Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Forging Entrepreneurs

A couple of weekends ago I attended Forging Entrepreneurs a seminar providing the Tools and Skills for Business Success. This was put on by SNAG and the Society for Contemporary Craft

First up to speak was Adam Kenney who owns his own business Aka Glass and is the Executive Director of Touchstone Center of Craft. Adam's topic was on knowing your portfolio and looking at your business  through diversified revenue streams to sustain your career. He spoke about 'What is success to you?'. I liked when he talked about success from the four perspectives of finance, art, professional and personal. Good to think of how to balance these areas of life. You could do great professionally but be loosing it personally. He suggested making 1 year, 3 year and 5 year plans of where you want to be along with a plan of where you are now. 

Next up was Michelle Pajak-Reynolds who owns her own couture jewelry business that is about to be on the runway at New York Fashion Week. She was the one that suggested I attend this conference. (Thanks Michelle!) Michelle spoke about Tools to Find and Expand your Customer Base. She talked about finding your customer and interviewing and learning all about your customer. She networks in person 20-30 hours a month in front of her target market. She gave a fantastic speech and even had us practice our networking skills which was good. I must say if Michelle Pajak-Reynolds is speaking anywhere it's a must that you go. She just graduated this past spring with her MBA in Entrepreneurial Business and she is brilliant and going places!

The third speaker was Brigitte Martin is the founder and runs Crafthaus where professional craft artists display their work and connect internationally across all fields of interest. I believe Crafthaus has around 2,000 members and I am one of them. Brigitte spoke about 'What it Really Takes to be a Successful Artist Today'. She talked about having measurable goals that are broken down into clear specific steps with deadlines. She really focused on time management which I know I have trouble with. 
She asked a great question "What motivates me to do my work?" Do you have an answer for yourself?  

Both Michelle and Brigitte made the very important point of 'Build it and they will come' does NOT work. You have to get out of the studio, just having a web page does not count. You need to network, go to events and if jewelry is what you make you must be wearing it. Have business cards ready to pass out! Promote yourself!

There were more seminars but I don't want to give it all away. SNAG plans on making this a yearly event in different areas of the county. My goal is to focus on the business side, write up a well thought out business plan (with charts on pricing, costs and other factors for shows, costs on advertising and so on). I want to jump into the game as well prepared as I can be. 

Do you have a business plan? What's holding you back from writing one?

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