Friday, May 23, 2008

Life is a job. A business is not a job. It is your life.
Seventh blog about starting a business.

OK, here goes: I must now learn to communicate my Business Concept. In other words I need to know how to change my thinking, (and haven't I done a lot of thinking so far?)

from-What is it I want to do?

Oh I just want to have a little shop where people can browse and find interesting and curious items that will somehow make their day. (Kind of romantic isn't it? I mean who wouldn't want to open something like that? Calmly opening the store and calmly arranging items and calmly enjoying customers and ... Geese who really believes this kind of stuff? We all know it would be work, but I certainly don't know it will be mountainous! This is why I am taking this course. I don't like surprises that are more work for me. You know that cute puppy your child's friend gives him for a birthday present. No thank you.

to- What customers need or want and how will I sell it to them?

OK, here is where I am learning how to put that nebulous idea into reality. Ba-Humbug! Who want to spoil a good daydream with reality? I mean really? Would you get married as fast as you did if you knew that marriage is work? I don't mean labor, that is for later, but a marriage is a job. You have your staff: Husband, dog, cat and children. Did anyone ever tell you that you would be up till 4 am sewing Easter dresses? Did anyone ever tell you that getting along with another person who is very up close and personal was going to be work?

Heck no! And we wouldn't have listened anyway.

I tell my daughters don't go dumb when you fall in love, but I know they will. A great education, great opportunities and boom they go dumb. I'm not really grousing. Just observing, for all those who have little girls. Just remember, even if you think their choice for a husband is not good enough, remember your mother. Yes, and write a "I am sorry letter to your mother. For putting her through all she had to go through with you."

That paragraph didn't have anything to do with starting a business, except if you are a female and you have a husband you may have to work around him. I think most husbands are supportive of ideas we have, if we can get them done by 5 pm have the house clean, the children fed and the dogs and cats groomed. No really. You gotta be realistic about certain things. Hire a maid, get grandma to take the kids a couple days a week, and just have a crazy love life for the guy who supports anything you want to do. After all they married you not a marriage.

Here is a statement. An idea is not a concept. Just the beginning of one. So just thinking you have an idea doesn't move it to the next level.

Here are some statements to consider.

  • What does the product or service do?

Well, I would like to provide shabbily-mid century, vintage decor for people to buy and take home and love. One of the problems I have with selling things is I have protective issues. When I go to a garage sale, or thrift shop I look for the things I love. They are usually items that I have to wash or clean or fix. It is hard to sell them for nothing, because I want the people who want them to buy them. I have orphan issues. Gotta get over that.

How is it different from other products/ services?

My decor would be re purposed items. Items that may have done or looked one way then changed to another way. Vintage items, furniture, wall decor, linens etc. Also I want to be a "finder." A person who can find what you are looking for. Help the customer find someone who can re-purpose it or clean it or reupholster it or fix it somehow. In other words find a home for the lost orphan. See orphan issues again. But that is how I will be different.

Who will buy it?

Now that really is the 64,000 dollar question isn't it. Who will buy it? Will it mostly be locals? Will I need to start a class on how to use vintage in your home. Not a bad idea, just another thing to do. Will I need to take some of my wares to the craft fairs around the state to advertise? Will people who are driving down the interstate want to stop? How will they get items that are large to their homes?

  • Why will they buy it? Is the product or service different from other products/services?

OK I know there have been flea markets around here, but not now. Will this be a good place to start? Do I need to promote a crafts fair in my hometown? Will my products be unique enough for people to drive here just for shopping at my store? Or will they be too unique that it will intrigue those who love it, but have no money, and scare away those who don't love it, but have money?

  • Where will it be sold?
I have a building that I am looking at in the downtown area of my little town,Which is one of the things I have wanted to do to help the downtown area. I love our small town, but it needs unique places to pull people there. Wal mart can provide you with the usual and needed, but a cool downtown can bring people who want to visit a small but creative small town. Nostalgia reigns! But, I also have a great and very creative place that I would love to host a maker faire or crafts fair or just a large flea market fair. It would be sooooo cool. Can't tell ya, cause it is just too cool.

  • When will it be ready to be sold?
I am assuming ASAP. These items I have plenty of and want to sell them. But when is a good question. I guess I will find out as I continue with this course. At least I am hoping it will answer and give me a handle on how to get a building, and stock it and sell, sell, sell!

  • How will it be promoted and sold?
I hope to use Newspapers, local and out of town. The free newspapers, fliers at our local shops and especially at the lake lodge not far from here and the information stations around the state set up for people driving into the state. Maybe even in the college newspapers, but I do know that college students are always poor. So, I welcome their spending, but I don't think I can count on it.

Here is the last thing to note. A business Concept is brief. They want you to think of an elevator conversation. I should be able to describe my business concept in the time it would take me to ride in an elevator to the next floor. YIKES

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