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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Business Chat - Post show work

We’re in the home stretch now people, one more shopping week until Christmas! Anyone still have a craft show to do? For those of us who are done, congrats! You’ve survived another holiday season. As tempting as it is to just dump everything in a corner and ignore it all and get down to the serious business such as baking cookies, once a show is done there’s still some work ahead of you.

Here’s my list of post-show tasks.

1.       Bookkeeping.  The day after a show I go over all my show sales. On a spreadsheet I mark down all sales. I go over all expenses from the show that might get lost later, such as running to the hardware store for more light bulbs on the way to the show. I enter the total sales on my income spreadsheet. I break my sales down into net sales, HST and gross sales. I also keep track of payments by credit card and by cash.

TIP: The tallying of sales and HST is really important!!! Every sale I make I collect HST. This is NOT income, at some point I will have to hand this over. If this money sits in my bank account it gives me a false sense of income. There’s nothing more tempting than looking in our bank account and thinking “hey, there’s an extra $500 there and look at those shiny beads on sale.” However that money is not mine so I must not spend it. The day after a show I know exactly how much tax I have collected and I move it over to a special bank account just for that purpose.  There are a variety of free online bank accounts available. I use ING. I move the tax money over, and poof! It’s gone. I can’t spend it, I can’t readily access it. When I have to remit my tax bill the money is still there.

2.       Custom orders. If I wrote any custom orders I enter it into my order spreadsheet. I make note of the day that I promised to deliver and I send the customer an email thanking them for the order and letting them know when I will be making it and sending it. Remember, a lot of people think of us as flaky artists. If you are business-like and professional you will pleasantly surprise them.

3.       Go over show notes. During the show I constantly make notes on stuff like, make more blue earrings for the next show, or order more postcards. Now is the time to go over these notes. If I need to buy any supplies I mark this down on the to-do list.

4.       Enter the names from my mailing list sign-up sheet into my contact database. Your mailing list is the lifeblood of your business. At every show I ask people to sign up for my list. Now is the time to put those names into your contact database.

5.       Send a thank you email to the show organizer. Always a good idea to say thanks.

Doing these small chores doesn’t take very long and it really makes a big difference in how smoothly your shows will run. Once you’ve run through this checklist, pat yourself on the back on a job well done. Now go and bake some cookies.

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