Wednesday, October 29

Holiday Business...

Well today or this week rather I have been pondering the idea of the coming Holidays...
I wondered which do I go; which way do I go...

I started filling my boutique with Holiday Cards back in July and have done many if not plenty of promotional sale ideas that to this day still have not panned out in my favor. I did Christmas in July, BUY 2 get 2 and more... Well we are just a few days to Halloween (which I have had no success) and getting closer to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. I have many Holiday Cards in both my boutiques Handcrafted by LaMar and Handcrafted by LaMar (ETSY).

I have tried my hand at consignment deals and local shops in the area, so this Holiday Season I think I am gonna try again as one way to generate revenue. Social Networks are great tools but many times if the members are not active then you get nowhere as fast as you got there. Advertising is key! This is something I am familiar with and know from working in the fashion industry for a little over 3 years, but money, not only the root of all evil but the power to make things happen, is not in my corner.

My company has had a wonderful year and great exposure but the mechanics or internal management was tough. I have spent plenty on material and show pieces just to get the traffic and sales I have today, but if I knew what I knew now I think I would up more then I am today.

My point here is, with the coming Holidays rushing in and the economy slumping low,
What are you doing to improve or keep your business afloat?
What can you change?
Have you even thought of a plan?

Share with us and let us know... Many of us are always open to new ideas and forms of growing our business.

Monday, October 27

Pricing Your Goods Part 2 w/Chris Parry

So what's step 2 when it comes to pricing your goods?
Well before you get too deep here maybe take a quick glance at Part 1 of this story:

Step 2 is simply this:
You need to (for a short while, we will come back to market value) forget what everyone else is selling a similar item for. Then you need to figure out what it ACTUALLY costs YOU to make the item.

This is broken down into four simple things:

ONE-Raw Materials. What is the actual cost of the materials used to make the item, including any waste produced.

Example: if you pay $30 per kilogram for a block of stone to carve a beautiful butterfly that in the end only weighs 100 grams, you don't charge for the stone that is left, you charge for the stone that you bought.

TWO-Labor. We can on for hours about labour but it is just like this. If you want to earn $20,000 year, crafting 40 weeks a year at 40 hours a week, which equals 1,600 hours a year, to earn $20,000 a year, you would have to charge $12.50 an hour JUST for labour.

THREE-Overhead. Everyone has overhead cost. Overhead is how much it costs you to run your business, with or without any orders. Things like, electric, gas, travel, rent, insurance, advertising, etc...This isn't a bill thats paid out of your pocket. It is a bill that is built into the cost of your product.

"Do you think that Mr. Coca cola pays for the running of his factories himself, or do you thing that part of your purchase price actually pays for it?",
says Chris.

So lets say that you spend $10,000 a year running your business, and you already stated that you will work 1,600 hours a year (40 wks @ 40 hrs a wk), for each working hour, you should be charging $6.25 per product.

"This isn't a rip-off, it is the cost of ACTUALLY making the product." , says Chris.

FOUR-Profit. Not a dirty word. Profit is how your business makes money. You already charged for labor, which is great because that will be spent on silly things like food and rent and by the end of the week it will all be gone. You have alreay charged for the raw materials, which you have already spent on the item and you have already charged for overheads which will go to those nice people like, Mr Electric Man, or Mr Phone Man, or Mr Business Insurance Man. So your business does need to make a profit. This profit is what will sit in your bank and make your bank manager happy as it grows. It is this money that you can then invest back into the business, so if you want to pay for advertising in a glossy magazine, to get even more business, then it is this profit that will pay for that, to make your business GROW. So profit is not a dirty word but VASTLY overlooked.

This price you now have for your product is called a WHOLESALE price, which means that if you sell your item at this price, shops will come along, buy it, you ill make a living and a profit and they will then typically add 100%-300% (or whatever) and sell it to the public.

Heres a FREE spreadsheet on Chris Parry's blog,
which you can download and it will help you through the process.

Chris tells me he put it up on his blog last December
and it has been downloaded over 20,000 times.

I must say I have downloaded the spreadsheet and found it very useful. I use it all the time because this is a business to me. My regular 9 to 5 is a part time gig and pays $14000 (approx) annually and I'd rather make that doing what I love, but I will not see it if I am not charging the amount per card... Again for some this is just for fun but for those out there like me trust me you need this!

Chris said in closing, "Ask Auntie sue what you should sell your precious hamster warmer for or actually work out what you should be selling it for."

Thank for reading and I hope this helps many like it did for me.
Article post original written by Chris Parry re-written by La-Mar D Lynch Thank you and see you later...

Remember if you think big,
feel big and act big about your business
your business will one day become big....

Saturday, October 25

Surviving your business during bad times…

Again we seem to be back on the topic of a budget. It seems that a budget is a sure way to guarantee seeing some growth in revenue and income while running a business. I for one know that a budget is what I needed to see the growth of my company.

Like many of you this all started as a hobby and not too much thought went into turning my craft into a business. One reason for that was because of money! Money to start and build a business, material, production and advertising costs. After a yearlong intensive research into my industry, I found I was not the only person who thought this way, so I decided to give it a try. I use to just go shopping with no aim or direction and craft card after card. I started with a paid site, which got no traffic or sales but found a way to make holes in my pocket. Then I found, which is a great place to sell hand made goods. My sales/revenue were low and my expenses were high. I joined many social networks in an attempt to go the word out about my business and even did the online marketing thing. I will testify that a network is where you need to be to spread the word of your business, but online marketing? Well that needs to be researched and done correctly to see the right results for the money you put in. I also did a bunch of free classified ads as well, but I warn you of the pranksters and scammers out there.

Now 2 years old, with 1 of those years actually selling my cards, I have made great strides in running a successful small business, but today with the economy the way it is I wonder how much longer I can do it. I do crafts shows/fairs and even there you can feel the pinch of this failing economy. That’s when I realized I needed to buckle down and create a budget for the future of my business. I was so used to just going shopping, like a kid in a candy store, I bought whatever was glittered like gold…crafting card after card but if I were to continue conducting business I would need to know what was going. What does it cost to make one card and to ship it? This show cost this, that and third…if I make no money what did I accomplish? Will it lead to future revenue/income?

I suggest recognizing what your financial needs are when it comes to crafting. Don’t buy extra if its not needed. Maybe sketch a new design before you make it, this way you know what you need or want before you walk out the store with the entire stockroom. When you do your next show/event be sure to know what you can do if sales are low and nowhere to be found, to guarantee future sales.

Remember this is your Home-based Small Business, and like a regular job it’s to make money for yourself, home and future. Until the economy picks up, be sure to save what you can don’t spend what you don’t need to spend. Tomorrow your business will thank you for it…

Monday, October 20

Pricing Your Goods Part 1

This article post was original done by a great business minded Etsy Seller: Chris Parry of
Chris Parry -Handmade jewelry, rings, earrings and silver gifts.
I was given permission by the author to post this article here on my blog
and you know I had to throw a few cents of my own.

"First of all, if you spend 300 hours hand stitching a quilt for $100, this article post may not be for you. If you love your craft so much that you are thrilled to get back the cost of raw materials, this article post still may not be for you." says, Chris.

"This is for those who have taken their craft to another level and created a serious business."

"There are two ways to price your goods for sale [on] in my humble opinion."

Step one...
Once you make the item/product, you can look at it and kind of think what it should sell for. $20 or consider charging what a store like 'Walmart' is selling it for ($20) or you can consider the fact that Auntie Sue said she would only give you $20 for it.

Chris pokes fun and says, "if this is you, please read no further. Instead please wait until it is raining, then go and stand outside for an hour until you are really quite wet. Now come back inside, take your wet clothes to the laundry cleaner in town and ask them how much it will cost to have them cleaned and dried. Surprisinginly they won't say $1, because that is how much you can clean them for yourself. They won't say $1, beacuse that is all Autnie Sue is willing to pay. Instead they will say $5 (or whatever) because thats is price that will help them run and keep their business, pay their bills, make a living and clear a profit."

This is a serious point Chris makes here, because there are some people out there that do exactly that and those actions halt and hinder others who are doing this as a buisness to make profit. 'PIF'- Pay It Forward- is one of those things I my self do not like. PIF is when a seller only charges listing fee and transaction/merchant fees. This makes a $4 item 75 cents. Personally unfair to those who work hard at their craft and now have to compete with aonther who is just about giving it away for the sake of sale number mark-ups. I feel if you are not doing this for profit then be a not-for-profit organization.

So what's step 2 when it comes to pricing your goods? Well to find out what Chris Parry has to say, step by next week Tuesday for "Pricing Your Goods Part2". Get a FREE spreadsheet download to help you with your pricing and more insight...

Special Thanks to Chris Parry and to you for reading.

Business Diversity:

Growth and Development!
Every business formulates a strategy/plan in its start-up phase. They find an audience to target their sales and buying power.
An audience is a group of people or places a business
would sell or offer its product(s)/service(s) to.
Card makers and jewelers for example have a common audience which makes up just about 85% of their buyers; WOMEN.
When I first ventured into the greeting card industry I did all the proper research when drawing up my business plan and found there were a lot of grey areas still not explored by many card manufacturers. Born in New York City, an American Citizen of Caribbean descent, I noticed a void in this industry amongst many of my foreign counterparts. Not to mention the lack of cards for us men that are not all mushy and soft. At first glance I took it as areas that were untouchable or just hard to be reached. By far this was a misconception on my behalf. Realizing and understanding the many cultures blossoming in this country everyday, I find it to be an important of business.
Being a sole proprietor, not just in the aspect of Tax and Finance, but the sole creator, designer, marketing agent, PR and rep for my business, its hard to cover details such as Business Diversification. But truthfully all one would have too do is walk outside, turn on a radio/television, browse the weekend circulars, etc...
The world changes everyday and for that matter so must our business strategy, goals and marketing. We need to diversify our products/services and advertising venues to further grow our businesses. This is not to say that we should trash our inventory, but going forward, we should consider changes in design, color, theme and flair, as to be more appealing to growing cultures in our target range.
Maybe that handbag can have the hot new color of season.
Accessories, whether rhinestones, beads, or a chain can be of today's fashion
appealing to a younger, hipper audience.
Paper goods would include the Holidays and other themes
geared toward the many different cultures growing around us everyday.
The point of growth and development is to diversify.
Diversity will increase traffic, views, revenue, sale and the demand of your goods...
Remember your tager audience, and know that they too buy for others.
So diversity will and can work for you!

Wednesday, October 15

Introducing the Small Business Talk Editor...

Hi! My name is La-Mar D Lynch of Handcrafted by LaMar . I started my venture into business through my greatest past time...ART! I loved to draw superheros when I was younger and tried to do abstract art as well, though I was not too great at it. I also loved to write and recite poetry. I thought to myself how can I share both passions with the world? Greeting Cards! I always fantasized what it would be like to be the boss. The Owner. The controller of an empire. So I started DAJaHSI Greetings. A name I choose with the acronym of the first two letters of my children's names. When I first started I got no business and a bunch of 'robot hits' (you know Yahoo and Google Pay per Click Robots). After a while I wanted to give up but then found a great place to sell my goods,

When I joined I was working full time for a fashion Designer, Jackie Rogers, and did not have the time in world to work on the site. But later that year I was laid off and went at it full time. I really started selling my cards January 10, 2008 and have since accumulated 90+ sales and a lot of recognition. I even found my way into a few craft shows which were great in helping me get ttraffic and the ability to build my own website, Handcrafted by

With almost a year under my belt selling on and off line, I feel like my business is ready to take to the sky with no limitations. I have 3 blogs up and running:
Crafted by Hand, Handcrafted by LaMar, and my newest and most promising blog Your Small Biz Talk. Also with 2 great online boutiques: Handcrafted by LaMar and, with a third shop in the works, DAJaHSI Greetings-which will sell only boxed cards-I feel theres no where else to go but up.

Your Small Biz TALK was created to help, share and inspire those who have or want to start a business and have questions and need answers. Many of the post are from research, experience and discussions with other small business owners on and off line. We will also be promoting and featuring small business owners and doing a Small Business FREE Money Give-a-way, in which we will be giving away a minimum of $10 to online businesses for advertising or other business needs. So stay tuned and joined me every week for new post on small business, advertising, the economy and so much more....

Saturday, October 11

Craft Shows, Fairs, Festivals and Trade Shows...

Is your business dressed for success?
Well if not here are a few tips that you may want to have prepared for your next show.

Just as you wake up every morning and get ready for the day ahead, the first question you should ask yourself is-What do I want to accomplish? With this question in mind Steven Powell of Co-oper8 Marketing Group, suggest you make goals, plan a budget, define the resources you need and the attention you want to attract at your next event. As when you first started your venture into the business world, you need to set clear realistic goals when preparing for a new event. Determine what you want to accomplish, whether it is just finding new leads, building awareness or increasing sales on/off line.

You need to determine a budget and stick to it. You need not to borrow or spend extra money just to look the best at a show amongst the many newcomers and veteran vendors. Factors like that make reaching your goal(s) impossible. Money should be spent on making/creating more product(s) to improve your chances of increasing sales and awareness. If your goal is to find more leads, then you need to establish how many leads it will take to make a sale? If out of 20 people you can generate 5 sales of $100 profit, then your goal is to attract 20 people to your booth.

There are many other factors to doing events/shows, such as exposure, awareness, and being in the minds of people hoping they will remember your product. But there are greater necessities that you must account for, like furniture-tables and chairs rentals-materials and displays. I have done shows where all I had was my small business sign, table, chair and products. And those few times I did pretty well considering date, time of year and weather. This is not to say that you will have the same outcome as I, but it is to say that your budget is still a factor. If you have the funds, then yes, buy the great big banner and professional graphic signs, purchase the tent, display cases and all the extra nucks and crannies, but be sure to remember that all this factors into your profit, with vendor fee and material cost. You may also want to have catalogs, brochures, business cards, coupons or promo material to build leads and increase sales. All this should be included into your projected budget.

Once all these things have been situated, now its time to go back to basics, “Knowing your target audience…” Who are you trying to get to your booth to buy your product? You will need to target your audience here the same way you would any other marketing campaign(s). Once a person comes to your booth, what are you saying/selling? You have to get your message out properly and if not, you lose potential buyers and profit.

It’s the end of the show and you have found new leads, generated sales and built awareness of your business and product. Breathe… Then follow up on your leads and wait for sales to roll in.

This Week at a glance...

This week we will be chatting it up about
Craft Shows, Fairs and Festivals
and Business Diversity...
Please your voice is important to me and your comments will help structure and build this blog to be one of the best business assistance tools to any and every one out there interested in or looking to starting a business like you and I have from the comfort of our homes...
So please leave a comment and share your insides and thoughts. Also if there are topics you would like discussed or feedback from a post let us hear whats on your mind.

Publishers Post

One of the most important things I've learned in my short few years of business is,
"Knowledge is the most powerful tool one can have when running a business..."
With that I researched all I could. I made a 'business plan' and contacted people in business that could shed a bit of light on many obstacles I seen coming at me.

The thing is that everyday the world changes and everyday something new happens that affects the way one does business. So I felt the nedd to by the middle be the be something like a translator.
I put this blog together to help each other-you, me and others like us who have small businesses.
This blog is to share ideas and tips on advertising, selling, marketing and more...
I myself do greeting cards, Handcraftedby LaMar and also a small spot on and do Craft Shows in the New York State area and feel there is a lot to share when it comes to business. Tricks I have never heard and seen as well as tips and ideas you have never seen or heard. I hope you all enjoy this blog. Support this blog. Share and inspire this blog...