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The Business of Knife Making A forum dedicated to all aspects of running, managing and legal operational issues relating to the custom knife making and custom knife selling industry.

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  #1  
Old 11-24-2007, 10:26 AM
Alden Sherrodd Alden Sherrodd is offline
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SWOT Analysis

Hello Les

In your article "The Business of Custom Knives" in the Jan. 2008 Blade Magazine you spoke of SWOT Analysis in a general way. Could you describe either here or in a future article exactly what this consists of and how to do research and assemble this analysis for use in a knifemaker's business? Could you show an example for those of us that are a little slow on the uptake? Also you talked about how makers take the wrong type of knives to the knife shows. How can a knifemaker determine what type of knives to take? Most makers have to babysit their booths during the shows, how can they determine what is selling so that they can make changes for future shows? Do you have any recommendations on book titles for more in depth information on the subject of business plans and such that may be useful to knife makers?

Thank You in advance.

Alden
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:04 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Alden,

Im glad to read you are trying to start/improve your business.

SWOT analysis explanations can be found by googling SWOT.

As for your knives. I would have to see them, know the prices and which shows you attend.

The second part of the article will address some of your questions.

Everything I recommend will take time and effort on your part.

Baby sitting your knives can be taken care of by simply putting a cover over the knives with a sign that says "back in an hour" or "back at 2PM". This will allow you time to do research.

As for book recommendations, those are tough as well as I don't know what level you are looking for and in what areas.

There are no simple or quick answers for your questions. Starting a business or improving a business takes a lot of time.

What you are asking for would take a couple of hours to do. I can help you with all of your questions if you would like to hire me as a consultant.


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Old 11-26-2007, 02:49 PM
Alden Sherrodd Alden Sherrodd is offline
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Les

Thank you for your response. I'll look up SWOT analysis and watch for the next installment of your article. As for hiring your consulting services, for me that would be putting the cart before the horse at this point.

Thank you
Alden
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:01 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Alden,

You are taking the right steps.

Since you are a fledging business I would recommend the following Book:

The Successful Business Organizer by Rhonda Abrams. About $30, but can probably find it cheaper on Amazon.com.

You can go indepth as you want with this book. It is important to sit down and WRITE answers to the questions into the book.

What I have learned over the years is that most makers do not have a plan past making knives.

This is also the reason that the Small Business Association says that statistically 80% of all small businesses fail in the first 5 years. Note, these are usually businesses that have a full blown business and marketing plan. Also note that 90 -95% of all small businesses are out of business within he first 10 years.

I have been a full time knife dealer for almost 13 years. I contribute that directly to my business and marketing plans....and a lot of hard work!

Hope this helps.


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Old 11-27-2007, 10:01 AM
Alden Sherrodd Alden Sherrodd is offline
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Les
Thank you for the book title. I will look into getting that. I found there is a lot of information available free online about SWOT analysis.

It is not difficult for me to understand that the business aspect is overlooked by knifemakers. Most have other jobs and learning all there is to know about making knifes can consume a lot of time. There are many facets to the actual making including but not limited to material choices, machine shop procedures and techniques, design (mechanical and aesthetic), equipment and tool choices and function, metallurgy (which by itself could consume half a lifetime or more). Then there is the hands on part which can include building a shop, selecting and or building equipment and tooling, locating material suppliers, learning the physical skills of forging, grinding, sanding. polishing, machining, bonding, etc. For the majority of makers the passion lies in the creation of the knife and not in the business. Your passion on the other hand is the business. All of life is a balancing act and unfortunately for knifemakers the business end of the seesaw is loaded with a lot of other things.

The more that the importance of the business aspect of knifemaking is brought into the light the more that makers will grow to understand they need to learn this set of skills.

Hopefully your next installment will have some information for makers on what type of knives to take to each show. Maybe a continuing series of articles on the business of knifemaking would be beneficial to disseminate your business savvy to makers. And or a series of tips on this forum as things come up that you think the knifemaking community could benefit from. That may increase the traffic to and awareness of your forum.

I didn't intend to babble on.


Thank you.
Alden
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