The words, “art business” can mean different things to different people. Maybe your art business is a graphic design, patternmaking or a jewelry design firm. Maybe it’s a gallery or retail outlet. It really doesn’t matter the type of creative business you’re building because basic business skills are the same for every enterprise; ceramics, fashion, recording studio, sales rep, or video production.
Knowing even a few steps to a solid and healthy business is a great start so we’ve put together the a few concepts we feel are most important.
There are MANY other very talented artists vying for your clients, so to;
- rise above the pack
- find clarity
- reduce stress
- move past obstacles
it’s necessary to become educated in business strategies using workshops, a business coach, mentors here on Embrace Creatives, and read our articles.
NARROW YOUR OUTPUT
Artists are blessed with the ability to do pretty much everything and believe us, they try to. However, if you’re working in fiber but also trying your hand in ceramics or you’re an industrial designer who feels the need to cast table top pieces and also hand build work for private clients, think again.
It’s not that we don’t WANT you to do everything, it’s that we don’t want you to do everything, right now… Choose one product or service to produce, build your business around it, fail small, succeed big then add products once your business is running smoothly.
Remember that each product may bring different clients and markets which means that if you produce small, limited edition cast tabletop pieces as well as large sculptures for commercial buildings, you’ll basically have two businesses to run and you’ll spread yourself too thin.
Don’t do everything or you’ll not succeed at even one thing.
TEMPER YOUR EMOTIONS
Building a business means engaging in many, many responsibilities, tasks and goals that succeed or fail and if you allow yourself to be pushed and pulled emotionally by each failure or success, you’ll be overwhelmed and exhausted.
We’re not saying you should be unemotional, that’s impossible. Instead, look at your business strategies as steps you take to reach goals and celebrate the small steps. When there’s a failure look at it from the outside-in (don’t take it personally) and try to learn from it. Then count your successes and move on to the next task and opportunity (there will be many).
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KNOW BASIC BUSINESS ESSENTIALS
The goal of any business is to make money and turn a profit. In order to do that you need to learn basic business strategies like;
- developing a strong core structure,
- setting high integrity tenets,
- creating costing sheets that show a healthy profit,
- detailing your mission and story,
- finding your ideal clients, and
- learning how to speak to them so they order and re-order.
Fortunately, business training specific to the creative mindset is readily available and you don’t have to leave your studio to gain the education you need to become the professional artists that buyers are seeking. In addition to these workshops, read books, find your support group (like here on Embrace Creatives), join a few art organizations and research articles.
The RIGHT business training will bring you clarity and BOOST your self-confidence.
NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK.
Embrace Creatives exists to empower the art industry through connections and we believe in connections for a very good reason. The more people you know, the more potential customers, collaborators, experts, supporters, mentors and friends you’ll make and all of those types of people are absolutely necessary to expand your art business.
Having a selective but strong group of contacts will guide you to rise above obstacles and open you up to opportunities you couldn’t find staying insular in your studio. Making new acquaintances is important but asking for help is imperative. People can’t read minds. Ask. For. Help.
Oh, and even MORE important: Give help in return. Ask others what you can do for them as you’re looking to fulfill your needs. It feels good to give and no one will want to support you if you’re always taking from others.
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INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS
Most people like “free”. A free car wash on your birthday. A free visit to a museum. Free gift with purchase.
But thinking you can run your business without paying for important items like education, expert support or quality supplies is not only a limiting belief but it will set you up for failure. Few small business owners start with tens of thousands of dollars at their disposal so it’s necessary for you to budget and hey, if you’re offered services as a barter, a kind gesture or at a discount, take them but when it’s time to pay for something that can support your growth, find the money.
Borrow from family or friends, take out a business line of credit through your bank, ask to be put on a payment plan, or put the fee on a low interest credit card.
Incidentally, we’ve interviewed many, many people who’ve told us that when they take a free workshop or rsvp for a free event, they aren’t committed to attending and if they do attend, they walk in thinking that the workshop or event won’t be valuable. “Free” is not always a good thing.