Why you need one, How to write one
A business plan is like a map or reliable GPS system. Trying to run a business without a plan is like taking a trip without a map; you’re likely to get lost somewhere between your starting point and your destination. And without a map to plot your way, regaining your direction can be really tough if you encounter a detour or two.
According to a widely accepted business principle, the business owner who has a written plan in place has exponentially better odds of his or her business being a success than the business owner who doesn’t have a plan.
Still not convinced that you want to take the time to research and write a business plan? Then think of your plan as one of the best ways to safeguard against costly mistakes. It’s also a black-and-white summary that you can present to potential investors, your bank, your accountant, your employees, and your spouse to prove that you are serious about making your jewelry business financially viable.
Unlike a static document, a business plan is a living, breathing, constantly evolving work in progress. As situations change with your business or the marketplace, you can adjust your plan to reflect those shifts. Plus, you’ll have a record of where you’ve been and where you want to go. By revisiting your plan periodically, you can check your progress and decide whether the direction you’re heading in is still best for your business.
Basically, a good business plan covers:
- Who you are
- Where you want to go
- How you plan to get there
- Your immediate goals
- Your ultimate goals
- The costs of running your business
A five-page plan will generally suffice for a start-up jewelry/art/fine-craft/design company; content is more important than length. Be specific, accurate, and realistic, especially when you are summarizing financial information. Use an outline format with bullet points to make it easy to find and read the information in your plan. Include images of your work; jewelry making is a visual-art business.
Researching, writing, and maintaining a business plan are empowering steps for a business owner. By completing a pesky task that you may have been putting off, you’re embracing the attitude of a conscientious, dedicated entrepreneur who knows where she’s going and how she’ll get there.