The Business Side of Craft Shows
Starting a craft show business when you're really an artist at heart may be a
rude awakening for you. Nevertheless, if you decide to turn your hobby into a
business, you need to switch hats from time to time. You wear your artist hat
when creating and producing your crafts, and you put on your businessperson's
hat when you're running the business end. Begin successful on the craft show
circuit doesn't just mean you have a great product; it also means you have a
decent head for business.
Planning your craft show business
It's not absolutely essential to write a craft show business plan if you're not
seeking a loan or partner, however, it can help you focus your business goals
from the start. There are numerous books and Web sites on how to write a
business plan, and most will fit with craft shows just fine.
The most crucial elements are the financial projections - which include your
estimated income and expense for the next several years - and the marketing
plan. The marketing plan helps you identify your target audience and how you can
best find and serve them. This is essential as you develop your craft show
product and find the right shows at which to sell.
you have officially moved out of the hobby status and in to the serious craft show business
If you are seeking capital or a partner, you will probably need a complete
business plan. If doing this overwhelms you, contact your local Small Business
Administration, Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce or local
universities to find help with developing a professional business plan for your
craft show company.
At this point, you may also seek the advice of an attorney to decide what
business entity yours will be - a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited
liability company or a corporation. You can always grow into corporate status
later on, though it's advisable to at least know your options up front.
Licensing your craft show business
Most cities require any business, home-based or otherwise, to register and
purchase a business license. These range in cost from $15 to $100 depending on
the size of your city and are obtained from the city clerk's office in most
cases. It makes your craft show company official and enables you to conduct
business legally. Find out if your city requires any special-use permits for
operating a home-based business. The rules may differ if you have customers,
supply trucks or employees coming to your location.
You may also need to file a fictitious name statement with your county offices
if you call yourself anything other than your name, such as Posh Pottery. This
guarantees that nobody else in your county is using the same business name. From
here your file the name with a newspaper, and then you can open your business checking account.
It's highly advisable to keep craft show business income and expenses separate
from personal if you are serious about being in business. Then on a regular
basis, you can "pay" yourself from your business account. You can also now file
your taxes as a business entity and take advantage of the many tax exemptions
for businesses. Car expenses or mileage, supplies, overhead costs and more are
all deductible. Find a copy of a schedule C (www.irs.gov) to see some of the
expenses you can write off.