You have finally found your niche, the type of jewelry you are comfortable making, and have made several pieces. At this point you have rattled around the idea of selling your work to friends and family, perhaps joining the local farmers market, and even at this point considered setting up a small shop on EBAY. I remember being at that point to, and so glad I gradually expanded over a years time. Many people skip over the small but very important stuff, and often times regret not taking the time to thoroughly think out their business plan. There are key things you want to consider before selling, and trust me not forgetting the small stuff will save you headache down the road.
Creating a business plan is important way to get a clear structure of your business, all the store policies, philosophies, pricing, marketing, etc. It’s important that you understand your business better then anyone else, and that none of your customers have to second guess any of your policies or your company’s visions. How do you start writing a business plan? I would think of your business on a broad term, and once you write your business plan out derive your policies and marketing from the plan.
1. Quick Company Overview. My suggestion for this topic is to figure out your company overview in less then 100 words while addressing what your company is all about. Try addressing these three w’s: who, what, and why. What are you selling, who are you selling to, and why are you selling. What are your goals and objectives? Eventually you will take this overview and change it into your philosophy – the inspiration and drive behind how your company came to be.
2. Market Overview. The last article I wrote about marketing really covers this portion well. It is wise to know the industry you are selling in, and covering your strategies here. Research the latest trends. What colors are in style? What designs are obsolete? Who are your competition? Selling locally, what is the market like in the craft fairs? Considering selling on-line, who do you need to worry about? What are the current on-line trends? I would take a long time researching the In’s and out’s of the industry and really know the market well. It will further your success done the road.
3. Company Details. At this point this is where you need to decide all the small details. Consider everything you want from your business. Are you planning on working solo? Selling online? Are you going to create a line of charity jewelry? What are your policies? What kind of materials are you using? What sets you apart from the competition? Include eveyrthing you can aboiut the operations behind your business from creating, to ordering, to selling. If you choose to sell online it will help out tremendously when setting up your return policies, custom order policies, and terms and conditions of repairs.
4. Action Plan.At this point it’s time to determine how you are going to take your plan and turn it in motion. What steps are you going to take to make your vision into a reality? At this point I would address your company goals and objectives. Example: ABC Beads is going to be on-line by December of 2008. To ensure on-line by December will research domain names, higher a photographer, find a processor, enroll in paypal….etc. Make your dreams real. With a though out written action plan it will make every step of the way alot easier if you tried to achieve this by vision alone.
5. A Quick Summary. If you are planning on giving this action plan to someone else, for funding purposes or to show you work in a gallery, this portion will need to be included first in your business plan. Read over your plan and summarize it in this section that way someone considering selling your work or is interested in your work can get the nutshell of your company in a quick overview.
Having a strong business plan can help you become a successful artist by providing direction, goals, and confidence to keep you on track. There is nothing more frustrating then finding you have a gap in your company’s structure, or that you can’t meet a goal because you forgot a few steps. Have fun while making your business plan! It is your ompany you are creating, and a very rewarding feeling it can be when it’s done.
Artciles to Come:
Article One: Why Sell Jewelry, Part III
Finally able to sell at a craft fair? How do you get yourself prepared for a successful show?
Article Two: Customer Service, The Importance of Happy Customers