs to be done.

Even outsourcing tasks was a way for Martin to use his time well. Having people to do specific things for the business has allowed him to devote more time and attention to making the business profitable, and to do the things he enjoys the most.

Secondary to time, money is another resource he has to manage well, being a start-up business. While he has capital he can spend, he is trying to limit the expenses as much as possible.

Having A Wide Range Of Products

Growing the product range has been and continues to be Martin’s number one priority.

Looking at the data, there’s a correlation between the wide variety of products they have and the sales they are getting.

With this information they have, they’re trying to offer their customers the latest games as well as the classic ones to ensure that anyone who visits their website finds something that will appeal to their interest.

An Advice For Start-ups

Martin says make use of marketplaces.

Although it wasn’t part of his original business plan, Martin got into marketplaces and reports that eBay and Amazon account for 50% of Red Rock Games’ revenue.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Google Shopping Ads is Red Rock Games’ main traffic source and for Martin, is also the easiest way to get your products in Google.

Tool Top Tip

  • Adobe Spark for lightweight graphic design that includes collaboration features.

Growth Top Tip

  • Consider selling on marketplaces, and also use a tool to help you synchronize your inventory if you’re selling on multiple channels.

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