Owning your own Business Series: Ready to Open

Sorry about that, got a little sidetracked and yes it was about business. Ok I am going to assume at this point you have read thru all of the other articles, taken what you feel is useful and now you are ready. By this time you should currently be setting up your shop/store with shelves, decorations, painting, cleaning, and your inventory should be arriving at a furious pace. Do expect to be a bit overwhelmed but don’t stress too much about this current process. It really should be more exciting than stressful and at this point if you do have great friends who are willing to give you a helping hand, PLEASE ACCEPT THE HELP. Do not be surprised if your vision for one display does not turn out like you want to, it isn’t a big deal, rearrange until you are satisfied with it and go on to the next thing. Be sure to not forget to eat right and rest right at this time, you will not get anything done if you over extend yourself so keep up a little bit of “you” time, such as maybe a 10 minute break with a favorite cup of coffee, treat yourself to a 5 minute nap and well you get the picture.

Because mail and or UPS deliveries can be late, be sure that you have an opening date that is far enough in the future to allow you to get all of your planned inventory in. This happens, it isn’t always the delivery people who are at fault, weather plays a big role in delaying of deliveries. So if you have decided to open in certain seasons, keep in mind just because it is not raining in your area doesn’t mean that somewhere it is and it can make alot of things stand still. Ok going to assume all went well, you are ready to open your doors and welcome the public to your new found adventure. Congrats You did it. feel free to email me crochetqueen1 at yahoo dot com and let me know what you decided to open.

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Owning your own Business Series: License, Inspections, Insurance and Sales/Use Taxes

No matter where you decide to do business, you will need to have a license. The best way to find out is to look up your County AND City requirements so that you will not be in violation of any kind that can easily cause you a set back to getting your business started. To my knowledge all states require you to have a Sales/Use ID number so that you can pay your taxes on a quarterly basis and you may even have to put down a deposit of some sort as yes alot of people do open a business without doing all their homework and next thing you know they are closed, didn’t pay the taxes and etc. etc. The deposit in my state of Nevada did get put as a credit on my account after a year but please check with your area to get the proper requirements and again to my knowledge you will need the Sales/Use weather you work out of your home or out of a shop. Depending on WHERE your business is located you will be required to have a state and or a city license. In some places both are required again check with your local area to determine exactly what necessary license will be required for your business as you really do not want to get a visit from them or even a worse a notice to shut down immediately and yes that does happen so again get your proper license.

At some point while applying for a license you will need to get your place of business inspected, I can hear your groaning, but really this is a great thing. If you have a shop you do want to make sure your customers will be able to shop in a safe environment and of course if you have rented a space you certainly want to make sure that your shop is safe and in no danger of say a fire or the electricity going out constantly. Inspectors are nice people, they are there for not only the public’s protection but yours as well so don’t treat it lightly and if there is something that needs to be taken care of, do our best to get them done asap. The longer you prolong that the longer your doors will be closed to the public. Don’t forget to get a fire extinguisher you will need one no matter what type of business, again you WANT one right ? Do a once over your shop to make sure there is not loose carpet, tiles or anything that someone can trip over or get hurt on. You will need Business insurance and I use my home owner insurance guy for that so ask your current insurance provider as they may also cover your business and this will certainly give you a good discount if you have your business, cars, homes all lumped into one policy. Ok going to assume at this point you have it all ready to go next week be ready to open.

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Owning your own Business Series: Keeping records & Accepting money

Nope you are not ready to open yet because you need to serious think about HOW you will keep track of our inventory. I have not mentioned the IRS yet but will do so now, you do not want to make mistakes in this area EVER and how you will avoid that is by keeping meticulous records on every single thing that goes on in your business. You do not need to buy an expensive POS (point of sale) system, if you can afford it then go with it but if you can’t there are several other inexpensive bookkeeping software that also doubles as inventory trackers. Keep every single receipt if it has to do with your business, if your business happens to be a one person operation like mine is, FORCE yourself to do your record keeping at least once a week. You will thank me later for repeating this “RECORD KEEPING AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK”, no excuses DO IT. Do a little research on a software that will work best for the type of business you are doing. I use microsoft excel but I was an accountant for most of my life and if you do not have the experience, no worries get yourself some easy to learn software and I have heard that Quick books is easy to learn and use but I have no clue so check it out. Use properly labeled file folders to keep all of your receipts in, again this will make things so much easier if you have to go hunt for a certain invoice, your last months power bill OR a receipt for office supplies. Make these things HABITS and they will come naturally to you. Let’s just say that IRS did come to audit your business, I hope they never do but the reality is they could. If you have everything organized, neat, and easily assessable the agents can quickly look for whatever it is they want and the time spent is short on both of your parts….see there is a crazy reason for being organized.

How will you accept your customers money ? Things change at a quick rate on how people can spend their money and think to the future with this. Since I have opened, I only accept Master Card/Visa and cash. I have my merchant account thru my bank and that works great for me but that might not work for you. Again think very carefully because yes certain credit card companies and merchants have requirements. Merchants may require that you do say at least $5000 in sales per month to get a certain rate and if you don’t then that rate is doubled, BE CAREFUL what you set up. Lower is always better and if you make more YAY. Also make sure if you are going to accept ALL credit cards that they too do not have a certain amount that they require you to reach in sales each month. If you read very carefully all of the do’s and don’ts or you could do what I did, went into the bank and said I want this, this and this can you do that, and they could. You are almost ready to move forward to open your business. Hopefully I am not sounding like a negative, unhappy business owner because I am not, I LOVE my business but really just want to give all the real information so that no one get’s stuck with a bill you can’t afford. Yes it did happen to me which is really why I decided to pass on what I know so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

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Owning your own Business Series: Finding Vendors

At this point you should have done your homework, the business you have decided to open is needed and etc. etc. Now where will you buy your goods from ? Wholesale vendors can be both easy and hard to find AND again I promised no lying, some can me a nightmare to work with. You want to read every little thing on “their” requirements. Be very careful about any wholesale vendor that requires you to purchase a certain amount of product from them every single month OR if they want to automatically charge your account every month. The reason I caution against that is let’s say you find what you feel is a great product and of course you want to think positive, you can move $500.00 wholesale price of that every month. You get your great product at a great price AND your customers won’t even look at it. YIKES yes this does happen and first let me say do not panic, you won’t get it right every single time and it isn’t a big deal but the really big deal is here UH OH you signed up for automatic payment and a promise to move so much of whatever this product is……be careful, again read their requirements before making a huge commitment. Finding good vendors to fit your needs takes some time, don’t just use the first one you find. Do your research and find several, in this case variety is going to be your best bet.

Next is price, it is a very good idea to make sure that you will be able to mark up no less than 50% if you can mark up more than 50% that is great but yes there is going to be times that 50% is all you are going to get BUT if you will be selling quite a bit of that product at 50% mark up that will be much better than only selling a few at a 70% mark up. The bottom line is the key here. Another key factor in selecting vendors are what is the minimum order ? Yes almost all wholesale vendors have a minimum order again you want to be selective here because sadly yes there will be times when you really want to make that sale but just don’t have $500 on hand to buy with. Depending on the product, that may be worth it and it may not be, planning is so important with keeping your inventory full, saying it again CHOOSE CAREFULLY. Now last but not least to import or not import. I say maybe and it depends on what you are importing. If you happen to find this fantastic product that you feel will really fly off your shelves AND again you have done your homework, no one for miles around are selling this fantastic product and if it is selling online, you can sell it at the same price and people will come buy from you because taa daaa no shipping. In this case I say IMPORT. Remember when you import you usually will have to import a large amount of something to make it worth while. Make charts and notes so that you can see EXACTLY how, if people did buy the product, will play out.

Owning your own Business Series Where to put it

You have decided what your business will be and now it is time to figure out if you need office space, web space, or if it will just be done out of your home. I have ran a small craft type business from home and this was my problem; getting things done. I would do everything that needed to be done such as laundry, cleaning, what to make for dinner and on and on. So I discovered I do not have that type of personality that makes it great for me to work out of my home. Office space for me it has to be. If you happen to be the type that can easily work from home then I say go for it and I am glad for you, again I am not the type that can do that. Next I want you to sit down and SERIOUSLY think out this scenario and yes this is necessary before you sign a lease. Think this is your slow slow month, how much money would it take for you to barely get by for a couple of months? You need to include in this figure ALL overhead costs such as electricity, phone, any payments that you may have incurred to get started such as credit cards or loan payments, I think you get the idea here. Now the reason this is necessary is because YES you will have these months, all new business’ do and you don’t want to have a high rent expense hanging over your head but you also don’t want to start your business in a dump either.

Next is as always location location location, this does matter. Say you decided to open a yarn shop, well you do not want to be next to a craft type store than can easily sell yarn and a much cheaper rate than you can because they buy in bulk and well you are a little business and can’t buy in bulk yet, so maybe in a nice downtown area, next to a book store, or if you live in a small town like I do then just about anywhere can be doable. Next is security, you don’t want to have your customers worrying about their safety coming to your business so dark back alleys are out UNLESS this fits into your type of business. Parking, is there enough parking, if it snows in your area is that street plowed or can it be cleared by you as customers won’t come if they can not easily get to you. Size and storage space as you will need a small area for yourself, you know for snacking and having a cup of coffee when you are not working hard. Heat and air conditioning are also important and yes I did have to figure a few things out as my business is in a house that was built in 1867 and yes you guessed it no modern heat or air but I solved that with portable heaters and a portable swamp cooler. Does the place have the flavor or character to suit your type of business ? How much will you have to invest in it in order to get it business worthy to open your doors ? Again depending on the type of business you decided on, in that area of town will they allow your type of business and who are your business neighbors ? These may seem like small things but trust me they are not and just a bit of checking before signing any type of lease can save you alot of headaches down the road. Yes it may seem that you are looking forever for the right place but don’t settle as you really want the place you finally choose to be a location for a good long time. When you do finally find your perfect or pretty darn near perfect place, SIGN A LEASE. I signed my first lease for 2 years and never regretted it as it kept my rent low which is the purpose of signing one, read the lease very carefully before you sign.

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Owning your Own Business Series: Advice and Opinions

The reason I feel it is necessary to start with this first is because once you put it out there: I am THINKING about opening my own business; I am WONDERING about just being self employed; I am TIRED of working for someone else OR however you choose to word it, once spoken there will be many of your friends, co workers and people you hardly know who will start with all of their well intentioned advice. Now before you take any of that advice OR think that they don’t know what they are talking about stop and LISTEN. One of the best things that you can do is learn how to listen. Working for yourself no matter what type of business will require you to learn how to listen, what to retain and what not to retain. I have learned the most valuable lessons from people that have never even owned a business but have either wanted to or have worked for some of the most successful people. You can gain a ton of knowledge by conversations with just about anyone including teens and small kids. Yes there will be times when you will certainly be thinking well yes this is a great and interesting conversation but I just don’t think I am going to learn anything here or the ever famous gee I hope I never have to resort to that when the truth is that sometimes if you are self employed you may have to resort to that and some of that useless information will be the very thing that will keep you afloat.

If you have decided what type of business you are wanting to open, best thing to do is to talk to EVERYONE and I mean an entire range as big as possible to remember who will be your best customers, which ones will be your sometimes customers, and last but not least how you can possibly lure in those who say they would NEVER be your customer. ***When I say lure hopefully that doesn’t sound like you are trying to convert people to buy something they don’t really need or want, what I mean by it is that you will want to actually serve everyone you can so if with your chosen business there is a way to serve them in a comfortable manner then that is what you will want to eventually do.*** You are free of course to take advice and opinions on your chosen business and keep in mind that no matter what business you decided on not everyone will be your type of customer. Yes we all want to win everyone over but don’t concentrate on those that you can’t “lure” in right away. Eventually you will want to plan out how to do that but when you first start out you want to kinda get a guestimate on who WILL be your customers and what better way to do that than to talk to others. Unless you are rubbing elbows with millionaires, I wouldn’t worry too much about someone stealing your business idea just yet but also don’t give away your entire game plan as yes you never know who is listening.

Here is my recommendations to get to a “hmmm I may be on to something stage”:
1. Decide what type of business you have in mind.
2. Can that type of business be branched out later to reach a larger amount of people.
3. Who would be your regular customers in the beginning.
4. Make sure there is not already many variations of this business in your area already.
5. Is it possible to start small and branch out.
6. Did you get alot of negative feedback from your peers/friends/acquaintances
7. Think about what scares you the most about taking this step to owning and running your own business.

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Owning your own Business Series

I have been asked ALOT about what it is like setting up and running your own business and living the life that you want. I want to be VERY clear, I am not an expert on this subject and yes somewhere either online or in person, there are plenty of others that are much more qualified and far more successful than I am. What I will promise you is the honest, dirty little secrets, truth about how it actually is. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme or you expect this series to be filled with OH MY this is all such wonderful stuff with fluffy butterflies and angels singing….NOPE that will not be coming from me, sorry. Nothing depressing or hopefully won’t be discouraging anyone who wants to either start their own business or wants to kinda compare if you are heading in the right direction and at what point do you say time to change things up.

I can only tell you how it has been working or not working for me and again I want to clarify very carefully, this is how “I” have done it and it will be my experiences, what I have tried so far, why certain things did not work and why certain things have worked. It won’t be a “do it like this or else you will fail” but hopefully more of a down and dirty to the point of what it really takes to run a business, how to keep afloat during those lean times (yeah they don’t tell you any of that in the run your own business seminars and how to get rich books), what I have done to keep my chin up, my opinion on when to switch sides so to speak, and many more subjects. I have read just about every book on how to run a successful business, how to be positive, how to’s on just a huge amount of information but again not one speaks on the deep dark scary secrets (ok I will stop it with that stuff, just kidding). None of it will contain how to get rich quick, I will not require you to buy anything but what I would like to ask of you please, if any of my up coming articles help you in any way….PASS IT ON. If you really want to give something if they help you Please consider giving a monetary donation to your favorite Animal place, such as a shelter, pet sanctuary, non kill shelters or adopt a shelter animal. Not too much to ask ? Also feel free to email me your thoughts even if you think I suck, all criticism are accepted as I think that will be the first article, how much “friend” advice should you take or in a more simple term, if they really knew all that then why don’t they have a business. Yes I am just a tad sarcastic but it is my style so again hopefully this series will help those who are thinking of getting their feet wet and living the “I own my own Company” life. Oh yeah you need an email it is crochetqueen1 at yahoo dot com sorry don’t want robots getting it.

Welcome 2015 and TAA DAAA

I always try my hardest with this computer stuff but finally I GIVE UP sorta. There will be no more look at the fancy schmancy from me, the fact is I am one heck of a business person, accountant, crocheter, knitter, writer about it and a few other things but I am NOT a computer geek. From know on I will do what I can computer wise and I have certainly given the “I want it to look shiny” a good try but I have also wasted countless number of hours to do it. Yes I could pay someone but again being honest I can’t afford that and just like I won’t work for free I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. This won’t be bad it will just be one less thing that I will stress about and I can get back to writing more and really enjoying it.

Thanks to all of you that have stuck around waiting for me to come to these silly realizations but hey I can walk away from my computer program flops with my head held high. Oh how I am ever so grateful to those of you who do it and for those of you who take HUGE pity on me and give free themes, widgets, and other things that will help me make it look a little cool anyway. What you can expect to see is more on the craft side, especially Machine Knitting that I am in love with right now, and of course other sporadic crafts. I still do have my shop open but have stopped selling yarn, but I am designing more and making more stuff. How I did it was to let go of some of the things I am just not good at and although presentation is very important, again prefer to concentrate more on what I am good at. Happy New Year all and get to crafting.

Modular Crochet back in Print

Oh I had such big plans for keeping up with this site but life does tend to get in the way when you own a business, still do custom crochet and lots of other irons in the fire.  But this news just can NOT wait, look what I found Modular Crochet this is simply amazing and probably about the most popular crochet book EVER.  Yes crochet has never really gotten a good reputation for making garments as some see it as being stiff, un moldable so to speak, no drape and on and on.  Ok throw all that out the window and get your copy of this book right now.  You will not be disappointed and it does show you how to make some pretty simple but yet at the same time over elegant crochet pieces that you can customize to fit your various needs.  If  you have never seen this book, I suggest you ask around to other crocheters and get a glimpse inside.  Everything is simply fabulous to make, Yes you can use any type of yarn, super easy to follow patterns and I guarantee when you get started you will get filled up with a ton more of ideas to put your own twist on the various patterns.  Please spread this news around as I am positive it will sell out very quickly.

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Website extenstions .co vs .com

This is a bit of business craft related and as some of you know I also own other websites that I try to keep up on and one of those is a very very popular one call www.groovycrochet.co now how I ended up with that site is no one has really done anything with it since 2001 so I decided to put it back up and try to revive it, which I have been doing.  I have also been trying for several years to buy the groovycrochet.com which is owned by a nasty nasty foreign company (go type in www.groovycrochet.com to get the name of the company so I don’t get sued calling them names on here) now they have ownership of it and are under the impression that I am either made of money (quit laughing) and or that I am somehow a fool and willing to pay a ridiculous price.  Recently I thought they had come to their senses and turns out they haven’t and at this point I no longer even want that extension of my site because well they have held on to it for too long AND pretty much making it worthless.

Why I KNOW it is now worthless is one it has been 14 years they have held on to it with no activity and two, I own the co extension.  I have been pretty happy with that and I recently read an article and found out not only do I actually come out a winner with this but I do not need the .com as the .co is actually taking over with alot of websites so yes I highly recommend that you invest in purchasing the nameofyoursite.co because once you get that up and running AND continue to use it guess what ?  The search engines (we all know how important a search engine is to getting listed) will list your .co site way before your .com site.  Hope that made some sense.  So needless to say I will no longer be in pursuit…ahhh who am I kidding I do not have that kind of money to buy the .com but it is nice to know that I got the better end of the deal in the website name game.

It is very frustrating that these companies buy up website names and hold them hostage for not only me but many others as well BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel which is why I am spilling the beans here, THEY ARE NOT INVESTING IN THE .CO because it is just a bit more expensive (thank you to the domain goddess for this little help) to register a .co domain and it will not be profitable for them SO with that in mind go get that website name you have been wanting.  Stay tuned and continue to craft.

 

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