It is a lot more difficult to spot theft when you are both the employer and the employee. The next time you are in doubt pretend that you are the employee and ask yourself “Am I stealing?” Sound business practices with checks and balances will help you run a successful shop. Stealing can have a negative effect on your cash flow and impede profitability. Use paper trails as an early warning system to detect theft and how that affects your profit.   Read More...

The Buck Stops Here

Most people know that one goose leads the “V” until it needs to rest. Then it falls back into the slipstream and another goose takes its turn. But did you know that not a single goose knows the entire migration path? Collectively, they know how to fly south. But the flock relies on the individual expertise of its members to lead the way. When the leader no longer recognizes their leg of the trip they fall back into the flock and rely on the others.  Read More...

Once you’ve created your short-list of candidates you’ll want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Review the following list of interview questions and decide which ones are important to you. Listen carefully to how each one answers. And ask follow-up questions if necessary.

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A lot of taxidermists overlook the cost of doing business in their own home.  For many, the money made doing taxidermy supplements their primary income and their primary income pays the bills.  They justify their lower prices because their business doesn’t have to pay rent or utilities.  Apparently these things are free.  Do other businesses eat the cost of rent, electricity, gas, water, or insurance?  What about the ordinary wear and tear on buildings?  Why do we let our customers profit at our expense?

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Let’s examine the triangle a little closer. Instead of using better, faster, and cheaper we will use quality, service, and price. The triangle then becomes an easy way to segment your clients and truly understand what they value.  By knowing what our clients value the most we can be specific with our marketing and attract the clients we want.  Our effort and energy will be focused on the one thing that they value the most, Read More...

All sales are generally considered retail sales unless the buyer purchases the product or taxable service for the purpose of reselling it. In other words, if you buy something and use it in your finished product (whitetail shoulder mount) you do not pay sales or use tax because your customer is expected to pay it. When you sell your finished product you need to collect and remit sales tax if your state requires it.   Read More...

Computers will crash. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. Hard drives fail more often than you might think. Recovering data from a crashed hard drive can be expensive, if it can be done at all. Be prepared for the worst by making backup copies of your critical data, and keeping those backup copies in a separate location. Do not store your backup copies on your computer. Backups are useless if you can't get at them when you need them.  Read More...

Security in the digital world is really no different. The bad actors are the same. Their motives are the same. We are still their target. Just because the playing field has moved to the internet doesn’t mean the game has changed.  Our safety still relies on the tried-and-true methods we learned in the physical world. We still need to be aware of our surroundings and act accordingly.   Read More...

Russell Knight, along with a panel of other industry-leading taxidermists, were hosting a taxidermy round table. They were scheduled to listen and answer our questions about running a taxidermy business, industry trends, and anything else we wanted to talk about. The cast of ‘characters’ were Russell Knight, Fred Vanderburg, and Larry Blomquist; all industry leaders and legends in their own right. Knight’s Round Table didn’t disappoint.  Read More...

Before answering this question you need to ask yourself, “Why do I want to be a taxidermist?” Your business will be an expression of your skills, knowledge, and passion. You need to consider yourself, your situation, and what you want out of life, and build your business around that. Your marketing will determine the type of customer you will attract and that, in turn, will determine how you are compensated.   Read More...

Essentially, all costs associated with your business are deductible, such as supplies, advertising, rent, insurance, computers, software, and even your internet connection. To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate. It does not have to be indispensable.   Read More...

Most taxidermists think of their competition as the full or part-time guy down the street.  But it’s more complex than that.  It’s not about who takes in the most deer heads, who’s the cheapest, or who does the best work.  It’s about making money and being profitable.  Profit is the amount of money left over after you pay your bills each month.

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Financial accounting and cost accounting are the Reese’s® of small business and taxidermy.  Financial accounting provides the rules and structure to record financial information.  If you cringe at the thought of bookkeeping then you are well aware of what financial accounting is.  It is the day to day record keeping of financial transactions that form the basis of income statements, balance sheets, and statement of cash flows.  ​Read More...

The key to pricing success is a firm grasp of your overhead rate. Once this is known everything else falls into place. Your overhead rate should be calculated periodically, perhaps annually. It will vary depending on your actual costs and how well you manage them, and how efficiently you work. Don't leave money on the table when pricing. It needs to provide you with a decent wage and a fair profit.   Read More...

The anchor price is a click away. Sportsmen and women across the country use different gear when they are consumers. They are well versed in new technology and media channels and are more informed than ever. Their anchor price is the first price they come across when they are searching for better, faster, and cheaper. It’s going to stick in their mind and it’s the price that they’re going to base all other prices on when it comes to that specific product. Read More...

This method will also reduce your risk if your clients cannot pay their final installment in a timely fashion, or worse yet, fail to pickup their trophy altogether. By 'harvesting' your money in three equal payments you will have collected two-thirds of your total price before any work begins, but more importantly, 100% of your total cost, including your salary. Think about that the next time you are stuck with a trophy sitting in your showroom and cannot sell it.   Read More...

John Jennings' blog on the business aspects of taxidermy