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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: 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

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.

It’s ok to Quit

I just closed the yarn portion of my shop but don’t feel sorry because it was not for lack of business. Had plenty of business and being one of the most unique business as a New Age/Yarn Store things can get pretty hectic. No doubt about it I did love my store but honestly something had to give, being a one woman operation can get a bit overwhelming and tiring very quickly. I did have 5 glorious years, working on my 6th with just the yarn alone but I have also had other things that I just really wanted to accomplish. Thus the title of this article “It’s ok to Quit”. Most of us are told things like “don’t be a quitter”, “quitters never win” and etc. etc. Just not true actually knowing WHEN to quit can put you back on the winning track faster than a speeding bullet!!

Yes I do know how to delegate but for me my business is very personal and it is hard to find someone who loves it like I do. When you own a business that is not in the “raking in a million trillion” every year, it can be hard to be able to hire help. BUT I do have a road that I have been wanting to travel down and as previously mentioned, something had to give so it was the yarn. I have had in my head for too many years to count an entire design line that has never even been thought of and in order for me to make that happen I HAD to lighten my load so to speak. I will not lie, it was devastating trying to pick what to cut out because I love all of it but had to be realistic if I wanted to get the other accomplished. Here is how I came to my decisions.

Look at the bottom line, IF you have to let some things go it certainly is a case of who your customers are and I won’t sugar coat it here, where you are making your most money. NO it isn’t always about money but when you own a business you MUST look to the future of how you will or won’t keep your doors open and how you will be able to fulfill your personal goals as well. If you are not grounded and balanced then you will not be giving your customers the best of you and we all know that is a MUST for a successful business. I really struggled with this until I started to look at big business and realized they do it on a constant basis. They keep what works and throw out what doesn’t, how many times have we just loved say a type of cleaner, soap, or even type of food only to find out later it was discontinued because not enough people loved it as much as we did. Unless that particular thing was the only reason you shopped at a store, more than likely you are still shopping there and may or may not be still looking for that certain something to replace what you loved. Again won’t lie here, I was terrified to quit a portion of my business that I started with and the day I did not renew my business license for the yarn I felt sick. It did not last long I am currently working like a crazy person, charting out and planning the new line of designs that I do plan on self publishing and releasing soon and have never felt better about my decision to QUIT a part of my business. Take the plunge, sit down and look hard at what you are doing and see where you can “Quit” a few things.

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