Creatives and Business is all about helping you build a successful art business, arts or cultural organization or other creative business. I have put together some great resources on this site to help you sell more art, improve membership and attendance, and better manage the business side of things. I invite you to check it out and share with your creative friends. Best of Luck! – Neil McKenzie
Why do I need a business plan?
The main and best reason to develop a business plan is so that you have a blueprint to run and grow your business. Imagine trying to build a house without plan. If you are starting a new art business, a plan will help you organize your thoughts and help you tackle the challenges faced by startup businesses. If your art business is established a plan will help you in building a great team and allow you to focus on your most pressing problems, opportunities and initiatives.
A business plan will also be required if you are seeking some type of financing either from a bank or investors. Your plan will show what you intend to accomplish, how you will do it and how much money will be required. More often than not a business will prepare a plan with the sole purpose of getting financing. Your plan is an important tool in the success of your business and should be much more than a document just to raise money.
One of the most often overlooked benefits of a business plan is that it forces you to think about your business in new ways! The skills you develop in creating a business plan are universal and transferable to businesses of any kind or size. Perhaps one of the most important benefits of preparing a business plan is that you will start to think strategically, look at the big picture and develop a critical way of thinking about your business.
What is a business plan?
I come from the business world. In over thirty years of business planning, marketing and research I have had the opportunity to work with successful (as well as my share of not so successful) startups to some of the world’s biggest and best known brands. These successful companies had a lot more in common than you might think. What they had in common was a grasp for the basics of marketing, consumer behavior and a good plan of action with the management to execute it.
When I was first asked to develop and teach the course Artrepreneurship at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver to teach business to students in the arts I was excited but a bit apprehensive – I went to business school not art school! So here is my premise – selling art (or anything for that matter) is like selling potato chips, you do the basic things, you do them right and you have a chance to succeed. Don’t do them and you are set for failure.
If you have been following the series of articles on the basics of Art Marketing you already know that a traditional way to describe marketing is called the Four P’s. The Four P’s are: Product, Price, Place (Distribution) and Promotion. In this article we will take a look at the Product part of this marketing model and answer the question – “What are you selling?”
My Artrepreneurship students at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver are required to prepare their Product List as one of the first steps in developing their business and marketing plans. At first glance this seems easy, but trust me, it will require some thinking and examination into what products you make, what they are used for and who the end user is. The process usually goes something like this: