Big or Small ?- You Choose
There are large corporate businesses and then there are sole-proprietorship business. Over the past 35 years the focus seems to have turned to large, multinational companies. Family owned businesses are rarely satisfied with a sustainable small business choosing instead, to transform their usually small private business into a public company through an IPO.
Everyone, it seems, wants to “make it big” because the cost to live what was always considered to be a middle or upper-middle-class lifestyle has gone up substantially and it’s difficult to make that kind of income running your own small business. The reality is that only a very small percentage of entrepreneurs are going to successfully “go public” and make large sums of money that way. It may not seem enticing at first glance but skill and hard work can still help deliver a comfortable and happy lifestyle. At least that’s what artisans are banking on – sometimes the tortoise still beats the hare!
Turning a hobby into a viable business is no small task. You have to run your artisanal business like a sole-proprietorship business. That means five year projections of costs and profits; considering how much you can produce on your own and at what volume of sales you will need to hire people, purchase or replace equipment or space – and is it worth it to grow beyond that point? There are many scenarios and calculations you need to work though before you are really ready to operate your artisan business like a business and not just a hobby.
Monday Morning Posts on Artisanal Business
Each Monday morning I, or a guest author, will be publishing an article on this subject to help guide you though the process of starting and operating an artisinal business, as well as providing links to useful resources. The Monday morning articles will help walk you through some important aspects of running an artisanal business.
Monday Posts – Future Topics
Business Concept Development
- Define your business clearly
- Identifying your target market
- Identifying market factors affecting your business
- Market research and how to identify and analyze your major competitors
- Identify primary and secondary sources of supply
Prioritizing and Time Management
- Setting achievable goals and prioritizing the steps needed to accomplish them
- Assess your various business requirements and manage your time accordingly
- Managing necessary equipment and supplies
- Identify the unique operational factors that affect a home-based artisanal business
Developing Your Marketing Plan
- Marketing objectives
- Product or service life-cycle
- Material costs, labour costs and overhead expenses
- Minimum selling price
- Pricing strategy
- Fulfillment -getting your product or service to market and defining your delivery and/or distribution strategy
- How to reach your target market
- Identify the best methods of promotion for your business.
- Analyze your existing finances to determine your requirements
- Determine your costs and pricing (as per your marketing plan)
- Forecast your revenues over five years
- Develop your operational budget
- Define your assumptions and develop your Cash Flow Statement and Income Statement for the first year of business
- Determine the best structure for your business (sole proprietorship, partnerrship, limited company, incorporation etc.)
- Confirm and register your business name, website domain, email, phone number, address/P.O. box etc.
- Identify any licenses you may require for your business (municipal, regional, federal etc.)
- Identify any provincial or federal regulations that may apply to your business
- Determine the type of insurance you may require for your business
- For the home based business, pay attention to municipal zoning regulations
- Clarify the message about what you make and and why it’s worth purchasing
- Develop your selling skills.
- Reaching out to the artisan community and finding support/partners
- Writing for the web/Internet and developing your online presence
- Developing a press release/media kit
Sales and Service
- Effective sales, developing your approach and venues for sales
- Developing your selling materials and script
- Follow-through and service
- Handling customer objections
- Guarantees and returns
If you enjoy making something by hand as a hobby – that’s wonderful, have at it! But if you plan to make a living running an artisanal business, stay tuned, there will be many, very important topics discussed on ArtisanOntairo.ca over the coming months. If you’ve been at it for years (maybe generations) I hope you will stay tuned and join us on twitter to share some of your wisdom and experience with others – or author an article!
ArtisanOntario.ca is intended to be a community effort so please don’t hesitate to send us an article to post or links to anything you feel will benefit artisans in Ontario. Help us help you.