Thinking right about your ceramic business

The first thing you have to realize is that you are the business. A potter is in business even if it’s small as said in the previous chapter. You have to learn to separate your warm feelings about the product from the objective analysis of what the business demands.

A business is like a person – it reacts to the commands it gets. In a small business you have nobody to blame but yourself, if something goes wrong.

Some basic rules

a. Even if your business is small, at the start, look at it in the same way you would look at investing in stock of a larger business. This investment in your own business, should yield a return and you must be able to measure that return and take objective steps to correct deviations from the expected return. The least you can demand would be a reasonable return on your money, such as if you would have left it in your bank account or in our personal investments.

It’s up to you to decide what that reasonable return should be. You may value the freedom of being your own boss at the expense of a smaller return, but the laws of business sets limits on how much lower your expectations can be. If you lose money, or if the return is too low, the business will not survive.

b. You must learn the basics of setting up the controls so that the results can be read and understood. Such controls involve an understandable accounting system, regular readings and absolute discipline in following the signals that the control system sends you.
Given the emotional involvement in the use of your own money, you must, absolutely must have a good and honest accountant who does not shy away from telling you the naked truth and who can extrapolate trends from what he sees in the figures.

c. You must learn how to operate the business, how to price your products, how to market them such as how to advertise, how to deal with your employees and your customers and, perhaps the most important part of all for a small business owner – HOW TO GET EVERYTHING DONE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME FRAME. Since you are the business, you cannot afford to exhaust yourself. If you do, your business suffers along with yourself.

d. You must think forward and plan accordingly. Only you can see or sense clearly where your business is going. Be honest with yourself and be brave to make the necessary corrections for your business to not only survive, but to prosper.
If all this sounds like a big undertaking, that’s because it is.

Nobody can teach you everything, but there are other people that are experts in their respective fields which you have to find, get to know and learn from. You must also learn that there are also so called “experts” that carry impressive titles but do not have a clue how to operate a very small business.

So, going forward, there is very much to read, listen to, digest, accept or disregard on one’s way to success in one’s field.

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© 2011 by Rolf E. Ericson, Oneonta, New York, publisher. All rights reserved. Photocopying, reproduction , copying, or redistribution of any kind in printed or electronic form is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.