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the business of clay (long)

updated mon 25 jun 01


Joyce Lee on sun 24 jun 01

Advice may seem out of order from someone who doesn't attempt to sell =
very much of her claywork, thus having little experience in that arena =
.. but if and/or when I do ... right behind having developed a solid =
sense of confidence in my work ... will follow a Business Plan, a =
personal plan that is appropriate for ME and MY business. Every =
successful small businesswoman that I know has a well constructed =
Business Plan and updates it regularly. Most assuredly if she applies =
for a business loan, she'll be expected to produce a professional plan. =
The initial plan may be a fairly simplistic one which covers the first =
year; however, the next steps are at least a Five Year Plan and a Ten =
Year Plan ... if she's hoping for more than a "hobby" business and to =
move beyond the designation of "recreational " potter.... which is a =
description that suits me fine at the moment, as it does many of you, =
but when the time comes to glide into the Profession of Pottery, if it =
comes, I'll know where to start.

One doesn't need a BFA in order to write such a plan. The best plans =
are very personal AND realistic, presenting well considered =
goals&objectives and a mission statement (the most vital step of =
all, in my opinion) a thorough financial schematic. Friends who operate =
successful businesses tell me that they first developed their plans as a =
requirement for loan applications, but that their plans later became =
dogeared from constant reference. Now they wouldn't make a move without =
first consulting The Plan to ascertain just where new moves fit into =
the overall scheme.=20

I know the local library is a superb resource for guidance... as is the =
Internet. If you need more direct guidance, Chambers of Commerce =
sometimes offer basic information... small business owners are worthy =
resources, especially if you offer a pot or two in exchange for an =
interview (and REQUEST an interview in ADVANCE... don't just drop in) =
.. loan officers have tons of information and will likely be pleased to =
advise (that's their job, after all). As a volunteer workshop leader =
for our local branch of the California Employment Development =
Department, I was pleasantly surprised that they often encourage their =
clients to consider starting their own businesses and direct them to =
hundreds of resources which offer concrete and stimulating advice.... =
much of which is on the internet.

In the Mojave where I've activated several crude fountains of pots for =
the quail who travel through every day now... one group had 32 =
youngsters with TWO adults herding them about...a first from my =
perspective.... a group this morning was composed of six very tiny, =
still downy babies AND four adults tending them . What a pleasure to =
observe with my morning tea..... from an Earl Brunner tenmoku mug this =
morning.... a Tony Clennell's Canadian Ice mug yesterday.=20
Sometimes just being an observer of the scene is satisfying beyond =