Business Plan

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Jekul
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Business Plan

Post by Jekul » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:34 pm

Hey fellow ski builders. Just wondering how many of you have thought of taking your business a step further? I'm working on writing a business plan for a ski making business and was curious if anyone else had gone through the process and rigor of the exploration process? I'd be very curious to know what you found out.

gozaimaas
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Post by gozaimaas » Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:20 pm

Im going to, but my situation allows me to. I bought a very cheap house in an area that gets a lot of snow in Japan, the Japanese are willing to spend money on things they consider special and hand made. This allows me to have better than average chance of selling boards and my overheads will be very low, the perfect scenario you could say.
I would never try it if I had to pay rent on a workshop, wages or was not based in a snow town.
Oh and you stuff has to be original.
I also have a winter job so the board building will be seasonal.

Dtrain
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Post by Dtrain » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:00 am

Stay away from building custom stuff. Super hard lots of headache. Build a stock over summer and sell them.

We started taking half down payment, half of delivery. Problem is we started building in sept. Now we're stressed to get them all finished. And Everybody wants them before the snow starts flying. Where were the orders in May and June? Everybody calls in October and wants them in December.

Next summer we will build stock. When it's gone it gone. Problem is you'll be left with sizes and styles nobody bought, and have to tell others the ones they wanted are gone.

Derek

amidnightproject
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Post by amidnightproject » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:54 pm

Dtrain wrote:Stay away from building custom stuff. Super hard lots of headache. Build a stock over summer and sell them.

We started taking half down payment, half of delivery. Problem is we started building in sept. Now we're stressed to get them all finished. And Everybody wants them before the snow starts flying. Where were the orders in May and June? Everybody calls in October and wants them in December.

Next summer we will build stock. When it's gone it gone. Problem is you'll be left with sizes and styles nobody bought, and have to tell others the ones they wanted are gone.

Derek
This. 100% accurate.

A few hardcore people will order in April. Everything else comes in about sept, oct, nov and they all want it yesterday. Go figure.

MadRussian
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Re: Business Plan

Post by MadRussian » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:24 pm

Jekul wrote:Hey fellow ski builders. Just wondering how many of you have thought of taking your business a step further? I'm working on writing a business plan for a ski making business and was curious if anyone else had gone through the process and rigor of the exploration process? I'd be very curious to know what you found out.

The only time business plan need to be writing, as far as I know, if you need to borrow money from the bank and that not the best way to start. If You don't There are no need to write official business plan. don't take me wrong you need plan and finances to get it going
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Thomas A. Edison

skidesmond
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Post by skidesmond » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:25 pm

Most difficult part of ski building is not ski building. It's making a profit. To protect your self you should get liability ins. That can be expensive. And probably should incorporate or at least form a LLC. It's been discussed in a few other threads.

Nothing ventured nothing gained!

MadRussian
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Post by MadRussian » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:58 pm

good info on writing business plan :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
Thomas A. Edison

Jekul
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Post by Jekul » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:54 am

One of the reasons I asked is because I'm getting my MBA right now. We have a class where we "have" to write a business plan.

After taking a few marketing classes so far, I would disagree with the thought that writing a business plan is for obtaining outside financing.

I would argue that having a product that is different from what is currently available in the market is the most important aspect of a business. You have to be different! That difference can geographical, product, service, or any other host of reasons. In the research I've done, I have found 39 (probably more) ski companies that claim to make a variant of a custom ski. Given that there are only ~500,000 pairs of skis sold per year, that makes for VERY high competition.

I've gone ahead and chosen to look at this as my biz. plan topic, but after a couple weeks of research I'm realizing it's certainly not something I'd pursue to make significant money. At best I'd consider it a lifestyle business, with a moderately low probability of success.

Sotto
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Post by Sotto » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:22 pm

I dont know where you got your number of 500,000 pairs of ski sold per. year. After Quicksliver sold rossignol/lange/Dynastar after running it into the ground. They are selling over 600,000 pairs Rossignol, 300,000 pairs under Dynastar. so that 900,000, and you still have K2, head, & Volkl just to add a few.

Jekul
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Post by Jekul » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:44 pm

Straight from the SIA report.

~450,000 pairs of skis sold IN NORTH AMERICA last year. I wasn't able to determine worldwide ski sales, but figure 400k - 600k in addition to the worldwide market.

Sotto - where did you get your information from?

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MontuckyMadman
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Post by MontuckyMadman » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:55 pm

Worldwide we are at 6bil right? 10% of those in nations that can ski do i have seen so its gotta be in the millions of akis sold every year. 500k seems low to me. Still a saturated market where marketing rules.
sammer wrote: I'm still a tang on top guy.

skidesmond
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Post by skidesmond » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:15 pm

It's definitely a saturated market. Doesn't help that you can buy new-old stock (leftovers, etc) for pennies on the dollar. But there's that small group of people who want something unique and high quality... that's where we come in :D

Jekul
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Post by Jekul » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:28 pm

What I've learned: It's definitely not a receptive environment for trying to make this a full-time business. As a side-business, 5-50 (or whatever you can do in a garage after work) is appropriate, and you can probably sell most of them. Me - I'll probably try to stick to around 5-7 pairs per year. Just enough to turn a tiny profit and pay for my family's ski passes.

skidesmond - PM me if you're really interested in making this a full time business. I'd be willing to share some of the research I've put together.

Dtrain
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Post by Dtrain » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:59 pm

Im doing it. got about 20 pieces sold this year, and once the local hill opens and the stuffs in the racks again, there will be lots more. Ive got a full time job and and 2 kids.

Once you start taking money and have to create a timeline for yourself, it takes part of "fun" out of it.

New shop in the backyard cost about 23 thousand Canadian dollars to build. Me and my 2 buddies rent the shop off myself for $300 a month to have a place to build skis. So....from my perspective its acually paying for the shop building for others. For my buddies it gives us a cheap spot to build skis and hopfully make a couple bucks. Last year we used our """"""profits"""""" to buy a grindrite and a montana side edger, cabinet saw, bandsaw, dual sander........but we didnt buy any more materials!!!!

this year we have sunk about $12,000 into everyrthing from base material to sawmill bills out of our pockets.

We will need to build/sell alot to brake even.

The whole hobby started "snowballing". building more to sell more to keep growing.

5-7 is great number if you can stay there. the stuff doesnt even need to be built well and people will want it because its local. its cool, its got a ferry or a lotus flower on it.........whatever!

I try and explain to customers about basalt, fiberglass free, high end resin, enlongated tips, reverse sidecut, strength to weight, how amazing the wood is that we build our cores with. blah.blah.blah

their remark.......i like the woody top look, ill take it.



this is what it comes down too.....

you buy materials
you make them into skis
people buy them
you have more money than you started with
you replace the material
you still have a little money(unless you bought more materials than you started with because your gonna build more,as people are demanding the product)
you have spent 300 hours building those skis you just sold

take that little amount of money you have left. divide it by the amount of time it took to build those skis........was it worth it?

Im still on the fence.

if it wasnt skis...and it wasnt "cool", and people on the lifts were not like "Dude these are sick" and your filled with pride for a quick moment, its hard to say.....

I could forgret about that little bit of money, and spend the time improving my family home and spending more time with my kids infront of the fireplace relaxing.

Problem is the snowball is rolling, and keeps getting bigger.....

Not an hour goes by im not thinking about building. though i dont want to be....... am I ahead? am I behind? will those carbon skis break? are we setting our self up for f##K loads of warranty work trying to make such light s&*t. damn people keep buggin me about womens models, will there be a mid wide snowboard, can i do a custom nose shape, can I hang at your shop and ask you 700000 questions and then not buy anything. responding to emails like..... if i buy a splitboard, can i use my regular snowboard boots?

You got a bad ass buissness plan though....you should be fine! just 5-7 pairs. hahahha

Jekul
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Post by Jekul » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:42 am

Dtrain - Awesome for you! By your description you're certainly committed and it sounds like you're already getting in the black.

Selling low quantities takes no work at all, like you said, they sell themselves. And customers are MUCH more interested in talking skis than they are in paying for them. I spoke to a few of the boutique makers here in Colorado, and they all mirrored the same thing. A customer looking for a custom ski wants to talk for hours about the skis and performance, and then they're no more likely to buy the skis from you. What's to stop them from going to Wagner, Folsom, Big Wood or someone else?

For me, in doing a true financial analysis of it all, I would have to sell ~1000 pair/year, at ~$1000/pair to make a stable living out of it. That's me being the boss, making skis, and having several people working for me.

I think you said it. I want to enjoy skiing, and if I turn this into a full-time business, my enjoyment will likely decrease.

For now - I've got a garage full of custom skis and a handful of very satisfied customers.

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