Monday, July 6, 2009

Chapter One: Build on What You Know

I assume you have a business dream. I also assume you have a bit of business knowledge because you more than likely grew up having had a lemonade stand, a retail summer job, you waitressed, you babysat, you shopped. That's how much business experience I had. If I can do it, you can do it!

Here's the beginning of thirty-seven years of experience in retail. I urge you to TRY THIS!
Let's get specific.

Start a list of what you have, what you need, what you want.

What you have (be specific, list by name)
- parents
- spouse
- friends who will become customers
- a computer and its mailing list
- a lawyer
- an accountant

What you need
- a book that inspires! If you can find Minding the Store by Stanley Marcus of Neiman and Marcus, you'll have a winner. If not that book, look for other first person accounts of people who have created their own businesses.You'll need inspiration along the way, choose books about businesses larger than you imagine you'll ever be.
- books with down to earth details on businesses of the size you imagine....there are a slew of these books. Buy one, be sure it has a sample business plan. When you've finished it look for the next book that is different, otherwise you end up with a bunch of books that say the same thing over and over and you'll be reading too much and acting too little
- a budget (double every expense and include a salary from the first day)
- an outline of a business plan, to fill in as you go- six acquaintances who will meet with you at least three times for no more than an hour and a half (you treat with pizza and beer) to discuss your business idea. (These people may become your Business Advisory Group. More later).
- an action plan, to begin immediately. List ten action items to be accomplished in the next month - so you aren't always dreaming, but acting
- on a calendar, in red, circle the date you want your business to open

What you want
- Money? Be thinking about what you have in savings, what you might borrow from a member of your family (create a contract, include a payment schedule and the interest you are going to pay - even if you think of borrowing from your wonderful, indulgent mother who has money stashed in her sewing machine just for the likes of you).
- A full business plan to be finished in the next six months. Adapt a business plan for your dream business from that first book you bought. You'll be changing it regularly, so don't worry if it isn't complete or perfect.
- what you can save from the day job that you are going to keep for now
- a space. Look at every For Lease sign you pass by. Immediately think if it will work for you. Make a check list: safe? easy access? parking? large enough? storage? office? traffic? and anything else you can think of.

All for now.


The Introduction

In 1987 I wrote a book, Buying Antique Jewelry, Skipping the Mistakes. I could have written volumes 2-10 with more mistakes. Instead, loving the writing, I turned to ficton, and like most aspiring writers I now have three novels under the bed, a couple of literary magazine publications (even a finalist in the Cooper Prize named after Anderson Cooper) and a home computer full of essays and short stories. I've been writing ever since.

Then one day, faced with an assignment, I began to write the history of my adventures in retail. Nine of those chapters are available for you to read on the Facere Jewelry Art Gallery web site (on the homepage menu click ABOUT).

Here then, is the flip side to those chapters. A blog entitled, Building a Business: Try This! Every week I'll add cupfuls of information. Hopefully the information will be useful and transferable to anyone in business, or to anyone in the throes of starting a business.

Let me know if the suggestions work or not. Let me know if you need more detail, more context, more examples.

And with that, Heeeerrrrs Karen!