“Greetings young women of the Little Business Club! I am Lydia’s dad, also known as Mr. Wyley. Please save all your questions for afterward and let’s dig in!”
Mr. Wyley gave the girls a quick introduction to himself and how he got started as a businessman. He grabbed a thick marker and started writing while he waited for Lydia to offer the girls writing utensils.
At the top of the large pad of paper on the easel, Mr. Wyley wrote: 1) Create A Plan
“Before you can create a business plan, you should have an idea of what you’re going to be selling. Let’s start by going over your plans for products, Lydia would you like to go first?” he turned to his daughter with an expectant look.
“Um…” Lydia gave her dad a guilty look and glanced at her guests. “I may have gotten too caught up in the process of creating a club that I forgot to come up with anything to sell.”
“Hmm… okay, well don’t worry. I’m sure you will come up with something creative, just keep in mind a few things – keep it simple, easy to create and ensure your supplies are low cost. You want to be able to have a stock of items on hand and if your product is complicated it might get overwhelming.”
Lydia nodded her head in agreement and scribbled: “simple, easy and low cost” at the top of her notepad to reference later.
“Veronica, would you like to go next?”
Veronica grinned and proudly announced, “I am going to sell my crochet potholders to buy more yarn for bigger projects.”
“That is an excellent plan and you have an achievable goal in mind. Good work! For you, I would like you to think about how much yarn will it take to make one, single potholder and how much yarn you have to start with? This way, you will know how many potholders you can make with your current supply inventory.”
Veronica wrote down the business notes she was given by Mr. Wyley and turned to listen to Karen next.
“Ok, Karen what about your product plan?”
“I don’t exactly know how yet, but I want to sell handmade accessories to get extra income for my family,” Karen answered.
“Alright, well you’re on the right track and you have a goal in mind, so that’s a great place to start. If you discover what type of materials you want to work with, it will help narrow down the process for you. Again, keeping it simple, easy and low cost can help you have a successful start.”
Karen marked down a few notes and looked up at Mr. Wyley, ready for more advice.
Continuing his lesson, he wrote under the first piece of advice: 2) Names Are Powerful
“Another thing to think about this week is a name for your business. An excellent shop name alone can attract customers and a horrible one can repel them. Think about an ice cream shop named Mr. Stinky’s Creamery. What type of ice cream do you think they sell?”
“STINKY ICE CREAM!” The girls laughed and giggled at the thought of this, imagining gross flavors out loud such as Sweaty Sock Swirl and Trash Pile Truffle.
“Exactly! However, the owner just wanted to name the shop after himself and didn’t put much thought into the message he was sending. Coming up with a business name should sound pleasant and reflect the products you’re selling.”
The club members wrote down Mr. Wyley’s advice and promised each other to help to find business names later in the week if they were stuck.
Mr. Wyley checked his watch for the first time since the meeting, “My apologies ladies and thank you for having me today, but I have another meeting to attend to. I hope the information I provided is helpful and I look forward to hearing your business names at your next meeting!”
“Thank you!” the girls said in unison.
After her father left, Lydia turned to the other members of the club. “Thank you for coming to our first meeting! Are you guys okay with meeting next Saturday afternoon?”
They all agreed and shook hands to solidify their business club alliance. Lydia showed the two other members to the front door. The beat-up car was rumbling away in the driveway waiting for Karen, and Veronica began her walk home. Lydia continued to wave goodbye until she couldn’t see either girl anymore.
After lunch, Lydia sat at her computer desk with her notes and thought about her first ever club meeting. Despite not having a product idea and only having three members in total, she felt it had been very successful as they had learned a lot from her dad and everyone had seemed to have a good time. She was impressed with both of her new friends and couldn’t wait for the next time they saw each other. Their enthusiasm had motivated her to be more prepared for the next meeting.
Reading over the notes from earlier, she set her mind on finding something she could make to sell.
“Easy, simple and cheap,” she repeated over and over as she used the Internet to search for ideas.
Giving up only an hour into her computer searches, she gave a huff of frustration as nothing seemed to fit her guidelines. She decided to ask her mom for some advice. She found her in the office tidying up. Lydia gave a tiny knock on the door frame to announce her presence.
“Hey, chicky baby! Come on in, how did the meeting go? Was dad helpful or embarrassing?” Her mom called over from the bookcase she was dusting.
Lydia shuffled in and plopped herself in the computer chair. “It went great! Dad was super helpful and he even wore a suit like he does for real meetings! I made two friends who are just as excited as me about starting a business and we’re going to meet up again next week!”
“Oh, that’s wonderful to hear! What is everyone going to be selling?” Her mother asked.
“Well, Veronica is the only one that knows for sure… she is going to make potholders out of yarn. Karen wants to sell accessories but she’s not sure what type, and I have no idea… yet…” She trailed off as she gave her mother a hopeful glance.
“Ah, and you want my help? Hmmm… well, let’s think about this together.”
“Dad said I should keep it easy, simple and cheap to make.” offering her mother his advice to help narrow down ideas.
Mrs. Wyley continued to pick up odds and ends around the office as she helped her daughter brainstorm ideas. “What about making something with all those colorful sheets of paper you’ve been saving or we have tons of jars and cans that haven’t gone to the recycling plant yet. If you use those items, you can keep your costs low.”
Lydia jotted down the suggestions into her notebook and ideas started to spark inside her mind.
“Maybe I can make paper flowers, people would love flowers that never die! Or bookmakers, I know LOTS of kids who could use a bookmark! Oh, what about pencil holders? Even you could use a pencil holder Momma.” Lydia grinned at the pile of pens and markers stacking up on the desk as her mother collected them from around the room.
“True, I could use a beautiful, handmade pencil holder. It would really tie the room together.”
“And keep you organized!” Lydia teased as her mother was usually very unorganized.
“Alright missy, it’s time for your messy mother to start vacuuming and you to work on your shop. Do you need any more help from me?”
Lydia shook her head and Mrs. Wyley shooed her daughter out of her office. Back in her room, she made a list of the ideas they’d come up with – paper flowers, bookmarks, and pencil holders.