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Splashing Onto The Blank Canvas: Setting Up An Artistic Business

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Maybe you’re someone that has an abundance of creative energy, but not necessarily the business acumen, and as such, you’ll find that marrying the two is very difficult. It in this day and age, where there’s a lot of funding for the right creative ventures, it’s important to have the combination of business acumen and creative endeavours. So when it comes to setting up a creative business, whether it’s a theatre company, an art gallery, or anything you want to put your mind to, what are the essentials that need to be taken on board?

It’s Like Any Other Business

As such, you need to treat it like it’s a business with a product and a process. A lot of people start up a creative endeavour because they want to do something different that’s far from the norm. But in order to have these things function, it’s all about the tried and tested methods of running a business. You need to employ people, you need to make sure the legalities are sorted, as well as the promotional materials. Every business is different, but, ultimately, a lot of the processes are the same. Every business has various expenses, and it’s just about finding the ones that are appropriate to the sector. And so, if you’re looking for funding, you wouldn’t necessarily go to the banks when it comes to something like a theatre company, because there’s more of a commercial risk. But when you look on the face of it, you’ve got to have a business head on.

Having The Right Talent

You may want to form a business that has strict contracts, so you can hire people full-time, but you’ve got to think about if this is conducive to a good creative product. In the creative industry, you’re going to need more creative types; these people aren’t bound by the rigours of the nine to five. But far from this being a hindrance, this can be a great help. You can hire freelancers, and ensure that there are aspects of the business that are solidified, but without necessarily taking these people on full-time. You may have heard of outsourcing, where people are contracted on a temporary basis, and in the creative industry, this is par for the course. If you’re looking to set up a creative business, you may find that you are the constant. The right talent is what will help your business at this point in time. Whether you’re trying to put on a show, open an exhibition, or just highlight the work you want to create, in business, it’s about observing that big picture and making everything else fits into the parameters.

Never Underestimate The Promotional Package

We can take it for granted that social media can do a lot of promoting for us. And in the creative sector, you could argue that you don’t need a comprehensive promotional package. But if you’re applying for funding, you need to show an art council that you’ve got a history behind you, that you’ve build up your ethos and mission for years. This, in essence, is the brand. And all of the little components that you’ve been working towards cam determine whether you will receive funding or not. You may feel that your message is the promotional package, but these days, this isn’t everything. You’ve got to build everything around this message so that it’s conveyed appropriately, but also picked the desired audience, or the target market. And there are so many aspects that need fixing. This could result in additional responsive web design, so the website is user-friendly, or it could be about developing a working relationship with numerous creatives so that the business is constantly evolving. Or it could be about finding out what you are missing in your skills. Because so many people look to set up a creative business for their own needs, they’re either are too blinkered to put in the effort in terms of the business side of things, or they flat out ignore it, thinking that it’s not necessary. But this is where any creative business can fall flat on its face.

Even if you feel you’ve got something to say, it’s not just about the artistic endeavours, it’s about ensuring that you have the business knowledge so your message is heard. And this is where many artistic people can struggle. While many will tell you that business gets in the way of creation, if you can tell yourself at the outset that it’s about a fine balance between the two, not only have you learnt a hard lesson early on, but you can actually get this out of the way so you can focus on what really matters. You have to learn the business side; there is no way around it!

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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