The sense of overwhelm that often comes with running a business based in your passions and skills can feel daunting to say the least, especially when your mind is focused on the creative side of your work. However, having some fundamental tools you can put into place to help alleviate overwhelm and help you make the decisions you need to move forward in the ways that feel right for you and your art can prove irreplaceable to you and the life of your business.
There are two distinct sides to running a business: the creative side, which includes your work, your message and the content through which you share your message with the world, and the technical side, which includes your personal and business finances, the structure of your business and everything that is needed to build that structure.
Usually, when we first start a business, especially as artists, we are steeped in the creative side, passionately involved in bringing new creations to life. Most small businesses begin with an idea we know we must share with the world, so we nurture the spark of passion we have into a fire we can share with others.
The problem we run into while in this state of creation is switching over to the technical side while we are in the creative part of our brains, especially in terms of building a business for the first time. Even if you’ve owned a business before, a new one will undoubtedly require a new set of technical circumstances to tend to that need a special amount of attention.
The good news is that no matter where you are in your business development- years into it and feeling like you’re heading in the right direction or just starting and not sure about what your next step may be- you can bring the technical side into fruition by implementing five basic, fundamental tools that a thriving business has in place:
1. Your Financial Baseline:
What is the minimum amount your need to make to cover your basic personal expenses (food, shelter, bills) and your basic business expenses (expenses, overhead, help/research)? Figuring out these two numbers, then adding between 5% and 25% to it will give you the bare minimum of what you need to bring in to begin creating a profitable business.
2. Your Vision Statement
What exactly are you selling, to whom, on what scale? This is the main question to ask yourself for each product offer you have in order to stay clear to yourself and your potential clients. Filling in the blanks to the following statement can help you simplify your offers, one by one:
I sell (your offer) to (your ideal client) on a (local? global?) scale.
3. Your Revenue Streams
Based on your Vision Statement and your financial baseline, how many of each offering will you need to sell in order to reach your goal by the end of a 12 month period? Work backwards to establish this number for each of your offers.
4. Knowing Your List
Your list is the backbone of your entire business, so knowing exactly who is on it and why they are there- what they like about your work and why they purchase from you- is the key to building a larger list of those who most want and need your work. The more care you put into staying in touch with your list the better chance you have of building your business in the way that makes sense for you and your valued clients.
5. Taking Action
Nothing can help you build your business better than having a plan in place that you can put into action, and actually taking that action. The more you are putting your plans into motion and assessing how they are working for you, the more you will begin to figure out what works best for your art, your vision and your clients. And the more you will begin to see the fruits of your labor pay off.
Putting the above five tools into action can enable you to get grounded no matter where you are in building your business. The beauty is in knowing how to create a foundation that allows you to make informed decisions that only you can make for your work, yourself and your clients.
What is one area you are feeling overwhelmed with right now in building your business? List it in the comments below, and let us help you move through it and past it with new, inspired wisdom!