It just takes one decision to get started.
I want to sell my ________ (paintings, crocheted caps, handmade jewelry, insert your product here) to make some money.
Once you make that decision, it’s time to start planning. Why?
Yes, the old adage is true. Supposedly said by Ben Franklin, If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Who wants to fail?
Right. So, let’s do the hard stuff first and get this thing finally going.
The following information will help you step-by-step complete a one-page business plan if you have a product and want to start selling it.
If you want to offer a service (not a product) instead, go here to complete the specialized business plan for coaching, mentoring, teaching, etc.
If you want to offer both a product and a service, go here to complete the business plan for both.
One-page Business Plan for Products
I put together this simple, yet thought-provoking business plan to help you get all your ideas in one place.
Now that you have your own copy, let’s fill it out.
The Product: My Creation
Nobody said this would be easy. But now is the time to put your ideas down in black and white. Enter your answers in the copy you downloaded to your computer.
- I will sell _____. (easy!)
- I will charge (hard! You may have to come back to this one after completing the costs below. Remember, you are in this to make money but you only make money when your product sells. There is a sweet spot to knowing what to charge for your creation.)
- My product is different/unique (Do you know how many bracelets, candles, paintings, etc. there are to buy in the world? What makes your product the one that customers are attracted to and cannot refuse? Also, just because YOU made it, doesn’t make it unique. What spin are you going to put on your creation either the product itself or your approach to marketing that will set it apart?)
My Customer: Who needs your product?
- Describe: (Who is your ideal customer? And don’t say anyone with a credit card! The better you can describe the person you are making your creation for, the easier it will be to find them, meet their needs and then offer your solution.)
- The problem/need this solves: (Now that you have defined your ideal customer, clearly identify the need that your product solves. People need stuff so they buy stuff. Even if you don’t see the connection, try. We have to buy gifts, we have to show our love to others somehow, we have to put beauty in our lives when we are stressed, we all strive to be happy, etc. How can your product solve an issue?)
Selling: List all possible options
- Where I will sell: (Customers don’t show up at your house. What are all the different ways you are going to sell? In person at fairs, festivals, markets, etc.? Indirectly through stores? Online? So many opportunities.)
Money In: Revenue
- I will collect money from customers by (Are you going to run a cash only business or do you need to setup to accept credit cards? A lot will depend on how you answered the last question.)
- Other revenue streams (Do you have any outside monies coming from various sources? Go ahead and list all the ways money is coming in: farmer’s market, online store, craft fair, etc.)
Money Out: Costs
Yes, it takes money to make money. Don’t go out and spend money on things you don’t need. There are plenty of people that will take your money to help you get started. Sometimes those people are good and sometimes they aren’t. Be smart about your expenses and how you need to spend money.
- It costs ____ to make one. (Take into consideration how much money you need to one. If you can make 3 caps with 1 skein of yarn, do the math. You most likely will have to use estimates and you can always come back to adjust. It is important to have a realistic cost for making one of your products.)
- Materials: (List all the materials that you need to make your product. It doesn’t matter if you already own them, write it down.)
- Equipment: (List any equipment that is needed to produce your creation.)
- Web costs (if selling online): (Take the time to research the costs of selling online. If you are using a store front like Etsy, there is no cost. However, if you choose to have more control over the store, there will be costs associated with a store builder, hosting, designing, payment setup or maintenance, depending on your selection.)
- Advertising/Other: (List the amount that you are willing to spend monthly on advertising. This may be advertising on social media sites, on websites, locally in papers or various other options.)
Income Goal (Revenue minus Costs)
- Monthly (How much do you want to bring in each month? Yes, you can say $500 or $10,000. Write down the amount that it will take to help you reach whatever your goals are for you. Maybe you just need to bring in a couple of hundred to pay for your happy hours. Maybe you want to replace your salary so you can stop working. Only you know what this number is.)
- I need to sell ___to meet this. (Taking into consideration how much it costs to make one of your products minus the costs you have, write down a realistic goal of what you need to sell to accomplish your monthly goal from the previous question.)
Marketing Strategy: How I will get customers
- I will advertise through (Knowing how much, if any, you are willing to spend on advertising, will help you list where you will advertise. Consider taking out Facebook or Google ads as a possible resource. Also, consider local ads to serve your ideal customer.)
- I will get referrals through (Never underestimate just how valuable your friends and family will be to help you get started. What about work, church or your email contacts? List all possible sources to help you get referrals.)
What Challenges I May Face: Obstacles preventing you from starting/succeeding
- Challenge #1 (What has kept you from getting started or what do you think will get in your way once you do start? Identify any fears, people, resources that worry you. This will prepare you mentally for overcoming the challenge when or even if it ever happens.)
- Challenge #2 (There probably is something else. Identify it here. Once you get started, don’t let anything keep you from going for what you want!)
What I Need to Get Started
- Establish type of business (LLC, S-Corp, etc.) and complete paperwork (meet with a tax professional in your state); My business type will be _________. (This is one of the most important areas to define after deciding that you want to profit from your hobby. It really is worth a trip in to talk to an accountant, tax preparer or someone you trust who is already in business in your state. Each state is different so you want to ensure you start out in the right for you, and legal, way. Protect your personal assets by selecting the business type that will serve you best.)
- Total amount needed: (Write down the amount of cash you need to get started. You may already have purchased a lot of the materials and equipment so you will not need to include this. Starting today, how much do you need?)
- Time I will devote (hours/week): (We all have the same 24/7. How much time are you going to spend building your business? Write it down. Then write it on your calendar.)
- Other Action Steps: (What do you need to do or get in order before you start? Are there any people you need to discuss your plan with? Is there anything that you need to sell to give you the cash you need to get started? What action do you need to take to put this plan in motion?)
Once you have completed the step-by-step business plan for products, have discussed it with the significant people in your life, you, my friend are ready to begin your journey.
I can’t wait to hear about your success.