I’m taking the eight basic elements of the business plan and using my fictitious company, Authentic Costuming, to bring each element to life. It’s one thing to say the business plan includes certain parts like a marketing plan or financial projections and explain what basic info goes into each part. For sure that is helpful. However, what I want to do is take each element of the business plan, explain what is normally included and give you a practical example. Then you’ll be able to tie theory and real-life together.
I introduced Authentic Costuming in the Executive Summary. Here’s a brief synopsis of Authentic Costuming, Inc.:
Authentic Costuming researches, designs and makes period garments for special events. I’ve been operating the business for 10 years and have decided that it’s time to expand my business by providing period costuming for the motion picture industry.Plan of Operations
A good place to start when you’re writing your plan of operations is to think about what you feel makes up the typical arts or crafts business workday. Based upon my experience, here are some generic arts and crafts business operational tasks:Maintaining Your Client Base and the Plan of Operations
Number one should be income based. How am I going to attract new customers and keep the old ones coming back for more? Depending on what type of arts/crafts you handicraft this will differ somewhat across craft disciplines. How you sell your product is also a consideration. The details for this are covered in the marketing plan. In the plan of operations discuss how this issue fits into planning your work schedule.
For artists that sell pricey commission works or place their product in galleries, it’s important that you research and maintain a potential customer contact list. Address how often you plan contact potential and existing customers. What method will you use to track follow-up dates?
Sell mostly on the internet? It’s a needle in a haystack out there in cyberspace. What’s your strategy for search engine optimization. How often you do plan to update your content and publish to the web?
Sell wholesale? What’s your plan to keep track of various trade shows that are within a feasible traveling distance from your home?
Like to market by entering juried events? How do you keep track of various shows, contests, juried competitions, and monitor the status of your applications?
Regulatory Issues and the Plan of Operations
Regulatory issues are important. Detail how you plan to comply with all local, federal and state regulations such as sales tax and disposal of hazardous by-products.
Shipping Schedule and the Plan of Operations
Discuss your shipping or delivery schedule. For many arts/crafts businesses it’s not time efficient to ship customer orders every day. What carrier do you plan to use? Have you done a cost comparison between the major carriers?
Managing Inventory and the Plan of Operations
Decide on how you will manage and store your inventory. Are you going to adopt a just-in-time system where you only order new supplies when you are almost out? Maybe you want to have a stock of basic supplies always on hand.
Other Business Basics and the Plan of Operations
How about research into new products, procedures, and scheduling time for continuing education? What fabrication method do you prefer: starting and completely finishing an individual arts/crafts piece before you move onto your next design or working assembly-line style? How does the method you use allow you to work effectively, efficiently and profitably?
Working efficiently to control costs is most useful if you maximize volume purchasing without tying up too much cash in inventory. How do you plan to achieve this goal?
Here are some rudimentary basics to address if they're applicable: Do you have employees? If you have a store - what are your days and hours of operations?