Moving forward can be glacially slow at times, not so much different from recovering from injury. At one point or another I seem to get caught up with what isn't happening more than what has already happened in the process.
Zippy has come to a cross roads. Our product is great, acceptance is in the high 90% range, we have sales and repeat sales, and it seems as if we are making progress in building the brand and reaching some of the millions of people who can certainly use Zippy to their benefit. So, what is the problem with success?
Success has shown us that there is an issue with the size and shape of many golf balls that directly affects our future. Although the PGA requires that compliant balls are no smaller than 1.680 inches in diameter, there is no upper limit to the size and no rules regarding out of round balls. With the combination of these two elements in play we found that some balls will not rotate freely within the housing once the two parts of the device are welded together. So we started sorting each ball, using a fixture to catch oversized/out-of-round pieces before the logo imprint is applied. This process gives us a perfect finished product but has introduced a huge barrier to moving forward into large quantity production because we are only able to use about 20% of the balls we sort.
What this means, is, that it takes sorting 5000 balls to get 1000 in spec for production. The sorting takes hours and multiple trips to the supplier and may require a week or more to get enough balls for the next production run. Fortunately the supplier only charges us for the balls we can use, but the process is unsustainable, especially if we should get a large order of 5-10k devices. So what do we do?
While we are contacting golf ball manufacturers for spec balls, that route appears to be a non-starter. Golf ball manufacturers are not set up to provide golf balls for purposes other than golf. There appears to be only one additional avenue if we move forward.
Changes to the shell, in the range of + .03 inches between the two inner bearing surfaces, show promise of reversing the sort ratio from 20/100 to 80/100 to give us four times the usable product. This change could be the difference between the continuation of Zippy and being unable to grow/continue.
I am glad we have come this far. The changes we can make to stay viable are relatively minor, costs to change the fixtures shouldn't be too great. However, we are uncertain how much more debt to take on to make the changes given our current rate of sales to reach that point. Like, I said, we are at a crossroads, moving forward as we can, acutely aware of our fragility at this moment, wondering where it all goes from here.
Love to all.