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business plan (and some other strategies.)

updated thu 9 mar 00


Katie Cordrey on wed 8 mar 00

I'd like to add my two cent's worth here. I've
established and sold a few small businesses unrelated
to the arts. Still, I think some things translate
well. Keeping debt down, planning, and constant
business introspection are your best assurance of
success. You know the old saying, "The job's not over
until the paperwork's done."

>From a psychological standpoint, having a business
plan gives you structure, tests your assumptions, and
makes you FEEL like you're a REAL business. If you
take yourself seriously, approach your work as a
business. You will be taking steps to long-term

I know there are lots of exceptions to this, (I've
been one.) But I recommend you do a business plan.
Check with the SBA. They have many resources, even
fill-in workbooks to help you organize your ideas,
business plan classes (very low fees,) demographics
and market research resources, assistance and advice,
even computer labs and use of business plan software.
(I have business plan templates which, as I mentioned
previously on Clay Art, I'd be glad to email to anyone
who wants them.)

Don't let the fact that you don't have several months'
living expenses saved keep you from moving forward.
Most of us would never start a business if we followed
the ideal of six month's to a year's cash on hand.

Even if you already work full-time at an unrelated
job, think of "increasing" your current income. I gave
up cable TV and freed up $50 a month, (not to mention
tons of time,) turned off caller ID $7, gave up twice
a week lattes (ouch) $20, and started selling a few
things at on-line auctions. I managed to put aside
$100 a month for my business with these modest
measures. I also started a "second job" by putting
some of my skills to work... I do small business
consulting (mostly QuickBooks setup) and limit it to
ten hours a week, viola, another $1000 a month which
is ONLY used for developing the art business part of
my life. I schedule 20 hours a week in the studio.
Yes, it's a 70 hour week, (before the day to day
chores) but I'm moving toward my goals. (This is the
more time than money approach.) I have nearly all the
equipment I need and am in the process of moving from
space I share with my woodworking husband (wrong kinda
dust!) to my own space by converting the carport. It's
taken two years. I expect to be doing only consulting
and clay by the end of this year. I am aiming for a
clay-only life in another two years. Even if all you
do is what I've just done, state your goals in terms
of time-line and general approach, you will be ahead
of most people!

Most of all, don't give up, ever!
Katie Cordrey

--- Michael Shernick
> --Original
> message--
> I have to agree with David whole-heartedly about
> starting out debt-free. I
> also agree that the business plan will be a lot of
> conjecture at the start.
> What I think is important, though, is to do a
> business plan, even if
> it is a lot of guesswork.
> .....And those
> who kept their business plans assiduously up-to-date
> were highly
> "successful."
> The lesson is that business plans are a tool that
> help you set goals and run
> the business effectively. They are not just
> wallpaper or something to file
> away. ...> IMHO, all people employed by a business
(even if
> it's just you as a sole
> proprietor) should be able to say what the company's
> products are and what
> the plan to get them to market is. If you can't,
> then you need to re-do and
> fine tune your business plan.
> Cheers!
> Michael
> Berthoud, CO
> >From: David Hendley
> message--> >Rachel, my advice is to not take out a
loan to
> finance
> >equipment for a pottery business.
> >I think you have a much better chance of making a
> go
> >of being a potter if your business is debt-free.
...> >It's still a good idea to have a business plan
> if you are
> >just starting out, your business plan will
> truthfully be a lot
> >of assumptions and guesses.
> >
> >--
> >David Hendley
> >Maydelle, Texas
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: Rachel Sedacca
> >To:
> >Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2000 12:48 PM
> >Subject: Business Plan
> >
> >
> >| ----------------------------Original
> message----------------------------
> >| I am a young potter in Ventura County, Calif. and
> am trying to get my
> >studio
> >| up and running. I am producing right now but
> have quickly outgrown the
> >used
> >| equipment that was not everything I needed to
> begin with but got me
> >started.
> >| So now it's time to buy a kiln. Nothing too
> major but I think I will
> >need
> >| to try and get a small business loan to purchase
> it and some of the other
> >| equipment that I want for my studio. Years ago I
> had inquired about SB
> >| loans but the first thing they wanted was a
> business plan. I dropped it
> >| then cause I didn't know where to start. Ready
> to pick it back up and
> >| figure it out. Is there any advice you all might
> have? I know there are
> >| lots of books out there but not sure which is the
> best, I am DEFINITELY a
> >| right brainer! Guidance at this point would be
> much appreciated!
> >| Thanks! Rachels

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