Sunday, January 4, 2009

P.P's "No Freak Approach" to 'Crafting For Profit': Stage 1 - The BUSINESS PLAN

Getting your Creative Business off the ground isn't all that intuitive. I am starting off this year by writing a series of posts with information that has helped me - and continues to help me - navigate through this adventure of selling my handmade wares. I, by no means, have all the answers, or consider myself an expert, but I do spend a great deal of time making sure that I run and cultivate my business in a well-thought out way. PLEASE feel free to comment with more information and links to resources.
There is such an apparent divide between artists/craftsters who sell their goods and treat it as a true business versus those who consider themselves as 'dabblers' who sell for a little "mad money" or a way to pay for supplies.
I don't think that you know from the moment you make your first (or even twentieth) handmade creation, that you may be onto something that could be bigger than what it is right at this very moment. But, creating a business plan will help you decide if you want to walk down that road.

The process of creating a business plan forces you to think through all of the vital aspects of running a business - no matter how big or small - and helps you decide how you are going to approach them. It lays out your vision for the business and helps you set goals and how to achieve them. One of the greatest perks of creating a business plan is that you can use it to help evaluate your progress.

I created a business plan for my handmade business over a year ago. So much has changed as far as what my goals are now, where I sell and why, where I market - my very thought process, but my business plan is still somewhat relevant - AND, because the thing is not set and stone and should be used as a guide, it must be reviewed and updated periodically. Without it, I know I would have floundered, or gone off track as far as what my goals are long ago.

So, what all goes into a business plan? Basically, it's:
  • Description of the business
  • Marketing
  • Finances
  • Management
The Small Business Association has a great tool for guiding you through writing a plan. Microsoft Word also has a business plan template that you can download right here or go into your Word program, create a new document and choose "Plans" for a list of templates. You don't have to answer every question or fill in every blank - there are a lot of parts that won't be relevant to your business.

It may seem a bit daunting to begin with - but take it easy. Set aside designated quiet time to work on it so that you can really think about what you're writing. This is the first step to really driving into your brain that you are no longer a glorified hobbyist, you're a full-on, small business owner!

Next post: The No Freak Approach to 'Crafting for Profit': Stage 2: Getting off the Ground

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