So you want to start a Craft business and a small one at that. Well before you begin anything you will need a plan, a business plan. You may be wondering why, but the answer is simple. Everything needs a map to find its destination and nothing more true than a business. A business plan helps you to have a plan so that you can focus on what’s important and follow the right steps to success.
Does the plan have to be set in stone? No, nothing is ever set in stone. Plans continue to develop over time. They grow and change as the business needs it to or has obstacles present themselves. This plan will be an ever changing road map to success, but make no mistake it is a necessary step. Change can be good or bad, but it will constantly present itself in the world of business, no matter the size. A plan will help to adapt to the change and move the business forward as it needs to, rather than succumb to the change and possible failure.
Do you need to update the plan everyday or will this consume all my time? No, time is money and you won’t need to update this plan but as needed. An example would be that you plan to sell your crafts to only local stores, but somewhere along the line, your craft is now admired by several local churches and voila, you have a new niche to sell your products to, before you even knew it was possible. Granted this change is good, but an important example of adding to your business plan as it becomes necessary. These changes could come as often as every week or may only present themselves once a year. That only means you set aside the time to update your plan. Maybe you need to update it once a month or once a quarter, but it is important to be constantly evolving the plan as the business evolves. Having this road map will help in the long run and losing sight of a road map can be disastrous.
The following points outlines only some of the aspects relative to a good business plan. It is not comprehensive by any means. They may not all be necessary and in turn you may think of other things to include. Has previously stated a good business plan will evolve over time.
A confidentiality agreement is a safeguard of sorts. Should you need to show anyone your business plan, such as a possible future partner and/or investors, it would be wise to have the security of an agreement that binds the viewers to confidentiality.
1.0 Executive summary
An Executive summary is just that which it states to be, a summary for executives to read and understand. This allows them to capture the “concept and idea” of the business without being mired in reading about details. IF you are the executive then this summary acts as a reminder of what is important to the business and what you are looking to achieve. If for potential partners/investors then it is esoteric in nature and meant to only give the general basis of the business. Most executive summaries will include a listing of objectives, goal statements and keys to success points that give milestones in the road map. You can also include the business vision as well as mission statement with this summary, to make the best point possible.
2.0 Firm summary
The firm summary gets into a little more detail about the business, its history and a start-up summary with costs table. This can also include a business location and/or facilities that will be utilized.
3.0 Products and Services
These are the details of the products and/or services that your business will provide to the client/customer. It can specify certain types, but usually will not detail them to individual traits.
4.0 Market analysis summary
You will need a market analysis summary for your business plan. These can be performed by you, if you are willing to do the research “leg work”. The summary should include factors of success and what type of niche you plan your customers on being. This analysis should also include any competitor analysis, such as surveys, any current customer loyalty your business may possess and competitor alliances you are looking to create.
5.0 Sales and marketing strategy summary
A sales and marketing strategy is the culmination of market analysis information you have combed and put together to create a strategy that will push your products/services into the visibility of your clients/customers. This can include a value proposition, a statement of excellence and should include a sales forecast. If you sales forecast is anything less than 5 years, then it will not be effective enough to convey the strategy.
6.0 Operations summary
An Operations summary will convey the specifics of your business needs from a personnel perspective. This will include any staffing needs. Some businesses will need some form of financial analysis position, human resources, tech support, accountant and recruiter. Most small business owners just starting out will fill most of these positions themselves till the business grows strong enough to fill these positions with part or full time employees. Sometimes services can be outsourced for small businesses willing to bundle those services. An example would be a cable company or local computer store giving tech support to the company in the price of equipment (computers) or services (internet) sold. Another option would be professional services that might include legal representation. Though most small businesses starting out cannot afford a lawyer on retainer, it is wise to seek out legal advice when it is necessary or research online with legalzoom.com.
7.0 Management and organization
The final aspect is how your company is organized and structured. Most small business owners will fill the position of CEO/president and work any new employees going forward under the appropriate position as they are filled.
In conclusion, a business plan can provide structure, organization, a road map and the best foot forward for your business. It is the best means of communicating and reminding, if only to yourself what you are wanting to achieve and how you plan to achieve it.