After Thanksgiving is past, it’s like flipping a switch. Every ad and countless small town lightpoles seem to feature a certain “jolly old elf.” His plump rosy cheeks will be seen everywhere leading up to the big night late this month. He’s the longtime CEO of a huge multinational operation, but it’s hard to see how Santa’s business plan would ever pass an investor review.
The cost side of ledger is huge. The workshop has to be the largest in the world. Take FoxConn’s plant in China – that’s about 300,000 workers. Santa’s output is much larger, but then elves are famously productive – so say 300,000 elves. That’s a big milk and cookies bill. Delivery costs are low – kibble for eight reindeer, plus Rudolph, and sleigh maintenance. And fuel is free – crowd-sourced spirit – but what about feedstock and parts delivery for all those toys?
Orders come in via mail and through Santa’s custom laptop network, so no call center expenses – but the list double-checking operation has to be enormous. Quality assurance is expensive for any major enterprise.
On the income side there are personal appearance fees. Santa works an event schedule that would put the Kardashians to shame. He seems to be on every corner. Santa branded gear – there has to be a cut in that for the toy magnate, too. Residuals and royalties from all the TV shows, movies, cartoons, and songs, etc. That must add up. And milk and cookie donations are substantial, but probably not sufficient to the need.
Even a quick glance at the balance sheet has to show a big year-to-year deficit. Santa, Inc. is a little old school, despite its big jumpstart on Amazon in the home delivery market. But Santa’s showing in social media is kind of weak – only 81,000 followers on Twitter and 300,000 on Facebook. He’ll never catch up with Lady Gaga without a stronger targeted marketing campaign. Nothing on GoFundMe, either; that’s a missed opportunity. Without a strong financial advisory team, it will take magic for him to compete successfully in the 21st century economy.