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Finance for Designers

This series is designed to help designers with entrepreneurial ambitions learn and embrace the “hard skills” of running a small business.  Most creatives shy away from finance or have ideas that “someone else will do that for me.”  Sound like you?  Great! This coursework is designed for those without a background in business or finance but are creative, independent and entrepreneurial-minded.

The coursework is presented in two tracks: Pre-launch and Operating. Pre-launch coursework introduces designers to the legal and financial tools that will get their fashion lines to market. Operating coursework assists designers selling into markets gain knowledge and tools to bring their company to the next level.

No business experience is necessary however; a creative mind, an independent spirit and entrepreneurial ambitions are prerequisites!

PRE-LAUNCH or EARLY DAYS   Register: https://bizsmarts.eventbrite.com

Introduction to Finance, 2/18 and 2/19, 6-9pm

You want to start your own business but you don’t know a thing about business finance? Like many entrepreneurs you’ve got great ideas but just don’t know how to make the money work.  In this introductory course you’ll learn:

- The basic concepts and the difference between business and personal finances
- Preparing for business ownership
- Why “cash is king “
- Tools for budgeting and goal setting

This course is designed for creatively minded individuals without a background in business or finance. We aim to remove the fear and uncertainty.

Basics of Financial Statements, 2/24 and 2/26, 6-9pm

Thinking that three sheets is a mismatched set destined for the clearance table at Century 21 rather than the elements of good financial reporting? Then this class is for you.  Created for the aspiring entrepreneur, this two session course will introduce the concepts of financial statements and their importance to building your business.  In this course you’ll learn:

- A financial “how to start” from concept to business development
- Analyzing the requirements to start a business
- Creating and understanding the three relevant sheets in business reporting

This easy to understand class gets entrepreneurs to interact with the most basic foundations of running a successful business through essential financial operations.

Legal Basics for Financial Planning, 3/3 and 3/5, 6-9pm

S Corp, LLC, LP, B Corp?  What’s the difference? Entrepreneurs frequently set-up their business entities without knowing what potential outcomes their initial organizing actions have on future activities.  Knowing elemental information about how business entities are organized allows entrepreneurs to determine what type of legal organization will work best for them.  In this course students will learn:

- The pre-launch set-up and business organization process step-by-step
- The right information while dispelling myths around what business organization means and the process to complete it
- How to deal with partners, investors and others that may be part of this decision making process.

This course is designed to help students determine the best course of action so that their business structure is a help not a hindrance to their success.

Product Design and Budgets, 3/10 and 3/12, 6-9pm

Is your work measured by the bottom line but your passion is for product and not numbers? Are you on the creative side of the business? Need to be able to talk the talk to retailers so they can sell your products? Well, then you’re in the right place!  In this course you’ll learn:

- How to see the numbers from a retailer’s perspective
- How to speak in numbers with fashion industry terminology improving your budgeting and decision-making
- Critical concepts such as the pre/in/post season planning processes, OTB (Open to Buy), gross margin, markup, markdowns, and sell thru
- The relationship between sales and inventory, financial benchmarking and reporting and buyer and seller profitability

Knowing how the numbers are seen in the fashion industry is key to selling into your best markets.  After this class you’ll be thinking about the numbers like a pro. *Bring a calculator to class.

Introduction to Accounting and QuickBooks, 3/17 and 3/19, 6-9pm

For creatives, the idea of becoming an accountant is something out of a bad dream.  Good thing you don’t have to be an accountant—but you do need to know a thing or two about accounting and QuickBooks to get your company started.  In this course you will learn:

- Business and accounting vocabulary
- How to set up QuickBooks
- How to set up your chart of accounts
- The interrelatedness of financial activities and your accounts.

Accounting is a little like bowling.  You don’t have to knock down all the pins but you do have to keep score.

Introduction to Pricing Strategy, 3/24 and 3/26, 6-9pm

“You paid what for that?  Seriously?”  Understanding pricing strategy is the gateway to finding out why some retailers can charge $400 for a tee shirt while others have a hard time selling a tidy whitey for more than $5.00. In this course you’ll learn:

- What pricing strategy is right for you to enter the marketplace?
- How do you determine what the best price is for your products?
- The vocabulary of pricing
- Brand values and market positioning for pricing
- Basic psychology of pricing and value


OPERATING  Register: https://bizsmarts.eventbrite.com

Managing Cash Flow, 3/31 and 4/2, 6-9pm

“Cash is King” (at least everyone says so). Does wondering if you’ve got money to pay the bills and yourself keep you up at night? Managing your cash flow effectively is the difference between just making it month to month or thriving and growing your company.   In this course you’ll learn:

- About managing and improving cash flow
- How the financial statements your company generates are a management tool
- How managing cash flow improves your company’s financial position

After this class you’ll really be able to manage your cash like a real pro—and sleep better at night too!

*Basic Financial Statements course is a pre-requisite.

Selling into Retail, 3/24 and 3/26, 6-9pm

The retail channel is complex with many buyers and sellers competing for business. Selling your product to buyers is just the starting point.  In this course you’ll learn:

- How to create and interpret fundamental retail metrics, benchmarking and seasonal timing
- The stages of sell through and related markdowns to drive profitability
- How retail terminology allows you to quantify your design performance
- Critical concepts such as the pre/in/post season planning processes, Open to buy, gross margin, markup, markdowns, and gross margin return on investment (GMROI)

Understanding the ins and outs of selling into retail is essential to any fashion designer. *Bring a small calculator to class.

Brand, Customer Segmenting and Pricing, 4/21 and 4/23, 6-9pm

Connecting brand, pricing strategy and the customer’s “reason to buy” is the quintessential key to robust sales. Understanding who you’re selling to, what they buy and why they buy is elemental to a great pricing strategy and profitability.  In this course you’ll learn:

- How to create brand value to support your pricing strategy
- Customer Segmentation—finding the right customers for your brand
- Communicating brand value using FAB’s (features, advantages & benefits)
- Connecting pricing strategy, brand, value and sales.

Knowing when “the price is right” will maximize your profits while creating a solid and adoring core audience for your products. *Intro to Pricing is the pre-requisite to this course.

Day-to-Day Legal: Contracts, 4/28 and 4/30, 6-9pm

Early stage entrepreneurs need to understand the legal implications of their day-to-day business activities. Whether it’s dealing with employees or contractors, customers or suppliers, landlords and the like, it is important to “define relationships and get them in writing.”  In the class you’ll learn:

- How to maneuver in the world of business within the legal boundaries
- The day-to-day legal foundations of various contracts and agreements, and regulatory issues
- Legal frameworks for operational issues faced by entrepreneurs

Understanding the legal implications of day-to-day activities keeps you protected and on the right path.

Generating Financial Statements, 5/5 and 5/7, 6-9pm

Designs that set trends are hard to predict. A crystal ball telling us exactly which trends will hit and when would be great but as you know, doesn’t exist. Good thing you don’t have to run your business this way. There are concepts and tools available so that you can reduce the financial risks of running your business. In this workshop you will learn:

- Financial forecasting and how it helps you reduce risk
- Why cash is king
- How to define the key components of your forecast model
- How to develop a sample forecast

These tools and concepts are key to increasing the likelihood of your business success (and no crystal ball is required).

Day-to-Day Accounting for Operations, 5/12 and 5/14, 6-9pm

While bootstrapping your company, you’re responsible for the day-to-day finance activities of your company. Not knowing the difference between a fixed expense and a variable one keeping you up at night? It doesn’t have to.  In this course you will learn:

- How to use the accounting cycle to keep accurate records
- How to use QuickBooks to manage your day-to-day finances
- How to establish best practices so that you can regulate accounting activities
- How to hire the right bookkeeping and accounting staff

Learning how to keep the accounting wheels of your business turning means you don’t have to toss and turn at night.

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