Any good business takes time to reflect and consider practices that may enhance communication with clients, improve product, and ultimately make more money. Artists, despite being creatives who are really running a business solo, often neglect steps like this. Today, I’m going to show you how I have begun to develop my business plan so you can hopefully do something similar to help yourself.
The internet is an amazing, constant, ever-ready resource. It takes some persistence and brainstorming for solid keywords, but it’s amazing what you can find if you need it. This information at our fingertips has truly changed the way we view the world. Utilizing this ready resource, I did a search for templates of business plans. I found hundreds of templates I could work from so I did a cursory look through a few websites and found a blog post that described 5 different plans. (Of course, I can’t find the link to it now – be sure to always save your research!). One of the suggested plans was SCORE.
While it does not pertain particularly to a creative business, I wanted a generic business plan so I would think first about the business aspects of my creativity and then second, consider the nature of my business as a creative endeavor.
Once I committed to a business plan I was able to transfer it to my Google Drive. If you aren’t yet using Google Drive, it’s time to join the digital age. I have a folder in my drive solely for my art business, another for blog posts, it’s a great way to maintain copies of everything in the cloud so I can reach my information at anytime, anywhere that has an internet connection. And if you open the document as a Google Doc, it doesn’t count against your storage (memory).
Now that I have the plan as a Google Doc, I’ve started putting each category and topic of reflection in bold, this way I can keep the information provided by SCORE separate from my personal reflections. It also helps me to keep track of what I have actually filled out in the document.
It’s going to take me several weeks to thoroughly reflect and answer all of the questions and outline all of the information the document asks of me. But that is the entire point! If you don’t reflect on your practice and the choices you make, how can you take steps to grow and learn from them?! This applies to business and our general creativity.
After it is finished, I suggest you take some time away from it. Give it to a friend or colleague you can trust to honor your work and dream. For example, my father has been in a retail corporate environment for years. While he may not fully appreciate my business in its creative light, he certainly has a LOT of experience that could inform my business. Wait at least a week before you review their notes or review your content again. Then reflect and amend as you need to…space always helps me see things I didn’t notice before!
One of the main categories for reflection in the SOURCE plan is Goals. Within Goals, you should have smaller objectives that help you reach specific goals. For me, a goal is: To create art that sells in Oman and the UAE. Objectives to reach that goal could include: develop relationships with local businesses that support the arts, go to and possibly offer art classes through local art group, etc. Once you have some of your goals outlined, even without your business plan complete, get started! You have specific, outlined tasks to help you achieve your dream.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Find a business plan you believe could work for you. Begin to outline your ideas using it as a framework.