Tag Archives: Busines Planning

Artist Goals 2015 – Finding Opportunities + Free Worksheet

Looking for opportunities and threats

Look for opportunities to grow your art business but don’t forget to to avoid the rocks (threats)…

Now is a great time to think about all of the opportunities you could discover and take advantage of in the coming year. This year make it a point to find new opportunities for you as an artist and for your art business as well.

Knowing what your opportunities are gives your art business a solid sense of direction and a basis to develop your strategies. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes and you need to look for them because they may not be looking for you. Examples of opportunities could be new places and venues to show and sell your work, a better way to produce your art, market trends, or a better ways to run your business. If you think about it there are probably quite a few opportunities you should be looking at right now!

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To Achieve Success You Must First Define It

Happy Smiley Face and Feeling Successful

What does success feel like to you?

Most people spend more time planning their vacations that they do their businesses and in many cases even their lives – and artists are no exception!  To be successful in business you need to know the answer to one of the basic questions of business planning – “Where am I going?”  If you don’t know where you are going then getting there may be difficult, wherever “there” is…

In working with creative individuals I have found that it is hard for many of them to define what success means. “I want to be a successful artist working in my studio” seems to be about as far as many of them can go in defining their success.

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How Artists Can Get Business Skills

Hopefully since you are reading this blog I probably don’t have to convince you that business skills are an important part of any creative career whether you are in business for yourself or you work for someone. The business world has changed and many of the things that have worked in the past may be less effective or not effective at all. Having a good grasp on how business works will help ensure the success of your creative enterprise or make you more valuable to your employer.

How Do Artists Get Business Skills?

Well you probably are not going to get them in art school! A few art programs have business as a part of their curriculum and more seem to be adding them. If you are in art school and they offer business courses you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage of them. For everyone else here are a few ideas:

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Brand Basics For Artists

What Are People Saying About You, Your Art, Your Business?

What does your brand say about your art business?

What does your brand say about your art business?

Your brand is one of the most important things in your art business and will have a large impact on your overall success and direction. Other people will define your brand so it is imperative that you develop and manage its perception and reality.

Brands are everywhere, you have seen them; Coke, Pepsi, Nike, Ford, Mercedes, Dollar Store, Neiman Marcus, Oprah, Martha Stewart, PBS, Fox News, Prada, Walmart, Bic, Mount Blanc, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre, and the list goes on and on. Each brand name has an experience and expectation associated with it.Here are a few names that you might not associate with a brand; Picasso, Andy Warhol, Christo and Jeane-Claude, Henry Moore, Salvador Dali, Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, Jasper Johns, Robert Mapplethorpe, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell, and the list goes on and on. Each name has an experience and expectation associated with it.

The above examples are brands, some are businesses and some are personal. For many personal brands it may be hard to separate them from the business brand.

The Traditional View of Brand

Brands started out as a way to mark cattle with a hot iron so that on the open range each rancher could keep track of his herd. As the economy grew and became more industrialized there was a rise of products available to consumers. The concept of brand was applied to these products in the form of logos, designs and trademarks in order to differentiate them in the marketplace. It always makes me laugh when I meet consultants who say “they help others with branding” or “we do branding” – do all of their customers have cattle?  I prefer to use the term “brand development” and you don’t have to wonder if a hot iron is in your future.

Brands can be local, regional, national or worldwide. There are probably many brands in your local area that are not known to a wider geographic area. There are also brands like Coke that are familiar on every corner of the earth.

Brands relate to those that the business touches, such as customers, suppliers, employees, the media, partners, shareholders and the public in general.

An Expanded View of Brand

In developing your business and marketing plans it is helpful to take a much broader view of brand. Think of your brand as a term to aggregate all of the things that make up your business such as:

  • Your logo, designs and intellectual property such as trademarks and patents
  • Your marketing materials, web presence, advertising and other marketing activities and the image they give
  • Your network of people, both virtual and in-person
  • Your mission for your business, your vision of the future and values you hold
  • Your level of expertise and professionalism
  • The products and services you provide
  • Your creative style, genre, quality, and selection
  • Your level of being cutting edge or the use of technology
  • Your customers and prospects and how they perceive you
  • Your facilities, studio or workshop
  • How and where your products are distributed and sold
  • Your company in relation to your competition
  • Your customer service, return policies and pricing
  • Your payments terms and types of payment accepted
  • Your level of community involvement and environmental sensitivity
  • How others in your organization are brand champions for your business
  • How you create or manufacture your art / products
  • How and how well your company is managed
  • Your business’s reputation with customers, prospects, employees, suppliers, industry influentials, the press, your peers and the general public
  • Your promise of value to your customers

In short: Your brand is everything your business does and everybody you touch either directly or indirectly. Your brand is what OTHER people say about your business – you have the power and responsibility to manage what this message is.

Personal Brand

The concept of a personal brand has been around for about 20 years and was put in the forefront of the business world in the article The Brand Called You by Tom Peters. His concept was fairly simple, “It’s time for me – and you – to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work…. We are CEO’s of our own companies, Me Inc.”

The concept of personal brand has not been accepted by all. Many would argue that a personal brand does not exist and it is crazy to try to apply brand attributes to a person. Others argue that personal brand is really just “reputation” or your “image”. Whatever side of the argument you are on there is a lot to be learned from the personal brand concept.

What Goes Into Personal Brand?

Just like your business has a brand you have a personal brand as well. Your business and personal brand may be separate but they also may be one in the same – it may be very hard for some to separate the two. Here are some questions that will help you identify what goes into defining your personal brand:

  • How are you, your accomplishments and your art viewed?
  • What makes you different?
  • What makes you remarkable?
  • What is your “secret sauce”?
  • How do you add value to customers who buy from you?
  • How do you add value to people you interact with?
  • Does your dress, speech, writing, communications, demeanor and the way you treat people support your brand?
  • Is your personal brand consistent in both in person and in the virtual world?
  • Are you sought after to teach, volunteer, write or speak?
  • Is your personal brand authentic and honest?

The Bottom Line of Brand

At the end of the day your brand whether business or personal is what others are saying about you, their expectations, and their perceptions. Your brand should guide you through planning and marketing your art business and serve as a basis for everyday actions – everything you do should support your brand.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What do you want your brand to be?
  3. What makes you and/or your company the only solution?

If you don’t define and nurture your brand others may do it for you – take charge of your own future and take your brand seriously!