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Opening a Contemporary or Paint Your Own Pottery Studio
Part Three - The Business Plan
By Connie Speer - The Pottery Consultant

     This article is written specifically for those considering opening a ceramic studio and are stumped in regards to writing a business plan. It should not be construed as the definitive word on business plans, but more as a springboard for those having difficulty in getting started with this important aspect of their new business. When you hire The Pottery Consultant and choose our Full Consulting Program to help you open your new studio, a full business plan template along with startup budget/capital requests, cash flow projections, equipment and bisque supplier letter’s of intent, marketing mailing lists, marketing material samples and other items needed for the bank conventional or SBA loans are all provided.

     Still thinking about opening a contemporary studio?  Raring to go, but you need money, right? Well, then you will need a business plan. Any bank or individual that you want to borrow money from to open a new business is going to ask to see your business plan. Even if you are already funded, a business plan is necessary. So let’s begin with what a business plan is and an overview of what goes in it.

     The business plan is a written document of detailed and accurate information that conveys excitement and viable profit and growth for a new business venture. Bankers or backers will ask to see it, and you must be prepared to answer questions regarding the information you put into it. The business plan can also serve to be an annual review for your company, and adjusted as the needs arise.

     Where do you start? Where do you get the information you need to prepare the plan? This article can help you create your business plan by providing you with content outlines, online and government sources for forms and other sources for the information specific to the contemporary industry. It will also give you some sources for funding. It won’t do the work for you. Only you can do that. If you want your new business to be successful, you will work very hard to make sure the information gathered is as detailed and accurate as possible. And you will work very hard to put the information into action, because that is truly what it will all be about in regards to your profitable success. Resources will follow this article for more information and research.

     There are many sources available for business plan forms that you can find, print out and simply fill in the blanks. Better to have several different kinds of business plan outlines, and then to create your own customized version. Make sure you include the key components that will be mandatory, but don’t simply do a color-by-number business plan. Many bankers will recognize such plans for what they are.
     Here are the key categories to make sure you include. Next to or underneath each category are sources for the information.

I) Cover Sheet - you
II) Statement of Purpose - you
III) Table of Contents - you
IV) The Business-
     A) Executive Summary - Overview of What and Why - you and your consultant
     B) Company Description - Detail of What and Why - you and your consultant
     C) Management/Key Personnel - Resumes and Bios or Vitas - you
     D) Product and Services - Detail of What and How - you and your consultant
     E) Marketing - Analyses and Strategies - realtor, Chamber of Commerce, and your consultant
     F) Competition - Who and Where - you
     G) Operation Procedures - How, What and Who - you and your consultant
IV) Financials-
     A) Capital Requests - Equipment, Supplies, Finish-out, Expenses - you, your consultant and your accountant
     B) Balance Sheet - you and your accountant
     C) Projection Sheets - Three years - you, your consultant and your accountant
     D) Breakeven Sheets - you and your accountant
     E) Cash Flow - you and your accountant
     F) Documents
          1) Personal Financial Statement - you and your accountant
          2) Tax Returns - you and your accountant
          3) Lease Copy - you, your realtor, your lawyer and your accountant
          4) Letters of Intent – suppliers
          5) Other legal documents, as needed or requested – you

     The above may seem quite intimidating to those of you that have never written a business plan, and certainly to those of you who are not writers at all. Don’t worry. Get a legal pad or notebook, and start simply by creating a page for each of the above categories with the heading at the top of the page. Write down what you do know, or make notes to get the information from the suggested sources. Then research the below information thoroughly, and go back to your legal pad. Keep researching and making notes until you have enough material to begin putting information into sentences and tables. Write your first draft. Edit and revise it. Submit it to your consultant and accountant. After they make notes and ask questions, edit and revise it again.

Where to find business plans and other information -
Best Books – 
Business Plans for Dummies by Tiffany and Peterson
The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies by Abrams
Local SBA Banks – tip: Find your local SBA offices - have a pre-meeting with them so they can advise you of all the necessary components of an SBA proposal and to see if you qualify.

And if you hire The Pottery Consultant, the full blown business plan and all the necessary components of it, are part of your consulting package. And they are already in SBA approved format in case you want or need to go that way!

The Pottery Consultant is a division of American Ceramic Supply Co.
2442 Ludelle Street  Fort Worth, Texas  76105

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