In starting this business, I knew I needed to come up with a plan first. Not necessarily a full on business plan. In essence, my business is simple in that it is making sewn goods and selling them online and eventually at craft fairs and handmade markets. Coming from a project management background, I’m making use of those skills to break down the large pieces into smaller, more manageable chunks.
First, I felt that I needed to stay true to my business school roots and come up with my mission, vision, and values. This is the foundation on which I wanted to start this business. All too often I’ve seen businesses do this after years of operating to either look good in the public’s eye or because they have grown into a diverse organization and are trying to figure out how to get everyone on board. Right now, this is just me, but who knows where I will be in the future with this side business.
I spent a good deal of time figuring out my products. Some will are planned for launch and others will be added later as the business grows and develops. Since there isn’t a sample work breakdown structure for an online handmade business site such as this one, I’m doing things as I think of them. I’m sure my planning could be better, but I am going through the stages in my head and I will write a more formal plan soon.
This first stage is figuring out the what. Specifically, what am I selling. What sizes will they come in? What are all the measurements I need to know before I can make prototypes? Are there any tools I need that I don’t currently own? Contingency planning in case there is a problem with supply, demand, or my equipment is also on my mind.
I’ve checked out the legal aspects and I don’t currently need a business number. That won’t come up unless I need to hire someone that isn’t a contractor. I likely won’t be there for quite a while.
I also need to get my work space in shape. There are some things I need to refresh myself on in terms of which threads for which fabrics before I get my raw materials inventory going. I have some fabrics on hand because they spoke to me when I saw them much like characters speak to novelists.
To get out of the planning stage, I need to answer a lot of questions and get organized. I’m not using a traditional project management method for this. I’m running this project rather like a continuous improvement exercise. In planning I’m establishing a baseline, identifying priorities, and setting goals/standards.
First, I have a couple of personal projects that can’t wait, such as a guitar case I need to finish so I can bring my guitar in for free maintenance. I bought it a little less than a year ago and it came with one free tune up, which expires on April 28th. As I haven’t changed the strings ever, it’s likely due.