Tag Archives: business plan

Creative Business Plan: #2. Where can people find my product?

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See my first post about writing a business plan for your creative business. My article about question #1, Why do I want to sell my product? can be found here. Time to move on to question #2!

#2. Where can people find my product?

This question is really two-fold. Notice it’s not “where will I sell my stuff” but “where can people FIND my stuff”. It gets you to think about not just where you will literally sell your products, but where you will promote them and your brand as well.

Where will I sell my products?

There are so many places to sell your creative goods, both online and offline. When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to test the waters in just one or two selling arenas so you can fully devote your energy to them. It takes time, energy, and patience to set up shop in each venue and determine if that venue is the right fit for your business.

For business plan purposes, feel free to list all the possible selling options you’d like to explore given the time, energy, and funds to expand. You can have some short-term “now” sales venues to focus on and master, and several “later” possibilities to explore down the road.

Just a few ideas of where to offer your products for sale…Etsy, Artfire, Ebay, your own website, local retail shops, craft fairs…the list is endless. Be adaptable and open-minded. And don’t be afraid to dream big or go “off-road”. When I began Lazy Owl Boutique, my only goal was to set up a successful shop on Etsy. By the end of the year, I thought I’d give a few local craft fairs a shot. A year later, I began selling in a local retail shop. It was never my goal or idea to take my business “offline”, but it just naturally evolved that way and I’m loving it. You’ll be surprised where this crafty path might lead you!

Where will I promote my brand and business?

The second interpretation of this question relates to where you will market your product. Where can people hear about your business and discover your product or brand? Where can you tell your story? Just like sales venues, there are countless options for marketing your creative business, both online and offline. These days online promotion isn’t just about Facebook and a blog.  There’s also Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Wanelo, Tumblr, and many other possibilities. Pick a handful of outlets that you already feel comfortable with and fully immerse yourself into making them work for you. Don’t forget to think about any goals for offline promotion. Maybe you are interested in participating in local crafty meetups or writing articles for a craft magazine. Where you market  yourself is also determined by where you can find your target customer, another business plan “bullet point” that we’ll discuss in a later article.

Again, you can have  “now” and “later” columns for your promotional venues as well. Since your business plan is something you’ll keep on hand as your business grows and evolves, it’s also nice to refer to for new ideas and inspiration in the future. Once you’ve mastered one venue (or figured out it isn’t a good fit for you), you can look at your business plan and get ideas for the next tool you want to tackle. This bullet point will also serve as the foundation of your future marketing plan.

free business plan papersfree business plan stuff

Click here to download the two page pdf worksheet for question #2, Where can people find my product?

While thinking about both your selling and marketing venues, play to your strengths. Here are some examples:

  • Are you great at chatting up strangers and closing a sale? Maybe craft shows are the best fit for you.
  • Do you feel more comfortable behind a computer and take great photographs? Sounds like online selling via Etsy would work best.
  • Are you a great writer? Make writing an article for a craft magazine one of your goals.
  • Do you have a lot of connections in the local community? Selling in a local storefront or teaching crafting classes might be good options for you to network your business.

You only have so much time in each day to dedicate to your business. Focusing on your strengths and planning your business accordingly ensures that you are efficiently setting yourself up for success and using your precious time wisely.

That being said, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and try something new! Challenging yourself as a business owner stretches you as an artist as well. I myself am an extreme introvert (surprise!). Selling at craft shows was not something I was comfortable doing at first (and I still consider myself a terrible saleswoman!), but stepping away from the computer and talking firsthand with my customers gave me the chance to see how people interact with my jewelry. That’s a very beneficial experience I can’t really get from selling only online. It’s important to step outside of your comfort zone every now and then to grow your business.

Question #2 encourages you to think about your goals for online and offline sales and promotion, whether for now or for in the future. Brainstorm all the possible ways people can hear about you and your shop, then decide what makes the most sense for you and include that in your business plan!

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Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. Feel free to click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.

crafting a business plan

Creative Business Plan: #1. Why do I want to sell my product?

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See my first post about writing a business plan for your creative business.

The first question of our creative business plan, and thus the most important, is:

#1. Why do I want to sell my products?

You love to create. You love what you make. You love spending a Sunday afternoon leisurely browsing your local craft supply shop (guilty!). But what made you decide to go from making your creations for Christmas gifts to selling online to the world?

There are many possible reasons you may have decided to take your craft from a hobby to a business. Maybe one of these applies to you:

  • You want to finance your craft supply addiction
  • You want a side business to make some extra cash
  • You have so many thingamajigs lying around you need to get them out of the house
  • You want a creative outlet; any income is just a bonus
  • You are a stay-at-home parent and you want to generate some cash whilst working from home
  • You want to make a full-time income from your craft business
  • You want to be your own boss and make your own schedule

Knowing the “why” behind your business is important because it highlights your priorities. What’s your end goal? Money? Artistic expression? Freedom from cubical nation? Being able to make your own schedule? Whatever concept or goal that is driving you to start your business will determine how you should run your business. If your top motivator is money, you should operate your business differently than if your top motivator is creative expression.

inspirational quote for entrepreneurTake some time to think about why you decided to start your business (or want to start one), and write this down as the beginning of your business plan. Keep this with you for when the road gets rough. It’s important to have a reminder of why you were inspired to begin this journey and your end goal or dream.

You can download and print the worksheet below for helpful prompts on answering question 1 of your creative business plan. Your business plan will start with a “big picture” view of the inspiration and motivation behind your craft before we zoom in and hammer out the details. We start with the “ideal” and figure out how to make the ideal into real!

drafting a business plan

Click here to download a pdf of this worksheet!

Now is a great time to begin a folder or a binder with your business plan materials. You can use Lazy Owl’s downloadable and printable guides, but feel free to add pictures, sketches, magazine tear-outs, notes, and any other inspirational mementos that you want to include as part of your creative business plan.

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Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. Feel free to click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.

crafting a business plan

Your Business Plan: An Introduction

crafting a business 101Business plan, schmisness plan. Who needs a business plan? You do!

Regardless of if your Etsy shop (or other online creative biz) is a creative outlet, a hobby, a part-time business on the side, or your full-fledged day job, you need a business plan.  A business plan can help you hone in on what your shop represents, who your target market is, and what you want to get out of your business.  Working on a simple business plan helps you both think seriously about your business and take it seriously.  Your business has a higher chance of success if you have a business plan.

Spending some time thinking about your business and goals should be fun, not a challenge.  Make your business work for you!  Don’t be afraid; you can create a business plan that’s as informal or formal as you want.

I have degrees in both accounting and mass communication; that’s a lot of left brain and a lot of right brain.  When creating my handmade jewelry shop on Etsy, Lazy Owl Boutique, I developed a business plan that worked best for me.  It’s dynamic and simple.  I need something that will make me think about the important stuff but not work too hard.  Questions that I enjoy answering and thinking about. Based on the “5 W’s of Journalism”, my business plan has 6 W’s and 2 H’s. I’m sharing it here today in hopes that answering these questions will encourage you to get serious when starting your business.

These questions will help you get to know your products, your brand, and your purpose.  You might be surprised at where the answers will lead you!

business plan information

click the pic to download the printable pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above questions serve as a guide to get your business wheels turning. Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. This series of articles will include free downloadable and printable worksheets that you can fill out and keep in a binder as your very own business plan!

In the meantime, feel free to click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.

crafting a business plan