Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So, What's the Plan?

A few months into 2009, I was in the Etsy chat room goofing off...er...meeting other artisans...when, unsolicited and out of the blue, someone said to me, "You are going to make it in 2010." The text in the chat room often flies by at a furious rate, so I do not even know who made the comment. It stuck with me, though and, now that it is 2010, I am interested to see what the year brings.

Notice I did not say I am waiting to see what the year brings. I would rather take action...do stuff...to move my business and me forward than wait for something to happen.

I came across my old business plan the other day. I wrote it in 2005 when I took the New Venture's Class through Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community. And, while I enjoyed the exercise, I can say, now, a lot of the concepts went over my head. I am the kind of person who needs to experience something with ample time to process the new information. The New Ventures class packs a lot of information into its 10 week course. (Well worth the experience--and free to the participants, too!). It is a great way to test the waters--to really ask the tough questions to judge whether or not your business idea is a viable one.

I am not knocking my old business plan. It was good for the time I wrote it. The plan gave me an idea of what I knew about business so far (all my formal training was in education) and what I still needed to find out. And, in some ways, I have been addressing the plan since then: lots of workshops, lots of trial and error, lots of experimentation with products, pricing, marketing, selling venues, and the rest.

Now, entering 2010, I feel like my experimental stage with business is more-or-less over. I know quite a bit about what I like and do not like as an artisan, business owner, and person. It is time to follow a more deliberate path forward as I define my business further.

So, I am dusting off the old business plan and applying to it some of the experience and knowledge I have accumulated in the five years since it was written. I plan to share some of my insights with you here.

I am determined to "make it" in 2010 (whatever that turns out to mean) and, step one, is to find out what I know and what I do not know about my business today.

Stay tuned! I will let you know how things are going!


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