A business plan is a roadmap

Ways to take control of a jewelry retail operation was the thrust of a presentation by Edward S. Balian, a consultant and educator, during a seminar held Friday, Feb. 6 at the JCK Show ~ Phoenix.

Balian, through his consulting company Q-Stat, created and staffed the Gemological Institute of America School of Business and served as its dean. During his seminar titled “16 Secret Weapons for the Successful Jewelry Entrepreneur,” he provided ways that jewelers can become profitable, manage growth, and survive the down times.

He stressed the importance of a business plan and told attendees, the majority of which are long-time jewelry retailers, that the business plan is much more than a selling tool for bankers and venture capitalists. It provides all the information about the business so owners can run their operation more efficiently and profitably. And it serves as a guide for expansion.

“It is your guide and your roadmap,” he said. “A good financial plan says a lot about who you are and your business.” He added, “Do not attempt to expand your business in any way, shape, or form without a plan.”

The owner should be the person to create the plan, he said. And the plan should be updated each year. A good, specific plan created by the owner of a business allows owners to control their business. And helps them to avoid one of the most common business pitfalls: leaning too heavily on their accountant.

Balian said that it starts innocently enough with business owners giving more financial responsibility to their CPA. As time goes on, tax complications set in. Eventually, Balian said, that the CPA has questions that the business owner can’t answer so the owner responds by asking their CPA for more advice.

“By default, your CPA begins making critical decisions about your business,” he said. “Over time, your CPA is, in effect, running your business.”

When using the business plan to secure a loan from a bank or a venture capitalist, it’s also importance to have excellent presentation skills and the ability to be able to relate with financial managers and investors, he said.

“How do you get a banker to love a jeweler? You need to talk their language.”

Among Balian’s other “secret weapons:”

* Confidence

* Developing the trust of consumers

* Keeping track of inventory

* Creating a marketing plan

* Being in love with your business concept or idea