Imagine going on a vacation to the Galapagos Islands without first planning how you would get there, where you would sleep, what kind of food you might eat, and activities you might do.
You and your family just pile up in your car and drive to the nearest body of water and then you think you’ll just figure it out from there.
I mean, they’re islands, right, so you just get to some large body of water and take a boat or ferry to the islands.
You so happen to live in Traverse City, Michigan, so getting to the water is not hard at all! You all stand there, on the shores of Lake Michigan, looking for a boat to get you to the Galapagos Islands.
Had you done your research and some planning, you would have realized that the Galapagos Islands are in Ecuador, and that you should really fly into the nearest city to begin your travels. Getting to the islands from Lake Michigan, though not impossible, will take you a long time.
“Not having a jewelry business plan for your company is similar to not planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands. It won’t be impossible for you to achieve success, but it will take a long, long time for you to see any results." ~Oran
Jewelry Business Plan
You basically can’t say you are running a company unless you have some form of jewelry business plan written out.
You just can’t.
A lot of jewelry designers forgo writing a jewelry business plan because they don’t think they’ll need one. They think that these plans are for people who apply for small business loans, and they aren’t in a position to do that quite yet, so they just skip this part altogether.
Jewelry business plans are an essential decision making tool. They define, in writing, what your company is, what products you plan to sell, how you will approach selling them, who your customer is and how you’ll find them. This document also discusses where your financing will come from, and who will be involved in the decision making process.
Business Plan Worksheet
Help Writing a Plan
For starters, if you are a little hesitant on attempting a full on business plan, start with this planning worksheet first. After you answer the following questions, you should be able to write out a solid business plan.
- Decision Makers: Summary of who is involved in making business decisions. Is it just you? You and a partner? You and a group of other people? How are decisions made, and who is in charge of what aspects of the company? Who makes the jewelry, buys supplies, sells stuff, works on marketing, who manages the accounting? Define all the possible types of jobs and tasks your company needs to accomplish and assign them to specific people. Even if its all just you.
- Define your Company: Your Artist Statement is the foundation for this part, you can talk about what this business means to you, and expand into the products that you make and hope to sell.
- Market Analysis: Assess where the handmade jewelry market stands in relation to where you live, and in the country that you are from. How does your company stand out and fill a gap?; Who are your competitors, and how are you different from them? Is there room for growth in the jewelry business? Define those areas of growth and talk about how your company might be able to grow in that area. Why would a customer buy jewelry from you?
- Marketing Plan: Identify all the ways in which you will attempt to reach out to customers and eventually sell jewelry to. Are you doing art and craft shows exclusively? Are you selling online? How about artisan markets? Wholesale handmade jewelry? Are you doing any advertising? In what medium, and how much do you plan to spend per month? If you are planning a website to establish your jewelry brand, how are you hoping to attract traffic to your website?
- Finances: What will it cost you to operate a jewelry making studio? What portion of your living space are you using for work, and are you writing that off in your taxes? Or are you renting studio space? How much money are you investing in this venture, and who is involved in loaning you this money? Is there a repayment plan? In the course of running this company, where will additional capital come from should you need it? Are you using an accountant, or a CPA? Are they involved in setting up how you will notate your expenses, inventory, and receipts? What will you do with extra profits? What’s your reinvestment strategy? How often and when do you plan on getting paid a salary?
- Goals: What are your goals, short term and long term? How do plan on attaining them, and how do you know you’ve succeeded in doing so? Set yourself up for both large and small goals here, so you have things to look forward to attaining.
If you’ve answered everything in the above list, congratulations, you are ready to start writing out your jewelry business plan! There are many formats to choose from, and, depending on who you are working with to set up your business, such as a business lawyer or a CPA, they may have you writing in a certain format.
Examples of Business Plans
For lots of useful information, and free workshops, visit the Small Business Administration, or SBA. They have many examples of business plans for you to look at and use.