Jewelry Business Planning Basics

Jewelry Business Planning Basics

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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 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 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 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?

2021-08-08 21:36

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