Tag Archives: business plan

Coming Soon! Your Creative Business Plan e-course & workbook

Exciting news! Lazy Owl will soon be releasing our very first Crafting a Business 101 e-book and e-course, Creating a Business Plan. The e-book will be a thorough expansion of our popular Business Plan blog series, with lots more printable worksheets and valuable content added. It’ll also include some inspirational info and links to other resources and goodies. Since this will be the first release of our first e-course ever, for a limited time, we’ll be offering it for a very special rate to our email subscribers. Enter your email address below to be added to our subscription list, and be the very first to know as soon as the Creating a Business Plan e-book is released (and get it for a very special low price)!

crafting a creative business plan lazy owl boutique

coming soon!

We’re offering so much more than just a simple, boring, static business plan! Completing our e-course will help you…

  • Hone in on why you became a creative entrepreneur in the first place, and inspire you to keep on trucking through any bumps in the road
  • Research and define your ideal customer and your target audience
  • Determine the best outlets to both sell and promote your creative business
  • Spend your marketing time more effectively
  • Craft the best message and language to sell and market your products across all platforms
  • Stand out from your competition
  • Build a solid foundation for your creative business
  • Create a simple, usable business plan that you can use and get inspiration from both now and as your business grows

Our Crafting a Business Plan e-course and workbook will include:

  • An in-depth guide on how to create a usable and effective business plan for your creative business, whether you’re new to being an entrepreneur or just want to re-tool your current plan (or lack thereof!)
  • Printable worksheets and prompts for each step of your new business plan
  • Over 50+ pages of helpful content, printable worksheets, inspirational quotes, and other resources

As they say, those that don’t plan, plan to fail. A solid business plan is essential to succeeding in today’s competitive handmade industry. Enter your email address below to receive our newsletter and learn more about our upcoming e-course!

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UPDATE: It’s here! Check out the link by clicking on this banner:

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Planning for Positivity in 2014

crafting a business 101

Last time we discussed what we’ve accomplished in 2013. Maybe you even took the time to print out the free printable to note down all the great things you’ve done last year. If not, think about it! Before moving forward, it’s important to reflect on what your goals were in the past, what you checked off the list, and where you fell short. At least for me, it gives me a much needed kick in the pants to jump start my goal planning for the next year.

printable planner by VintPrintShop on Etsy

printable planner by VintPrintShop on Etsy

Thus, it’s time to think about 2014 (yes, I know 2014 started like…a month ago…I guess my kick in the pants wasn’t quite hard enough!). Putting your goals for the year in writing holds you accountable. It’s hard for me to remember whether I successfully met my goals if I can’t even remember them in a few months!

To get the juices flowing, here are some pointers to think about regarding your creative business’ goals:

  • Start with your business’ finances – When we think about business goals, the first thing most of our minds go to is probably the dollar signs. It’s easiest to start b examining the dollar signs from last year and making goals related to your business’ finances, and most likely and specifically, your sales. Think about how much money you’d like to make with your small business in 2014 and go from there (but make it realistic yall!). That being said, don’t forget your expenses. The sales side is important, but if you spend a boatload on supplies, shipping stuff, or advertising, then all that cash outflow is going to negate your cash inflow. Think about how you will control expenses this year, and plan accordingly. Think you can reduce shipping expenses by buying mailers in bulk twice a year instead of running to the post office every week?
  • Next, look at your non-financial numbers  – Facebook fans, repeat customers, Instagram followers, Etsy shop stats, whatever applies to you. How can you boost these numbers?
  • Come up with action items for all these numeric goals. If your plan is to increase revenue, what will you do to increase those sales dollars? Will you advertise in a new venue? Will you offer a new line of products? Create gift sets at a higher price point? If your goal is to encourage repeat customers, how will you entice them? Offer coupon codes with a purchase? Send a personalized note or free gift? Explore all your options. The more doable actionable items you can think of for each goal, the higher your chance of accomplishing it. As I said last year, don’t set yourself up for failure. Examine what you achieved in 2013 and be realistic about 2014. What were your sales, expenses, and profit like last year?  If you plan on tripling revenue this year, you best have a plan to get there! You can’t just make it a goal to triple your sales, your revenue, or your facebook fans (that’s called wishing, not planning) without thinking about how. If those are your goals, come up with some concrete, doable action items that will help you get there.
  • Again, your goals should be specific and measurable. Don’t just say “I want to increase sales”. Come up with an actual benchmark dollar amount (like “I want to make $5000 in sales.” or “I want to average $2000 in sales per month.”). Giving yourself specific benchmarks will increase your motivation to reach them. Plus, they make it easier to measure whether or not you were successful.
  • Don’t forget about business-related goals that might not be apparent right away just because they aren’t related to sales or numbers. Do you need to simplify or get organized? Keep better records? Do you want to acquire a new skill, like take better product photos, learn Photoshop, or write blog articles? For example, my business goals will include sorting through and re-organizing all my jewelry-making supplies and cleaning up my inventory tracking spreadsheets. I also want to get better at continuously and consistently listing new items in my Etsy shop. Meeting these goals will make my life easier and my business more organized, and thus will indirectly improve my sales and boost my business!

Here’s a basic four-page worksheet to record your 2014 goals. Feel free to print and include in your creative business binder. There’s a space at the top to include your business name. I split the worksheet into four categories of business goals, and each table has space for you to write your specific goal, how you will measure your success, the goal’s deadline, and any action items you can do to achieve it. Click here- 2014 Goals Worksheet – My Creative Business or on the pictures to download the free 4-page printable.

business goals planning worksheet  2014 review3

2014 review2

2014 review4Your goals should be very specific to your business needs, but to get the wheels turning, here are some examples of goals (repasting from last year):

Sales goals:

  • Increase sales revenue
  • Increase number of sales
  • Increase sales on particular venues (Etsy, shopify, own website, offline, craft show, local, etc.)
  • Increase average revenue per order
  • Increase orders of multiple items
  • Begin selling in X amount of boutiques or shops
  • Participate in X number of craft shows
  • Financial goals:
    • Increase profit (net income = sales revenue less expenses)
    • Decrease expenses
    • Keep better inventory records
    • Consistently track expenses, sales, inventory, supplies, etc.
    • Improve records for tax purposes
    • Improve pricing formula
    • Boost profit margin
  • Marketing goals:
    • Increase facebook fans or twitter followers
    • Increase Etsy views, hearts, etc.
    • Increase blog/website/e-newsletter subscribers or views
    • Increase number of blog posts/facebook posts/tweets each week or month
    • Develop your own website/blog/e-newsletter/direct mailing list
    • Make the frontpage of Etsy X times
    • Get published in a print or e-magainze
    • Guest post on other blogs
    • Participate more in Etsy teams or other forums
    • Make X amount of Etsy treasuries
    • Get featured on a specific relevant website
    • Leave business materials in X amount of local businesses
  • Other Business Goals:
    • List X amount of new items on Etsy each week/month
    • Develop X amount of new product lines this year
    • Revamp your logo, brand, website, shop, etc.
    • Redesign or develop your business cards, custom catalog, etc.
    • Learn more about specific business topics, like SEO, HTML, product photography, bookkeeping, etc.
    • Complete your creative business plan.

Write your goals down and keep them in a visible place. Throughout the year, you should take time once a month or once a quarter to review your goals, determine your progress, and adjust as needed. Seeing your goals will give you the kick in the pants you might need every now and then to get back on track.

What are some of your goals for your creative business in 2014?


Crafting a Business 101: Marketing Magic

marketing for small businessesSince it’s the beginning of the year, we’re rolling out all our newest series for Crafting a Business 101. Last week we debuted Creative Accounting, and today we’re revealing Marketing Magic!

The term “marketing” might seem very specific or conversely very vague to you. Or maybe you think that if you have no marketing background you can’t do it. To me, marketing involves all the many ways a potential customer can find out about your business. In the most obvious sense, marketing is advertising, but if you look at marketing like I do, then marketing relates to all the following:

  • Advertising (duh, I already said that)
  • Social media and networking (twitter, facebook, Etsy forums, teams, etc.)
  • Blogging
  • Printed materials
  • Your brand and your logo
  • The look and feel of your shop/website
  • Product photography
  • Listing tags, titles, and descriptions
  • SEO
  • Offline word-of-mouth
  • Customer service
  • Defining your target audience
  • Utilizing key stats to your advantage

Some of these things might not immediately fall under the marketing umbrella in your opinion. I like to look at it this way – if I’m working on bettering the appearance or appeal of my products, brand, or logo; improving my tags, SEO rankings, or product photos; spreading the word about my business via whatever method; or even just researching and learning about ways to increase my business efficiencies or better connect to my target customer, then I am marketing. It’s anything that either a) let’s someone find out my business or product exists, or b) encourages a potential or existing customer to make a purchase. That’s what marketing means to me!

If you haven’t already, take some time to look over the Creating a Business Plan series from last year. Several components of the creative business plan relate to marketing your business, including #2, Where can people find my product?, #4, Who will buy my product?, #7, How do I differentiate my product from the competition?, and #8, How do I successfully reach my target customer?

Through this series, we’ll discuss all the many ways you can make marketing magic for your business. As a creative small business owner, you’re probably working on a small (or non-existent) marketing budget. Luckily for us, we work in an age where there are hundreds of free marketing opportunities at our fingertips! So get excited because it’s time to improve your marketing!

What marketing tactics do you swear by? What marketing concepts do you think I left off the list above?


Inspiration Station: Your Ideal Work Day

Remember that post about planning out our goals for 2013? Well, we need to get some specific, measurable goals laid out. Just like with the creative business plan, I like to start thinking about things from a big picture point of view, then slowly zoom in to the nitty gritty details.

Before I come up with my specific 2013 goals, I’m going to brainstorm what my ideal work day looks like. Then I can work backwards to see what exactly I need to accomplish with my business to be able to have that “ideal work day” every work day! Make sense?

So here we ago, my ideal work day for Lazy Owl:

  • 8:30 – 9:30 – Wake up, have morning coffee and (healthy) breakfast whilst reading daily blogroll, taking notes on any business ideas or inspiration that interests me. Commenting on my favorite blogs and doing some social networking!
  • 9:30 –  11:00 – Fill and package outstanding Etsy orders. Respond to customer emails and questions. Work on updating inventory and sales records. Evaluate supply and inventory levels. Re-order supplies if necessary. Do other Etsy admin tasks as needed.
  • 11:00 – 1:30 – Run to post office, run other errands. Take the dogs for a walk. Have lunch. Take a break or go to the gym (hey, I said ideal day right).
  • 1:30 – 4:00 – Work on website & blog. Draft and post new article(s). Brainstorm new topics and series ideas. Social media marketing and networking.
  • 4:00 – 5:30 – Photograph new Etsy listings, list online.
  • 5:30 – 9:00 – Break time! Do household chores, eat dinner, spend time with husband, etc.
  • 9:00 – 10:30 – Crafting time! Work on new jewelry items or whatever else I’m crafting up.
  • Bedtime at midnight.

Ok, so it was actually quite weird for me to write all that out on an hour-by-hour basis. It made me feel like there’s so much time in a day, but in reality I am always scrambling to fit all these things in. I don’t know if that schedule is actually livable for me, but my goal is that during my ideal day I would love to be able to squeeze in:

  • Time to research what’s going on in the blogosphere, on Etsy, and with other Etsy businesses (this is my biggest problem, I find content I want to delve into, open it in a new Firefox tab, but then end up with 60 open tabs that I never seem to have time to go back and truly read)
  • Write for the blog
  • Generate meaningful content for my website, market and connect with other businesses and potential customers, promote Lazy Owl to my target audience
  • Create new products, photograph and list them
  • Take time for myself and for my family – be outside, exercise, be healthy, have some fun!
  • Run errands and do household chores without falling behind
  • Support local businesses and connect with my local community

Realistically, I can probably not do all of these things in one day. But now I know what I would like to do with my time, and what is most important to me. That is half the battle. I can make goals to get closer to be able to have this ideal day now!

What does your ideal work day look like? Download the above worksheet for helping you plan out your ideal work day.


Creative Business Plan: #8. How Do I Successfully Reach My Target Customers?

crafting a business 101 starting your own business guide




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. So far, we’ve covered:

#8. How Do I Successfully Reach My Target Customers?

Sound the trumpets and ring the bells, because we’ve finally made it to the 8th and final question of our creative business plan! Question #8 is really a capstone question, summarizing all the details, data, ideas, and thoughts we’ve poured into answering the previous questions into one big important blob of goodness.

We’ve narrowed down our business’ vision from vague and broad to a honed and detailed plan of action. We’ve researched our product, our possible sales venues, marketing approaches, our competition, the market, and our target customer. We now know everything about anything to do with our product! If you’re beginning your creative business, it’s time to take the first step in the right direction. If you’ve been around for a while, it’s time to re-harness your creative forces and align your business with your new amazing business plan!

starting a creative business

We now know where we need to spend most of our precious time marketing, promoting, and selling our products based on our defined target customer. We know the best sales pitch for our product based on what are target customer is looking for, and what emotions or values to appeal to when describing our items. Together, these answers lead us to the answer for question #8, how to successfully reach your target customer.

You can reach your target customers by promoting in the right places, by reaching out on Facebook and via blogs, and also by taking steps to ensure that your products are being found in searches.  If someone out there is searching for an item like yours but can’t find it with the keywords they’re using, then you are missing out on an opportunity to make a sale.  Include in your plan the efforts you will make to increase your SEO and keyword relevancy.  How do you plan to research keyword optimization?  How often will you tweak and update your tags and listings?  How will you measure your success in this area?

This leads to an important more general question – how will you measure your success PERIOD? How do you know if the answers to your creative business plan questions were “right” to begin with? What if you were totally off-base with the demographic you defined as your target customer? What if the sales venue you thought was going to mesh awesome with your products ended up as a total flop? It’s important to set up some standards for success measurement in advance. Give yourself a timeline for trying out your new action plan that includes periodically stopping to measure for effectiveness and results. (We’ll talk about measuring success and how to effectively interpret and use key metrics in a later series of articles here!)

And if things don’t look like they’re working, don’t worry! This business plan is flexible. It’s a learning experience. The more you work at your business, the more you’ll learn about yourself, your products, your goals, your competition, your customers…the list goes on and on. You can always change your answers and your plan as you go along.

After you’ve completed all eight pieces of your creative business plan, consult your plan every few months for a refresher.  As mentioned above, you might find that as your business evolves, your answers change.  You may also need a little reminder of your initial purpose for creating this new venture.  A review every now and then can help get you back on track when challenges arise. It can also breathe new life into your venture and provide new ideas and inspiration.

We are so thankful you joined us for our first Crafting a Business 101 series, crafting your own Creative Business Plan! We’d love any feedback, questions, suggestions, or comments you might have about this series. We hope you found this information helpful!


Click here to download a pdf of the business plan questions.

crafting a business plan

Creative Business Plan: #7. How do I distinguish my products from the competition?

crafting a business 101 how to create a business plan




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. So far, we’ve covered:

#7. How do I distinguish my brand and my products from the competition?

This one is a biggie. We know all about your brand, your business, your products, and your target customer now. Let’s shift our focus a bit and zoom out to view the entire market.

Competitors come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s say you’re like me and you sell jewelry. I have a long list of competing businesses. There are big box stores like Target and Macy’s that also sell jewelry. There are smaller, local retailers with physical locations that offer jewelry, not to mention craft fairs and pop-up shops. There are tons and tons of Etsy shops and other online retailers as well. The list goes on and on. Take some time to brainstorm your main competitors. For me, I believe my biggest competitors are other Etsy shops that sell jewelry. How do I set myself apart from all these competing jewelry sellers?

Unless you are really lucky and really a genius, you are probably not the only business out there selling your type of product. Even if your handmade product isn’t really unique, you don’t necessarily have a problem. You just need to brainstorm a couple of things –

  • What makes your product, shop, brand, customer experience, and “story” different from everyone else?
  • How can you get your target customers to find YOU first?

The first question has a lot to do with your marketing plan. You may not be the only person out there selling your widget, but we can build a brand and a story around your product to make it unique in the eyes of a buyer. Here are just a few ideas for some of the concepts you can focus on to make yourself stand out as different:

making your product unique branding

These are just a few ways to set your business/brand/product/customer experience apart from the competition. Feel free to brainstorm ideas (you can use the worksheet below) and figure out what works best for you!

A quick example of just a piece of this process with my own shop, Lazy Owl Boutique… Something that sets me apart is that I am both a Certified Public Accountant and a jewelry designer, two things that seem pretty different. Most designers on Etsy are probably not also CPAs. I can tell the story of my journey from the cube to the craft studio in my Etsy profile and my About Me page to connect with my potential customer and make myself a little bit more memorable. The handcrafted marketplace is unique in the sense that a customer has the opportunity to connect with and learn about the artist that actually designed and created what they are buying. Take advantage of that!

To further my brand’s uniqueness, I ship all my jewelry in decorated packaging that is immediately ready to be gifted if needed. My product descriptions focus on my use of titanium ear posts for those with sensitive ears, a niche to which I’m currently marketing.  I aim to use consistent, cohesive language and imaging in both my Etsy shop, my website, and my individual product listings. I also strive to respond to customer inquiries as soon as I possibly can. These are just a few ways that I try to get the Lazy Owl brand to stand apart in the over-saturated jewelry market.

Your next goal should be to do everything you can to make sure your target customer finds your products before they find the competition’s. Yes, a lot of buyers will shop around several venues or shops before making a purchase, but it’s still important to try to get your stuff in front of their eyes first to make that lasting impression. This concept dives into the realm of SEO, tagging, relevancy searches, and a whole other field of business and marketing that we’ll save for another day. It also relates back to the best places to market and sell your products, which we’ve discussed with past Crafting a Business plan questions.

We’re almost there! Just one more capstone question left, and you’ll have successfully completed your very own creative business plan for your handcrafted business!


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: #6. Why should someone use my product?

business plan for entrepreneurs




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. So far, we’ve covered:

#6. Why should someone use my product?

So, we’ve covered all the basic 5 W’s of journalism – who, what, when, where, and why (but not in that order). We are now back to our second WHY – as in, why does anybody out there in this great big world want to actually BUY my product?

We’ve already hammered out the important cornerstones of our business plan in the previous questions – what motivates us to sell, the definition of our product, our target market, and the best outlets for selling and promoting our business. Everything next is just extra fun to enhance our plan and outline some action steps.

So, with our already answered questions and established ideas in mind, let’s ponder question #6 – why should someone use my product? To really sell your item, you need to know how it will directly benefit your customer AND be able to effectively communicate that to them in a short, powerful message. Think about all the benefits your product can provide and focus on those when writing your listings or product descriptions.

Being able to express to your customer why they should buy your product leads them to take action. Picture this…you’ve already placed your item for sale in an environment where your target customer shops and visits (since you’ve successfully followed these steps of your business plan, of course!). So here’s your potential customer, we already know they are “more prone” to buying a product like yours…they’re reading your product description, listing, or ad…and now’s your chance to really drive it home! What will you say to them to increase their changes of hitting that “Add to Cart” button?

Don’t focus solely on your literal product. Remember those emotions and values you are “figuratively” selling? Mention those. Do you offer any extras with a sale, like gift wrap or a free card? Do you have a recognizable or high-end brand that lends some prestige to your items? These are all additional reasons someone might buy your product. And most of all, let’s not forget what makes YOUR product different from so many others out there – it’s handmade by you! Let your customer know why buying handmade is awesome.

This question and your answers will tie in with the next question, how do you distinguish your products from the competition? Another way of asking that is to expand on question #6, why should someone use my product instead of another product?

You will need to answer both of these questions to effectively sell your products. First, why do I need to buy a pair of earrings right now? Ok…now I think I do need some earrings, but why should I buy Lazy Owl Boutique earrings instead of another shop’s earrings? Tune in for question #7!


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: #5. When do people use my product?

crafting a business 101 business guide




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. So far, we’ve covered:

#5. When do people use my product?

Question #5 is pretty straight forward; during what situations do people actually use and engage with your product?

sugar rush creative

button tab wallets from sugar rush creative

Is your product for everyday use?  Special occasions only?  Does it satisfy a need or a want?  Those are two different things – necessities versus luxury items.  Most people need a wallet; jewelry, on the other hand, is nice to own but not necessary to function. An item’s use will affect how and where you sell and market it.

This question ties in again with previous pieces of your business plan, like Questions #3 and #4. Your product’s use will also influence the language you use to promote and describe it (just like the feelings or values it invokes), along with where you choose to spend your time marketing it. Obviously, if you’re selling wedding-related products, wedding-related blogs or websites are a good place to begin advertising and selling your products. It’d be smart to promote your line of pacifier clips and diaper bags in magazines and websites devoted to mothers.

As we’ve discussed before, you might need to do a little product testing with friends and family to really get a feel for how people interact with your product. Some product types are not as obvious as others when it comes to figuring this out. If you sell jewelry, you might not be sure if people wear your earrings to work or out on a date. Give out some samples and ask your friends a few weeks later how they’ve been using or wearing them.  This sort of knowledge helps you narrow your focus and spend your selling and marketing time more efficiently.

Question #5 might seem repetitive or even intuitive, but we are slowly refining and polishing the finished product of our creative business plan. Pretty soon, you’ll have a binder or folder full of great ideas, inspiration, and important hammered out details to build a path toward success for your business.


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: #4. Who will buy my product?

business plan writing




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. We’ve discussed question #1, question #2, and question #3 already.  Now for question #4.

#4. Who will buy my product?

Question #4 is all about finding your target audience, otherwise known as your ideal customer. You might have started thinking about this back at question #3 when brainstorming what feelings and values your product or brand appeals to. Thinking about what emotions your products appeal to naturally leads you to thinking about what sort of people your product appeals to.

Now you may be tempted to say, but Janet, “everyone” is my target audience! I want my products to appeal to anybody and everybody! While this sounds nice in theory, it’s not efficient or effective in reality. You will spread yourself too thin, your message gets watered down, and you end up appealing to nobody in particular. The more honed in on a specific demographic you can get, the more effectively and efficiently you’ll be able to sell your product. Your target market will easily find your business and feel like you are talking directly to them, because you are! Don’t make the mistake of trying to please everybody and wind up pleasing nobody. Being too broad or generic is one of the biggest mistakes newbie creative sellers make.

Does your product appeal to moms?  Singles?  College students?  Brides?  Grandparents? The demographic possibilities are endless.  The more specific you can get, the better you can place and promote your products.

Here are some characteristics you should think about when determining your target market:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Educational background (current student, college education, etc.)
  • Income level (budget-conscious vs lots of disposable income)
  • Location (city dweller vs suburbanite)
  • Values and interests (green, health nut, trend-follower, tech-geek, etc)
  • Family situation (single, married, parent, etc.)

Other target market questions that might apply to your product:

  • What experience does your customer hope to have buying your product?
  • Will your customer use your product more than once? Will they become a repeat customer?
  • What else does your customer like to buy?
  • Is your customer buying your product for themselves or as a gift?
  • What recent challenges has your customer faced?
  • What recent milestones has your customer experienced?

It’s important to think about who your products truly appeal to, and not just who you envision buying your products. When I started Lazy Owl, I imagined selling mostly to people like myself. At craft fairs, I was surprised how many younger girls were drawn to my bright, colorful jewelry pieces, and I realized I was missing out on targeting a whole segment of my potential customers. Sometimes you have to take your business out and about, get some feedback from customers, and watch how people interact with your products to get a better feel for your true target market. Don’t worry, you can always adjust your definition of your ideal customer as your business develops.

Once you’ve determined your target market, you can use this information to make your shop appearance and your brand appealing to your target audience.  A certain “look” is more likely to reel in a budget-conscious college student versus an affluent career woman.

Knowing your target audience will also help you determine where and how to spend your valuable time marketing and selling your product, which also leads us back to question #2! Now is a good time to go back to question #2 and think about your answers in relation to your target audience. Do the places you’ve chosen to sell and promote your business make sense for reaching your target customers?

Spend some time working on the worksheet for Question #4; successfully identifying and marketing to your target customer is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Knowing who and how to effectively find and sell to those most likely to enjoy and buy your product is the key to running a successful creative business.


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: #3. What am I selling?

beginning your business




See my introduction post about writing a business plan for your creative business. We discuss question #1 here and question #2 here.  Time to move on to question #3!

#3. What am I selling? Both literally and figuratively.

Like question #2, this question also has dual meanings. First and most obviously, it’s asking what exactly you are creating and putting up for sale. What is your product? What are you good at making in an efficient manner that results in a high-quality, sell-able product? What do you enjoy making? At some point, it is wise to make sure that the things you are selling are actually generating a profit and thus worth creating for your business…but that’s a whole other story about pricing and sourcing and expenses and what not. Just something to keep in mind!

Your business plan should include a succinct description of the product(s) you offer for sale, preferably in a single sentence. Being able to boil down your products to simple phrases or key words will also be important when we talk about SEO and tagging. I sell many different types of jewelry, but I can describe each of them in short key phrases – rosette studs, vintage crystal earrings, bunting necklaces, etc. Do this for your products by product line or type.

You can also leave room for those “dream” items you want to make and sell in the future. Maybe you are prototyping a new design. What do you have on the backburner that you are experimenting with and hope to sell someday?

Second (for the “figurative” part), what is the experience, value, emotion, or feeling that you are selling via your product and brand? Does your product appeal to a customer’s senses, values, or emotions? This will influence the best approach for both marketing and selling your products and your brand.

For example, someone who sells luxurious, high-end or high-priced custom jewelry pieces might try to appeal to a woman’s emotions. They might use language like “spoil yourself” and try to convey the idea that every woman deserves to splurge on a little piece of something sparkly. For my simple, inexpensive rosette stud earrings, my strategy changes to appealing to a woman’s sensibility. I hone in on how the little rosettes are perfect for adding a budget-friendly touch of color to your daily wardrobe. Knowing what your product appeals to will help you talk about your product in an effective way.


reusable sandwich bag from mamamade on etsy

To what sort of mentality do your products appeal? Do they make your customer more efficient? Stylish? Practical? Eco-friendly? Glamorous? Find what emotion or value you are appealing to and capitalize on that in your marketing strategy. If you aren’t sure, ask friends and family what words, feelings, or values pop into their head when they see or use one of your products. Does it make them feel happy? Useful? Trendy? Now’s a good time for some product research; have fun with it!

This question should get the wheels turning in your head about what the best “pitch” is for your product. Include these ideas in both your business and marketing plans.


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