The Importance of Reviewing your Creative Business
As an artist dedicated to creating unique designs your creative journey is undoubtedly a passion-filled adventure. While the heart of your business lies in your artistic expression, it’s essential to take a step back each year for an annual business review. This introspective process can be a powerful tool for growth, ensuring your artistic endeavours align seamlessly with your business goals.
The Evolving Canvas of Your Business Plan:
Your business plan serves as the blueprint for your creative enterprise, much like the first sketch before a masterpiece unfolds. An annual review provides the opportunity to revisit and revise this plan, acknowledging the dynamic nature of the market and your artistic evolution. By reassessing your goals, target audience, and marketing strategies, you can adapt to emerging trends, customer preferences, and industry shifts.
Pivoting with Purpose:
One of the key benefits of an annual review is the ability to identify areas that may require a pivot in your business strategy. As an artist crafting a gift and product line, this could involve refining your product offerings, exploring new products or mediums and adjusting pricing structures. Perhaps a particular collection resonated more strongly with your audience, signalling a potential pivot towards a specific niche or theme.
There may be some fantastic products out there that would do well for you, keep your collection fresh and be more in keeping with your evolving style than an existing range. So many of us can get stuck in our ways and not consciously review what we are selling and where.
We recently, as part of our own annual review, asked our long-standing artist customers which products they would like us to add to our printing range –53% of the products we were asked for we already print and have done so for over a year. This made us realise that:
- Many of us just repeat order products we know without periodically reviewing
- During our conscious wish to not be one of `those companies’ that send out too many emails, we have been failing in being more vocal about new products (see, we have an outcome from our review that we can learn from!)
While creativity fuels your artistic endeavours, a successful business requires a solid financial foundation. Your annual review is an opportune time to assess your financial health, evaluate expenses, and set realistic revenue goals.
Consider whether your pricing aligns with the value of your creations and explore avenues for cost optimisation. This is a time to check you know the ins and outs of your finances.
Your first task should be that you know what your annual overheads are. These need to be covered before you make any sort of profit so knowing what that figure is can give you some real clarity on what kind of income you need to have a financially viable business.
Knowing how much a product costs you to produce and sell is imperative and should be used as a basis for your price list/s. We can’t stress enough how much clarity you have by setting a price list you can refer to, not only for customers but also for retailers who either buy from you on a trade basis or to whom you loan stock on a sale or return basis.
A sound financial strategy ensures your artistry can flourish without the constraints of financial stress.
Where are you selling your products and is that working for you?
Whether you are selling in person, online or through retailers this is a great time to do a quick review of how this is working for you.
Being aware of fees, commission and work involved in selling through any of your forums should be part of your review.
Maybe you have products invested in sale or return that are not giving you the financial outcome you expected therefore the plan maybe needs to be pivoted.
Are there any forums you would like to start selling in? Creating a list of shops, locations or online forums you would like to explore more is a great exercise to give you something to work towards.
Are there any roles in your business that could be outsourced to give you more free time to focus on creating? We are aware through our own experiences as artists and business owners that there is not always the financial scope to do this when starting out, however, there are elements that you can tap into even at that early stage. For example, Creative Forge offers print on demand and drop shipping direct to customers and retailers. We send parcels as if the item has come from you with your own postcards or thank you notes etc. We also create mock ups and product shots so you don’t have to and can literally have a product live on your site within a day of finishing a design. Other suppliers may offer the same, freeing you up to not have to worry about some tasks.
As you become more established, you can tap into more outsourced services with the optimum being you focusing on creative design whilst background work creates you passive income.
Building a Lasting Legacy:
Beyond the immediate success of your gift and product line, an annual review helps you shape a lasting legacy as an artist. Reflect on your artistic journey, the challenges overcome, and the milestones achieved. Use this introspection to define your brand story and communicate it effectively to your audience. A well-crafted narrative enhances the perceived value of your creations, fostering a connection between your art and the hearts of those who appreciate it.