Art Business – The Basic Functions of Management

If You Have an Art Business You Need To Know About Management

The general idea behind management it to get people to work together to accomplish the organization’s goals and objectives in an efficient and sustainable manner. For management to be effective there are principles which need to be followed.

If you are a one man show you probably don’t have to worry about management. Once you add just one employee you are now in the realm of management. As you add more people in your business, the role of management becomes more important in order for the organization to stay focused on and accomplish its goals.

If you have employees the management function is a full time job and not something you need to practice for a minute a day or whenever needed. If you have employees then management is YOUR job, don’t take it lightly!

A Big Part of Your Success Depends On Your Management Skill

How well or poorly you manage your art business has a big effect on your brand. Your employees, customers, suppliers and others will notice your management skills and this will affect your future success and viability. You goal with management should be to have the best managed company and turn your employees, customers, and others into brand champions for your business.

Management and its techniques and theories have been around for thousands of years – after all it took some management skill to build the pyramids! The study of management has been written about for years in books such as The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Taylor and numerous books by Peter Drucker including his classic, Concept of the Corporation.  I encourage you to read up on the discipline of management.

Today there are hundreds of books, seminars and courses on management. Numerous models or theories on management have been developed. At the core of most of these are the basic principles or ideas that make up effective management. If you manage people in your art business and want to build an effective and profitable organization you will need to learn and practice these concepts.

The Five Functions of Management

The study and practice of management has evolved and is now generally divided into five functions. It is important to note that these functions are not the same as the general functions of a business which are: production & operations, accounting & finance, sales & marketing, and research & development.

The five management functions can and should be applied to all of these business functions. You should become familiar with these management functions in your art business even if you don’t have any employees. These functions will apply if you operate as a “one man show” because you will probably need to work with others in a “loose organization” or collaborative environment.

  1. Planning:  This function involves developing an overall plan for the business and plans for each department or business function. These plans include long term strategic plans as well as plans for the short term. The plan period could be years, weeks, months, days or even for tomorrow! Your planning will involve setting objectives and goals, developing strategies and their associated action plans.
  2. Organizing:  In order to make a plan a reality, management must bring together the necessary resources and organize them so that things get done. These resources include materials, financial capital, human resources and technology. In organizing, duties are assigned and delegated along with responsibilities
  3. Staffing:  Any organization needs the right people and the right amount of people to accomplish its objectives. This function starts with recruiting the right people, training them, making sure they are rewarded and reviewing their performance.
  4. Directing:  The directing function is what people usually think of when they describe the process of managing – but as you have seen it is much more! Directing involves supervising employees and motivating them to do their best. Leadership skills are the foundation of effectively performing the direction function.
  5. Controlling:  This function is all about measuring accomplishments and performance and taking corrective action if needed. Measuring can come in the form of seeing if you are on schedule (time) or if your costs or profits (money) are on target. Without measuring it is impossible to see where you are and if you have accomplished your goals.

Ok, these are the basic functions of management that you will need to use to run a successful art business and manage your company effectively. In the next article, Art Business – The Basic Principles of Managing People we will take a look at 14 things you need to know about managing people.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto