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Starting a Woodworking Business #1: #2 Business Plan

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Blog entry by joey posted 2351 days ago 27632 reads 14 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Starting a Woodworking Business series no next part

This is the second part of my blog and in this blog I am going to talk about writing a business plan, and past mistake I have made in business.

Now this is the third shop I have started and if I have learned anything it is this, to be successful you need a plan! There it is. Now the first two times I did not write a business plan, I did not write a marketing plan. Really all I did was run into a guy who knew a guy who had a building to rent and the next thing I knew I had a shop and a whole lot of bills to pay that I wasn’t sure that I could pay them at first, and the first few mouths where tough they strain our home fiancé but we worked thru it and started to make money. Looking back on it thought it was all by the seat of my pants and I was lucky. Most of the time I was in the right place at the right time to find jobs. I didn’t have any system to market my work except word of mouth, and what was worst is that I was spending all my being a woodworking and hardly any being a business man, and that is what kills our businesses.

So this time I decided to do thing right. I am writing a business plan, doing marketing research, and writing a marketing plan. Now just a note, plan to me, they are an idea to be follow, but not set in stone, because in a small business one needs to be flexible.

Business plan: I had to write a business plan in college, so I vaguely remembered how, so the first thing I did was turn to the computer and looked for resources I could use that where up to date. There was plenty but not a lot dealing with woodworking or the craft business but I did find a few I also found pod cast on small business that have been helpful some touch on relevant information and others don’t pertain to businesses that woodworkers would be interested in. other resources I use are magazines like trade magazines, woodshop news, and the craft reports. Now with all this information I have came up with fourteen questions in my business plan. This I am hoping will give me a road map to keep on track and to grow. I am still working on a marketing plan. That I will save for another blog. I would love some input on the questions in my plan and if you have any suggestions. I will also list links to my resources for anyone who wants to check them out.

If you have iTunes go to pod cast section of the iTunes store and check out StartupNation pod cast and the Small Business pod cast both have had some good information. Downloading these pod cast are free. They also have web sites and StartupNation website is a wealth of information. http://www.startupnation.com/

A couple of publication that I mentioned was the craft report http://www.craftsreport.com/ and woodshop news http://www.woodshopnews.com/ME2/Default.asp , both are gear to craft people and woodworkers who make a living at there craft and address a lot of the issues we all have. I also read all of woodworking magazine and have copies going back almost twenty years, while they are a great wealth of woodworking information they don’t really address the business of woodworking or crafts. I also subscribe to a couple of online newsletters and they sometimes have helpful information. Well now on to my first draft of my business plan any input will be helpful, because together I know there is no greater pool of knowledge and experience in woodworking that I have come upon than this site and my fellow lumberjocks.

Joey

Business plan

1. Idea for product or service

2. What need will our idea address

3. What business model will suit our needs

4. What makes our product or service different or better?

5. How big is our market?

6. What are our roles in the business and how do we grow?

7. Who is on our team, and who will we need on our team?

8. How will price our product and how will we sell to our customer?

9. How much money will we need to make?

10. How much money will need to start? (6 Months) budget

11. Marketing and selling the product.

12. What do we need get started?

13. How will measure success?

14. What will be our key milestones?

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/



9 comments so far

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2655 days


#1 posted 2351 days ago

Quick question if “This is the second part of my blog and in this blog”, where is part one posted? I would like to read that part first.

An interesting read – I look forward to hearing more on this subject.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

615 posts in 2533 days


#2 posted 2351 days ago

I would assume this is it…...

http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/joey/blog/3676

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2529 days


#3 posted 2351 days ago

That was it and thanks, I guess I didn’t set it as a series the first time but I did on the second one sorry for the confusion.

Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2613 days


#4 posted 2351 days ago

Too complicated for me. I think I’ll stay out of the business.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2939 days


#5 posted 2351 days ago

Just figuring out # 11 would be enough for me!

View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2529 days


#6 posted 2350 days ago

Oh I forgot to mention the small business administration web site http://www.sba.gov/index.html it has plenty of information on business plans.

I know this seems complicated, but just working on answering these questions reminds me that I want a business that will be successful, and not just fall into the if I build it they will come attitude. It is also making me realize that maybe this business will not work at this time in this area, no matter how much I want it to, so in the end that can save me a lot of money and heartache, but thats still up in the air right now. my point is those who don’t plan, plan to fail, and I don’t plan on failing.

Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

View gerrym526's profile

gerrym526

265 posts in 2433 days


#7 posted 2349 days ago

I agree wholeheartedly with Joey. Whether it’s running a woodworking business (what I plan to do in semi-retirement), or selling software to Fortune 1000 companies (what I’ve been doing for 25+ years)-a plan is the key.
Let me point out that having spent time in the high tech space, and living through the “dot.com” bust, watching lots of companies fail or get bought (laying off their people in the process), I saw the major difference between those who made it and those who didn’t was the business plan (or lack of).
Whether you work in wood or sell a high tech product, you need to know your market, your competition, and how to find the folks who will buy it. Joey’s last post was right on target-he may not start his business because the model doesn’t point to success.
I expect to go through the same exhaustingly detailed process of planning before hanging out a woodworking shingle. If the plan doesn’t show a viable business, I’ll stick to amateur woodworking and run a lift at the local ski resort, so I can ski free in the winter!

-- Gerry

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2939 days


#8 posted 2349 days ago

OK I’ll bite…How do you plan for a business that changes with every job? I can plan to sell to interior designers, then end up working for contractors. Start out building furniture, but end doing kitchens. Get all geared up to do kitchens then have the construction boom go bust….If I think about it I’ve failed at furniture/kitchens/mill work/art/installing/trim work/solid surface/commercial/residential/remodeling/lottery ticket buyer/a few marriages. I’ve managed to fail for 15 years now and if I had had a plan I would have still failed because when I wrote the plan I wouldn’t have had a clue what I was doing and in five years it would have been out of date anyway. I kinda think the business plan would be great, but I just not all knowing enough to figure one out.

View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2529 days


#9 posted 2348 days ago

Dennis I feel your pain, I have fail at most of the same things except my marriage, this is my forth time in business, two woodworking shops. and a carpentry trim sub contract business, and what all three have in common is I didn’t do any planning. I had all the passion, loads of it. I had the desire. but I really didn’t want to do the business of doing business. and to be honest it still something I don’t enjoy. if I could, I would love to just stay in the shop build what comes to mind and trust that someone will come pay me what its worth. but we know thats not going to happen. First know one knows me in this new town, second moneys tight and people are need it for that ever rising cost of living. so I already know I can’t build furniture as a primary source of money, kitchens are to competitive there are to many shops in my area and big and small lumber store all fighting for that market. and builders in my experience will cut your throat for 2 cents the job. small crafts in my area do well while this isn’t my first love, it will be a good way to get people into my shop, and if I have some furniture in progress maybe that will spark some interest. anyway these some my marketing ideas and how I came to these was my planning and doing research. to be honest if I had a shop at home I wouldn’t be doing this at all, but I am committing to renting a building, signing a lease, so I really can’t go into this with just blind hope that it works out because thats what I want. and to be honest I plan on meeting with an experience business coach from the SBA with my business plan and in the end it don’t look like its worth doing I won’t do it, I’ll look for an old house to rent with a garage and go back to being a weekend warrior and go to work fulltime for someone else.

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

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