Before Starting an Art Business What you need to know to begin
What do you need to know before starting a business?
One of the very first steps is to create a business plan that you will complete in the process of creating a business. I know that most artisans only need to hear the word business, let alone the sound of a plan to create an urge to withdraw.
Of all things I ever did for my own arts career, the one action I hated the most was creating a business plan, and yet the most satisfying, clarifying and important step I ever took. I had not a bone of business in my system, hence depended with every step on other people. But once I took things into my own hands, I never looked back. What I once could not stand, became natural and easy with time. It is a great feeling to know what you are doing, because it creates independence and give you power.
You will be going on a journey that will requite some time, the best business plans are taking at least half a year, if not longer.
What is Your Excuse?
The times I have heard emerging artists say, when attending my business seminars, that all they wanted was to paint and don't have the time nor the desire to learn business is heart wrenching to me. I try to remind them that they still, after years of dreaming about an art career, remain stuck within a job they don't like to make an income, without ever getting any closer to make a living from their art. It is therefore far better to allocate a small period of time and invest it in business planning than not going forward at all.
So let's Go!
These are the steps you need to take before even thinking going into business. The idea is to work on a plan for a few months, to give you time to think and collecting ideas.
Then get the following information for your plan together.
Executive Summary - Synopsis of your business, when you created it, and who you are. The timeline for the plan is three to five years and includes how you expect to generate revenue. Include your goals, mission statement, products, and services. This section is also where you want to make yourself stand out if you are looking for investors. If you are just starting, then focus on your background and experience.
Business description - Describe what is different about your artwork versus others. Discuss your market and your target groups. For example, do you want to become known as an exhibiting artist, or rather use the merchandise market?
Market Analysis - This involves pulling up demographics for the area you will be serving. Learn what comprises the population of the area you will be serving, such as income, age, education. I know that some of the steps seem awkward to you, but believe me when I say that with every step, I learned something new about the art sector.
Business Management Plan - Decide how you are going to structure your management. Will you be a sole proprietor, an LLC, a corporation, a partnership?
Your Artwork - What is your type of style or product? Explain your product and/or service and what is different about your art or even an advantage over your competitors.
Marketing and/or Sales - You need to figure out how you are going to get the message out to your target groups. Basically, what is the strategy you are going to use? For more information go to Arts Marketing.
Funding - Are you going to look for funding? If so, then discuss how or who you will be using. The business plan is very important if you decide to look for an investor or grant money. NAVA is a great source for grant applications. Then there are Regional grants and the Australia Council.
Branding and Logo - Both are very important. The home page of your website or your name can be your brand. Keep in mind that your brand is the promise you make to your customer. If it is your name, make it stand out - create something catchy. However, don't forget the logo since this creates a visual or image for the customer. The logo represents your business so make it count. Apple is a brand, and their bitten apple is their logo. Think about how that name and logo affects you.
Bookkeeping and Accounting - Starting a new business is exciting and overwhelming so consider an accounting service, which is a group of experts who can save you time, money, and worry. A good accountant can provide you with some great business tips to improve cost efficiency and save on taxes. There are some great program around you can use, who combine an art inventory of your work, invoicing and bookkeeping in one. More in my "Organise your Art Business" article.
If you want private business advice for a very small fee, over a cuppa and live within the Gold Coast or Brisbane region just book an appointment with me here.