Jewelry Business Planning Basics
Hilary: Hi everyone, how are you? I'm Hilary Halstead Scott and I want to thank you for joining the webinar today. We're so excited to be with you remotely in your living room or your studio, wherever you are today. I want to take a minute to introduce Kelli Greene, our Marketing and Creative Manager. Kelli's gonna be helping with the webinar today and you're gonna see her in the chat. So Kelli do you wanna go through just a few technical tips and how the chat and questions will work for folks? Kelli: Yes. Okay so on the right side of your screen you should be able to click the little chat
icon. You can either send the message to everybody in the group, just say hello and let us know where you're tuning in from. Or if you need to just talk to me directly you can do send to admin. I'm here to answer any of your questions. I'm going to hold questions for Hillary till the end of the presentation, but if you have any tech questions let me know. There is a little reconnect button at the top of your screen, if you're having any connection issues. The best way to watch these presentations is to be hardwired into the internet and on a laptop or desktop. And it will
be recorded. You will get the recording later this evening and you'll have 30 days to watch it. Hilary: That's great. Yeah, so if you notice any freeze up or sound issues, a lot of times hitting that refresh button will just kind of reset your connection. And those don't happen in in the recordings so you should be all set if you're watching this later.
So we'll say goodbye to Kelli for now, get our slide show started. She's going to pop back at the end to kind of kick your questions to me. Alright here we go. I hope everybody can now see slides on the screen and I'm a tiny head in the
corner. Which is less intimidating when you really don't like video? I don't like video either, but you know sometimes you got to get outside of our comfort zone a little in business, right? So today we are all here to talk about business plans. And congratulations just on registering for this, setting aside some time to work on it and think about it. I know this
is not your idea of a super fun Saturday. Writing a business plan is kind of like a homework assignment. It's a big undertaking. But it can really make a difference for your small business. And it is totally worth the time and effort. So, we are going to kind of walk you through a lot of tools, resources, and tips today. And hopefully motivate you to take those next steps - push you forward a little bit so that you're ready to start your business plan.
So just a little bit about me, for those of you who don't know me. I'm Hilary Halstead Scott. I am one of the owners here at Halstead. This is a family-owned business, and I am the second generation of Halsteads. So, this business was started back in the early 70s by my parents, Tom and Susie. And back then the business was really founded on beads. A lot of like glass beads, and stone beads, and turquoise. And that's, you know, kind of the history of our name and our website
domain Halsteadbead.com. Nowadays of course we sell findings, metals, and chain; and I hope a lot of you have checked out our materials online. But I came back to the business about 20 years ago. I have a master's in international marketing and also an MBA. So I bring a lot of business skill
set and experience to this job, in addition to just a real love for small business and makers. I grew up in the jewelry trade. I was like picking CZs out of the carpet when I was a little kid and making beaded bracelets under my mom's desk. So I really love the people, and the studios, and everything about our jewelry community and tribe. So I love advocating for small business, advocating for small business management skills. And that's why we're here today.
So definitely connect with us on these social media channels. And we dive into a lot more small business content in those spaces all the time. So you can dig in for more. Alright so why do a business plan? And if you're here you may still be kind of thinking about it and saying, you know, is this something I need to do? Is this really, you know, worth it? I have a lot on my plate. Of course you do. And I want to point out that that business plans aren't just for startups. I really encourage startups to do business plans. It's a great way
to start your business off on the right foot. But revisiting a business plan as a mid-career jewelry artist or a late career jewelry artist, it can still add a lot of benefits to your business. And sometimes you need to just mix things up. You feel like you're not quite achieving all that you can. You're not quite doing your best. Or maybe there's a part of the business that has just never made sense to you, and you hear a lot of people talking about it, but you just feel a little bit lost. You know, these are all signs that embarking on a business plan project is really probably a good idea and worth your time.
And especially this year, right? I mean we've all just gotten through, and are still getting through, this crazy time with Coronavirus. And now more than ever we are all reinventing, right? A lot of businesses are selling online for the first time ever, or just trying to figure out how to enter the digital space and have a presence there. You know, the pandemic was really that kick in the pants to move in the digital direction. And so a lot of small businesses right now are in this process of adapting and reinventing. So that's another just fantastic cue to spend some time on a business plan and really working on that process. Alright, so what is it? What are we talking about when you hear this business plan, business plan that everybody talks about? It's a general term and there is no one business plan template out there. There are a lot of different versions that you'll see across different industries, but they
all basically feature the same outline. And you may have heard like the Halstead Grant application for new jewelry artists, it really is kind of the bones of a business plan. And this picture is a beautiful example of the work submitted by one of our grant winners a few years ago, Emma Elizabeth. She gracious graciously allowed us to take some photos of her business plan packet.
And yes, this can be an actual physical document in a binder with photos and your business card and postcards and line sheets and all the other things that kind of support your visual image. And when you apply for something like the Halstead Grant or maybe a loan, you are going to actually create this physical deliverable that is your business plan to turn into people for review. Now that's one use of a business plan. But it can also just be a tool for internal use, right? So you can have a business plan just as like a digital document on your desktop that you use to set goals to keep yourself accountable and to keep your business growing and on track.
So, all of those are different uses for a business plan. And all of those are totally valid. So, if you're in this seminar think about what makes sense for you. You know, are you applying for funding in the next few years? There's one kind of, you know, business plan deliverable you want to work towards if you're going to be applying for funds through a grant or a loan program. If this is just an internal exercise, strategic planning, then you can be a lot more casual about this and just kind of pick and choose the pieces you need and target those areas that you want to work on.
Alright so entrepreneurship is the reason we're all here in this group, right? We all run small businesses. We're small business owners and I want to just congratulate you for a minute on how amazing it is to tackle this. It takes a lot of ambition and courage to be an entrepreneur. And I think it's wonderful to connect in this community of jewelry artists, or in other small business organizations, with other like-minded people going through these kinds of challenges. So we all run small businesses for different reasons, right? Like it kind of ignites your passion and things that excite you. And these are a lot of the key reasons that I own a small business. And I hope some of these ring true for you as well. Now generally speaking writing a business plan and doing spreadsheets does not make our top
10 list, right? These aren't our favorite parts of this whole experience of being a small business owner and manager. But you have to wear a lot of hats, right? We're the janitor, some days we're the manager, some days we're making work and filling orders or answering customer emails. You've got to do it all. And that's pretty demanding. So I totally get what it means to add one more project to your to-do list. It's not a small decision. But if you want to be successful in business, one of the key disciplines that is really necessary is kind of setting aside time for the things that matter. Because it's really tempting sometimes
to just clear your inbox, because that feels good and it feels like you can check something off your list. But it's not taking those major strides that really move your business forward and help you accomplish the goals that you want for your company and for your life in general, right? So here's things that I want to really emphasize as part of this business planning process. It's all about kind of setting goals and a mindset for your entire business operation. And first and foremost among those goals is kind of making time to plan - setting aside the time to think about strategy, to invest in organization and reflection, and kind of, you know, stretching the edges of where you are now and where you want to go. All of those things are going to help you be successful. It's also going to force you to really
get into Google or pick up the phone and find the resources that you need to connect the dots. We're going to talk a lot about that throughout the presentation today. So use this business plan as something to kind of motivate you to keep learning, keep accountable, and keep coming back to it over time. This should be a living document, right? Your strategy is never
something that is complete. It's always evolving, right? And this year we had to evolve very quickly in the pandemic situation. And sometimes it's a little more slowly and sometimes you can come back and revisit your overall strategy just every few years. When things kind of settle into a nice
pace, a nice sweet spot. But then you're always going to be kind of circling back and revisiting. So, there is so much research on how effective it is to get your goals in writing. Now that doesn't mean you have to write a sonnet, or a novel, or even a paragraph. You know, if bullet points work for you use bullet points. Use a few key words, use some pictures if you want to.
Again, this is a strategic exercise and it's meant to be kind of a storyboard of your plans and where you want to go. So especially if you're using this business planning process for internal purposes, you know, think about these main header areas that we're going to talk about and just getting some ideas down - whatever that means for you. But doing that and putting it into an actual document is so powerful in terms of motivating you to continue on the steps that you've established and actually to achieve the things that you set out to do. The more you write down, the more you kind of keep that document coming back up on your calendar to look at, the better results you're going to see. So if there is one goal you take away today, this is it. And this is something I think you should
just write down right now. Or if you have, you know, your little phone calendar in front of you, our lifeline right? Put something in your calendar right now. Set aside some time for planning - both on an annual basis and on an ongoing basis, like maybe once a week, to just kind of do that planning time. But as jewelers, we operate in this very seasonal environment, right? You know, the holiday season is kind of the peak of sales and production time in the studio. You're way too busy to be looking at, you know, strategic issues in a business plan in the fourth quarter. But this
time of year, like first quarter, January to maybe like April, that's usually a slow season for a lot of jewelers. And that is the perfect time to kind of put a recurring deadline on your calendar to work on your business plan a little bit every year and set aside some time for your career development and your business development. So that can mean taking a master's workshop to learn a new skill set, working on your collection to really do some product and prototyping development, revisiting your business plan document - just kind of looking at how far you've come and also where you want to go, and taking the time to also kind of look at the marketplace in a broader sense. Because I think that's something that we often procrastinate in the hustle bustle of life is remembering that, you know, we exist in a larger space of jewelers. And sometimes you need to anchor yourself in what's happening out there. You know, what are the trends on
the mass fashion sites? What are other artisan jewelers doing right now and selling a lot of? What are the top sellers on Etsy in the handmade marketplaces? You know, some of those just quick Google searches for an hour or two online can really help to kind of anchor what you're doing in the competitive space. So, you know, right now jot down some months that are usually slow times for you and consider actually putting an appointment with yourself in your calendar for this annual retreat time to work on a few of these strategic exercises for your small business. So I'm a big fan of Outlook. I know not everybody is a PC person. If you're an Apple person there are tools for this too on your iPhone and your iPad and your Mac. But, you know, you can set these recurring deadlines as just like reminders to yourself. And I can't tell you what a powerful planning tool that is - because these things pop up on my calendar. So for me, every year I spend
a big chunk of September to October doing a lot of annual planning exercises for the entire 12 months that follow. So I literally have these reminders that pop up in my calendar every single year like clockwork. And that's my reminder that okay this week I am setting aside like 15 hours of my week to just dig into all this stuff, do some reporting, do some research; really think about where we are and where we want to go. And that is such a valuable time every time I do it I'm super grateful. And there are some really immediate benefits
that I recognize every single year. So I encourage you to kind of take this step and set this appointment with yourself right now, while we're still in this session. The number two goal I want you guys to all write down is that as a small business owner your priority should always be earning a living. And I think this is something that's very confusing when you look at discussions of business plans kind of in the general, you know, trade press or business media. They talk about, you know, a business plan and a goal to hit, a target production number, or a target revenue number, or a net number of new accounts you know. Those are all different goals
that you hear about in the business world. But as a small business owner it's much more personal, right? It's the salary that you need to earn to make a good living for yourself and your family. That should always be your very top goal and your top priority when you're looking at business plans. And your entire structure needs to be kind of attending to earning that living for yourself and then eventually employees. If you have employees as well that you're supporting.
So really keep that top of mind as we go through the discussions in the sections ahead. And I encourage you to write this on your notes, right? I call it your magic number. It's your starting point and I think we all have this this idea in our heads, right? We know where we live, we know our lifestyle, and where we want to be. And I think that salary goal you set for yourself, that realistic earning number, is just such an important anchor point. So write that at the top of your notes before we go any further. Aand it's nice, you're in a webinar no one can even look over at your paper right now so you don't have to be shy.
Alright so what we've developed at Halstead, with the fantastic team here Kelli, and Janelle, and Ashley and Erica; all these people have worked so hard on this free resource for all of you to use in this business planning process. So I'm not in the chat, but Kelli go ahead and put the link in there if you haven't already. This is a free link through our blog. It's on Google Docs, so if you don't have a Google account we can also send you a PDF via email. So feel free to
send an admin private message to Kelli if you have any trouble opening that link, we can definitely send it to you as an attachment too. But we decided that what we saw in the Halstead Grant applications, and in discussions with jewelers over lots of years, is that this business plan process is so intimidating. And it's really vague. So we wanted to give people something more concrete to kind of hold your hand through this process and let you know exactly what things you should be thinking about. So as we present this, don't think of this as a test. Like nobody expects you to know all of this stuff, you know, right out of the gates. That's crazy, nobody knows all of this. But it's designed to make you think. It's designed to push you and to help you connect
with the things you need to be successful. So it's kind of like a guidebook. And think of it in that way. This is a workbook. It's a tool for you. You can go through the entire thing or you can just pick out the sections that are relevant for your needs right now. So, it's designed to be a 12-week program, which we'll talk about more in a minute. It does take time, but we're not talking about like full-time 12 weeks. We just want you to space this out
over your work weeks and kind of dedicate a time span to it and have like an end point in mind. There are a lot of reasons to do this, and we've touched on so many of these things already so I'm not going to spend much more time on that. But let's dive into the toolkit itself, right? We've broken this down into 12 sections so you can hit one each week. And like I said, this isn't
like a full-time commitment, but I would pick like a half day once a week for 12 weeks if you want to look at the whole toolkit. And plan to spend like four hours a week really diving into this, looking at the questions, jotting down some notes, and doing some research online. Throughout the tool kit we have hyperlinks to all the resources you're gonna need to get to the information required for the different sections. And this is an example of week one. So I want to go through week one in some detail, just to give you an idea of how the toolkit works; and then beyond that we're not gonna go through like all 12 of the sections today. I want you to be able to take your time and do that yourself. But this is what we recommend, in terms of first steps, when you're getting started on a business plan. This is an outline of the different sections.
And the first thing we recommend that you do is kind of look at these weeks and section headers and just like copy them into a Word document. Copy them into a text file and these become like your section headers. These become the bare bones outline of your plan. And it also kind of gives you an idea of the journey that you're starting, right? And what you're going to be looking at. Because obviously we want you to flip through all the pages, kind of know what's ahead, but don't get too bogged down in how much there is to do. You're just going to take this one bite at a time. We're going to show you the one page business plan in a moment. It's meant to just be like a
quick starter guide; like a fast thinking exercise to get some ideas down on paper. And then we want to, you know, of course have you schedule the time like we talked about. And not only that, like put it in your calendar that's a great accountability tool right there. But another accountability tool is telling a friend that you're doing this project. So that can be a personal friend, a professional friend who's also a jewelry artist if you want to have a buddy, or if you want to just post something on a Facebook group, like our Jeweler's Spark group, and say hey I'm starting my business plan this week.
Just that exercise of like saying that out loud to another person and another friend, is gonna help you follow through on that commitment. And all the better if you can reel a friend in to kind of following up with you and asking you how you're doing. That's going to keep you moving too. And just, you know, that way you can kind of share what you're stuck on or what you're really proud of that you accomplished; and just that you're making progress. That's important. So I just mentioned our Facebook group, and I want to really emphasize what a resource that is, because it's a way to connect with your jewelry tribe. It's a lot of members who are Halstead
clients, jewelry artists, who are really working on all these same small business issues you are. So we all try to be active in that group as part of the Halstead marketing and leadership team. I'm in there a lot, Kelli's in there a lot, Janelle our photographer is in there a lot, Erica our studio coordinator is in there a lot. And so we're all starting conversations about small business and studio issues every single week. And if you're working on this plan and you run into questions, you can ask the community and get some great feedback; or just a little bit of moral support if that's what you need in the moment when you're feeling kind of frustrated or stuck on something.
So this is the one page plan I mentioned. And this is one of the very first hyperlinks you hit in that toolkit document, right? It's a worksheet like this, you can print it out so you can work in pen and pencil if you like. Or you can just keep it as a picture on your desktop and kind of jot some notes off to the side in a text file. But this is kind of a small, scaled-down version of a business plan, right? It talks about your mission and your values, the product you sell, the audience you're trying to reach, and then just some key facts about your business, right? Some basics on your budget, some idea of where your jewelry is sold or where you want it to be sold, and what a few of your key goals are for this year. So like I said, this is meant to be kind of bite-sized to get you started thinking about all these different areas of your business; some very high level thoughts, just a few quick words, and then you've already got a start. You have a really good foundation just by filling out this one worksheet. But from there, each section allows you to dig in a lot further. So we give you a checklist
of things to do in each week. We give you a list of thinking and writing prompts. So like I said, these are questions to think about. If you know the answers off the top of your head, great. But we certainly don't expect you to. A lot of these are going to require you to think or talk to your customers, talk to your peers. Do some research online, do just some Googling. You
know, all of those things are going to help you. And we've also included a lot of direct links in the document straight to great resources - articles from Halstead and other sources, tips for success, suggestions for other service providers or resources in the industry that can help you on those topics, and more worksheets like the one we just showed you. So we're trying to give you like a really complete resource and toolkit of things that you can use and pick and choose through the ones that are most valuable for you.
Now one of the things that I love about this particular tool, is that it is really specific to jewelry, right? Most of what's available out there online about business plans and small business are very, very general. And not all of it applies to jewelers. But there are some extra things that are really relevant for jewelry artists that don't appear anywhere else. So an example is we talk in the toolkit about safety and security quite a bit, because those are really important issues for jewelers. Preventing theft is a very important issue for jewelers, and that's not true of every small business. But those are things that you really need to set aside a little bit of time to think about, So we've made sure that we include those in the toolkit resource.
So beyond that, we have some more general business plan features that you would see no matter what industry you are in. So one of those examples is a worksheet on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. So this is one of those acronyms you hear in in the business world a lot and, you know, we give you this worksheet to just fill out and think through that. And I think one of the coolest benefits of this business planning exercise is a little bit of a reality check with yourself, right? It's important as a business owner to recognize your blind spots, to recognize the things that you're not good at and figure out how to problem solve around that. It's okay to have weaknesses - we all have them. And there is no person I know who is good at everything across business and making great jewelry too, right? We all have our spots that are really tough. So it's okay to be honest about that. Just admit it to yourself and think about how you want to deal with it and this worksheet is a is a great starting point for that, you know, internal dialogue that you need to have as a manager.
So, as jewelry artists, it's important to have great craftsmanship, it's important to have great business skills, and it's important to have great photography - which we haven't even touched on yet; but that's another entire section of the toolkit. And we have a lot of resources surrounding photography for jewelry work in the toolkit and in the Halstead kind of archive of resources because it's so critical to success in the marketplace today as a maker. So again, you know, you may be great at one or two of these and have a third one that's just kind of a drag, or you really struggle with. And that's okay. You know, part of this whole planning exercise is learning when you need to reach out for help, find resources to educate yourself, or find partners to kind of fill in those gaps and act as contractors for your business. We all need those little pieces of support.
And I think that's an important realization that is kind of part of the small business ownership jewelry. Pardon me, jewelry - no journey. It's part of the small business ownership journey to realize that you're really not alone and there is no such thing as a one-person business anymore. And I think that's a really common misconception, especially among people who don't own their own businesses, right? Like you hear this a lot from friends and family - oh you just do everything all by yourself all the time. And it looks like that maybe if you're working from a small studio and there are no other full-time employees. But you are absolutely leaning on a team of people
if you're running a small business. And I encourage you to really start thinking about those people as your team. And that's a big mental leap, but even though you maybe don't like employ them full time or direct all of their work all day long, they are still part of your team, right? So this can be as simple as like your FedEx delivery driver. You see these
men and women every day. They're a big part of your business and your life, right? If you contract for things like photography and marketing services, they are absolutely part of your team. Your accountant, who you pay to do your taxes and maybe some of your bookkeeping - definitely part of your team. But you also have unpaid people who are your support network. And they are equally important as an entrepreneur, right? You have your mentors, your peers, your other makers in places like the Facebook jewelry groups. You know, those people are a tremendous resource so keep them top
of mind and remember them, and I would say you know even list those people as resources when you do things like your strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats worksheet. You have resources all around you. You just maybe haven't thought of them in quite that way in the past. But starting to recognize that, and what a gold mine you have and just the people in your life, can really help you tap into those resources as you need them. And then maybe identify some
that you're missing and that you need to seek out and find in your network. So a big part of business plans is also the financial section - and I feel like you need like the Darth Vader music right now. Because this is the part that is most challenging for everybody, so not just you. And if you feel a little bit intimidated, just know you're not alone for starters. That's totally normal. But I also want to really emphasize that you can do this, right? This is totally achievable. And even if you need some help to do it, it is something you can accomplish and overcome. And I think as a small business owner that is just part of daily life,
right? Is just overcoming hurdle after hurdle, barrier after barrier, and conquering all of these challenges. And, you know, that sounds a little overwhelming, but it's also one of the things I absolutely love about small business, right? It's always challenging. It's always making me think and learn and just stretch myself - even after doing this for a career of 20 years. I think that's fascinating. And financials is just one more challenge to overcome. So if you've
been putting it off, now is the time to start. And we're kind of making it more approachable by giving you a lot of starter tools to take down some of the barriers to tackling your financials. So the toolkit is full of a lot of spreadsheet templates. And if you've never used a spreadsheet before that is okay. You are going to be able to get into these spreadsheets and you're going to be able to use them and figure them out because they are full of instructions to kind of hold your hand through it. To kind of tell you the basic things about spreadsheets, like you click on a cell like
this that - it's not interactive on my screen, but you can click on a cell and you can just type in the value. And then we have these spreadsheets already programmed to kind of give you results and do some math for you. So we tell you which cells need entries and which cells are just going to give you some results. It makes it really approachable and easy. So these are tools that
you can get started with very, very quickly. And the cool thing about the toolkit is, if you get in there, you don't know what you're doing yet, you make some mistakes, and you mess it up, and dang it I saved it and now it's all messed up. You can just go back to the toolkit and download a fresh copy and it's really easy to get started again. So there are no more excuses for putting off some
of these financial kinds of projects, right? Like writing your budget down, figuring out what your break-even is. And the toolkit is going to walk you through understanding those concepts and kind of connecting you to articles that explain things in greater depth, right? So like I said, the whole idea is to make this more approachable so that you don't feel like you have to put it off any longer? Alright so we mentioned earlier what a crazy year it's been and that everyone is reinventing. So I suspect that at least some of you in this workshop right now are here because you're trying to enter the digital space and you feel like you need kind of some research and a new strategic plan to be able to do that. And kudos. I mean, you are in the right place. This is definitely
a great exercise to help you conquer that next challenge. And what I want to emphasize is you don't have to do this all at once, right? Even if you draft some plans on paper, and you have like all these ideas, and you want to get on every social media channel, and start your own website, and sell on platforms; you know, you may have a lot of things you want to do over time, but it all starts with one step. So get into the online space on one platform, you know, just set that small goal for yourself and get started, right? Whether it's one social media account or one new sales channel, just taking that one step and getting started is gonna kind of get you get you moving, right? And it's okay if you flub it for a while. If stuff is new, and it's hard, and it's okay to be a little gentle with yourself and just say, I've never done video before or I have never been on social media before and I'm gonna use some trial and error and figure it out. So that's kind of part of the business planning process too. Like you want to walk away with this grand master plan and strategy. But you also want to break it down
into the next things that need to happen first, right? You know, what are your short-term goals for just maybe the next few months. If you can assign yourself one digital goal, what would it be and just start there. And then you can look further ahead the next time you circle back and look at your business plan. So use this toolkit of resources full of hyperlinks to all these
different resources on social media, on selling online, and it's going to help you get going. Now I want to kind of just pitch that Kelli has a really awesome article coming out soon on developing your own website, and a lot of the platform solutions available for that. There's so much discussion in our community about starting your own website right now and also a lot of debate about people who are unhappy with certain platforms, looking to switch to other platforms. So she's going to be breaking down a lot of that in an article. And we've already had
so many great discussions about it recently in the Jeweler’s Spark Facebook group. I think that's a really common challenge that a lot of jewelers are experiencing right now. So I encourage you to kind of join in those conversations, search for those threads or maybe we'll just kind of revive them in the group for everyone to chime in on, get some ideas and some feedback. And that's exactly what we want to talk about next, is some of the great resources that are out there to help you guys as you do tackle a business plan and just in a wider sense, you know, being a small business owner it's not easy, right? So the first thing I want to call attention to is score.org and we mention SCORE throughout the toolkit. I volunteer with SCORE. I think it's a tremendous organization, so I really advocate for them as much as I can. SCORE is government funded, it is totally free for almost everything they do. And it is just a tremendous resource. It is
not specific to jewelers. But online, they have something like 3, 000 free webinars that are on demand about small business topics. I mean it's an insane amount of training information. All of it is videos that are totally free, articles that are totally free. So as you're hitting challenges, I encourage you to get on score.org and go to their resource pages and just do some searches
around the topics you're struggling with. Really tremendous resources there. SCORE’s claim to fame is also their mentoring network where you can connect with a local chapter, pretty much anywhere in the country, and have a mentor who meets with you either in person or via phone or video chat to just kind of be your cheerleader. They are specifically trained to coach you through writing a business plan. That is a big focus of the organization, is the business planning process. So that can give you a person to kind of be a go-to resource for you. Now usually these people are not going to be in the jewelry trade. They're going to be from other sectors and walks of life, but that
can be really great too. Because I think what's important, as makers and jewelry artists, is that you also have to kind of get outside the tribe sometimes and get that layperson perspective, right? You need to understand how someone off the street is going to see your jewelry compared to someone who really has technical knowledge or material knowledge from inside the trade. So I encourage you to check out SCORE. Consider getting a SCORE mentor. They are a subdivision of the Small Business Administration (SBA), which also provides a lot of small business funding through government-backed loans and things like that. So a business plan is required to
get a small business loan, and SBA has a lot of information about what that process looks like. We also created a resource just in the last year, Kelli can you put that link in the chat here in a minute too, just on some general information about getting small business loans - what that process looks like, what's required. I know that's an intimidating topic too, so we felt like it was really important for our jewelry tribe to provide some information around the lending process and what those requirements and options really look like. So I encourage you to check out all of those resources as a really great starting point for any small business owner. Throughout the toolkit we also link to a lot of Halstead blogs. We try to develop video
content and written content about topics that are super relevant to our community of makers, right? So here are a few of our most recent topics that have posted in the blog. I really encourage you to subscribe so you get these to your email inbox as they're released. And also a lot of our content is just so relevant over time because it's perennial issues that all jewelers face, right? So a big topic for us this year has been a whole series of content pieces on using video to market your jewelry business. And video is definitely a hot topic in marketing these days.
So our fabulous in-house graphic designer Janelle Hinesley has created all of these great tutorials for you on the best practices for using video in jewelry business marketing. It's absolutely outstanding information, so I encourage you to check those out if you've been thinking about video, or how to make your video better. We have technical information from Erica Stice, our in-house jewelry making and studio coordinator. Things like this piece on why does jewelry chain break, how can you prevent it, how do you serve customers. Like around this
issue, those are the kinds of things that come up over and over again for jewelers over the years. And then also some of the more personal challenges, right? Like mental health as a small business owner, we have a great piece on that through one of our clients and dear friends Lisa Lehmann. And Kelli just finished this outstanding piece on balancing parenting in your jewelry business. How hard it is to have a baby or a young child and
try to be doing all of this studio work and running business at the same time. It is it is no joke. So these are the kinds of content pieces we provide. Some of them are directly relevant to toolkit business plan topics. And others are in other parts of, you know, the maker experience. So consider subscribing to those, checking out article content and also video content that is available there and through our YouTube channel. So again, some more topics on photography, marketing strategy. This is a separate webinar if you haven't seen it yet, Kelli did this outstanding, outstanding webinar on creating a marketing strategy. Super relevant to the
marketing section of your business plan. So I highly encourage you to add that to your playlist in YouTube right now. Or, you know, make some popcorn plan to watch it on Saturday, right? That's what we do in small business we watch these things on our Saturday nights, right?