Jan 16, 2006

ScrapBiz Defined

"I’m not sure I understand what just what ScrapBiz is…" I get this a lot. Most people looking at ScrapBiz are also looking at one of the many direct sales companies out there. Therefore, they are using that "direct sales company" set of parameters and trying to compare apples to oranges. We are not anything like a direct sales company. So, what IS ScrapBiz? I usually call it a "small business incubator". We provide the information that you need to start a business. But, I have found a much clearer explanation of just what ScrapBiz is.

Recently, Mark read a book called BREAD AND BUTTER by former Great Harvest COO, Tom McMakin. It’s about our FAVORITE bread bakery – GREAT HARVEST BREAD COMPANY (there's nothing like their white bread for toast!). One particular chapter hit home with us - it describes ScrapBiz almost perfectly. I am going quote the book but change the words to fit a scrapbook business (my apologies to Mr. McMakin). My changes are in red.

"...we’re different in an important way. Most scrapbook companies begin when someone – call them the founder – figures out a way to sell a bunch of scrapbook products in a compelling way, writes the method down and then invites others to join the company to sell the products.

The great thing about starting a business with a direct sales company is that you aren’t taking on much risk. The bad thing, if you’re a truly entrepreneurial type, is that you won’t have much freedom. All the good stuff about opening your own business – figuring out everything from what you want to sell to what classes you will teach – aren’t 100% your decisions to make. They’ve already been made for you by Ms. Founder. The business is pretty unwilling to have you fool with the founder’s blueprint.

An alternative to being part of a franchise – if you want to open your own scrapbook business – is to open one on your own. The good part is you decide on your product line, the classes you will teach and the type of business you will run. The bad thing is that most small businesses fail because their owners are unable to overcome the rush of challenges that face any new businessperson. They may also be unable to secure relationships with large wholesalers with favorable terms that allow them to purchase in smaller amounts. They may also lack the business know-how to start their business correctly. It’s not that a smart person can’t figure these things out – they can – it is just a question of whether you the time and energy to do so.

ScrapBiz occupies the middle ground between joining a direct sales company and going out on your own. Our goal is to create a community of independent small business owners – each free to create their businesses as they please, and each contributing to a pool of expertise that is available to all – sort of like a freedom direct sales company. Our model doesn't limit you to just being a consultant, we embrace all business types - that's part of the freedom!

ScrapBiz members have perfect freedom to create their businesses as they please, even the freedom to make bad decisions or ultimately to fail. But they aren’t on their own. They run their businesses within a community of like-minded business owners each struggling with the same challenges and each bringing different talents to the job. They stand on the shoulders of over 300 like-minded owners and 4 years of experience from the minute they join.

We are a loose confederation of business people independently tackling similar problems but connected strongly together in a network. This form of association leaves room for personality and freedom while effectively creating innovation and change through collaboration. It balances the need to be freely creative with your business and the desire to be part of a like-minded community.

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