Category: business planning


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One of my goals this year was to complete a business plan. For a creative type, this daunting task is about as exciting as watching grass grow, which made it quite easy to ignore in favor of more appealing endeavors, like creating new jewelry or designing new marketing material. But it is already September and I need to get serious about my planning. Fortunately, I discovered an amazing book called The Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee which has actually tricked me into forging through my plan with a series of creative exercises that appear frivolous but have proven to be extremely helpful. Who knew business planning could be so much fun!

Vision Board

One of the first exercises in this book involves brainstorming about your dream business and creating a collage to reflect this vision. I have been very pleased with what I have done with Serendipity Blu so far, so my next step is to focus on expansion. The center of my board is a photo I took of artwork I own by New Zealand photographer Susannah Tucker. It is a beautiful scene of a hot air balloon floating in a dreamy blue sky with the words “she believed in serendipity.” From this center, I have “arms” stretching out into the different areas I want to grow: wholesale accounts, craft show presence, etsy sales, product lines, and social media presence. This vision board not only gives me my “big picture,” but will also help simplify my goal setting.

Business Portrait

While I kept my vision board organized, I chose to make my business portrait an explosion of free spirited fun! My jewelry is very casual and boho, so I wanted to capture that essence in this collage.

Value Cards

One of my favorite exercises in this book was creating my value cards. Not only was this so much fun, but it also enabled me to set up parameters for running my business. I value freedom and flexibility over stability, so it is not necessary to have my business housed in a specific location. Rather, I would benefit more from having a business I could run from anywhere.

The Plan

Now I am ready to begin writing my actual plan. Rather than using a word processing template, the book recommends a more creative format for the actual plan. I liked the idea of using index cards on a ring to write my plan. Businesses evolve, and it is important for me to have a document where I can easily update and make necessary changes.

Customer Portraits

So far, I have completed the Business Landscape and Getting the Word Out sections of my plan. I painlessly assessed my barriers, opportunities, and competition. I also developed a new marketing plan by creating my customer portraits. Currently, I market almost exclusively to beach-minded folks. As I expand my business, I want to target potential new customers like yogis, city dwelling bohemians and country cowgirls in addition to my beloved surfer girls.

The Book

I am about half way through the book. I plan to write a follow up post once I am finished (I am giving myself until the end of the year to assess my finances and set my goals.) While I choose to live a good part of my life through serendipity, I do believe it is important to have changeable plan in place for running a business. I highly recommend this book to any of my fellow creative souls who want to realize their business dreams.

Right Brain Business Plan Paperback

Right Brain Business Plan for Kindle

Right Brain Business Plan Website

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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As summer winds down, I am proud to say that I realized one of my major business goals for this year – to participate in two summer craft shows. It was a large endeavor in which I invested money (purchasing tent, tables, displays, etc.) and time (building my show inventory from practically nothing), but the experience and positive feedback were more than worth it. Now my plans for the fall include getting my Etsy shop inventory back up, revamping two of my bracelet lines, launching a new bracelet line, following up with my wholesale account, and lining up two craft shows for the holidays…Wow! That is a huge agenda for a part-time business!

I admit, Ms. Easygoing is actually feeling a little overwhelmed here! So I decided to take this weekend off…spent yesterday shopping with my sister and today hanging out with Mia and Chase, the Weimaraners. I also spent some time reflecting on my business. This year, I have experienced a nice amount of growth – in addition to the craft shows, my Etsy sales revenue has increased by more than 50% over this time last year! So how do I juggle the extra time my growing business requires? Inspiration does often come in the oddest places…

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Try not to be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life…

I recently read an article about Pearl Jam in Forbes Magazine (yes…that’s right…Forbes). The basis of the articles was how PJ chose to scale down their success at the height of their popularity in the early 90’s and forge a lifestyle business that has lasted for over 23 years:

“Pearl Jam’s answer to their hot streak of hit albums was to scale back their success and become a lifestyle business. Rather than focusing on growth, expansion, and increasing return on investment, the goal of lifestyle businesses is to enable their owners to earn a living and sustain their lifestyle. Lifestyle businesses allow their owners to fulfill their ambitions without sacrificing things that are important to them.”

I think that a lifestyle business appeals to most creative types…time always needs to be available to find inspiration and nothing is as detrimental to the creative process as burnout. The main reason I started Serendipity Blu was to feed my creative spirit. I have a great job, but it is in the left-brained dominated financial industry. When I come home from a stressful day at my office, nothing is as soothing as creating things of beauty. (Except maybe Weimaraners!) The added bonus of my creative venture is beefing up my travel budget, my greatest passion.

With that in mind, I have made some important decisions for the fall. I have chosen to not do craft shows until the holidays, even though fall is the busiest show season. I was worried that, after my busy summer, I would feel burnout if I prepped for any shows in the next month or two. Instead, I am taking some vacation time to travel to Salem, Massachusetts in October to experience Haunted Happenings. I also have a couple of big concerts lined up (PJ in Philly in October and Chris Cornell in Atlantic City in November). I also have to remember that I have three months to accomplish everything on my list and it is best to just focus on one task at a time. So for the next two weeks, I am going to work only on getting my shop inventory back up and enjoying these last few precious weeks of summer…

If you are interested in reading the entire PJ article from Forbes, I have included this link:

Pearl Jam Return To The Spotlight As A Mature Lifestyle Business

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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