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The Artistic Business Acumen

"You cannot be a success in any business without believing that it is the greatest business in the world...You have to put your heart in the business and the business in your heart." Robert Sobel IBM: Colossus in Transition (1981)

The one aspect to being a creative is that creativity is never really synonymous with business.  Artists will be quick to note that they are not business people, but creators, and I am quick to note that artists are the ultimate business owners.  In a normal business, a product is developed by someone else, bought by another business, marketed and on sold.  It passes through so many 'agents' before it reaches the final destination; the consumer.  I call this the 'business mile', like a 'food mile', only it directly refers to the mileage of the product before it reaches it's destination.  The artist or creator though can reach the final destination; the consumer, without all of the 'inbetweeners' involved, but in order for that to happen perception must shift.

Creatives for too long have not been given the opportunity to delve into the business side of their craft.  It has all been about the creation and there is total validity in this, but what of the need to make money and survive, why can't the two coexist hand in hand?  Why must the perception be that as an artist the business side of the craft is all too difficult?  Well, it is not too difficult, as long as the road to running and owning a business is adhered to.

The first step in any business is the creation of the entity.  This is probably the first step in acknowledging that the artistic endeavour, whatever that may be, can be a stand alone vehicle in developing the artistic product and the eventual distribution of that product to reach the consumer.  This can be achieved with a trusted team that can be appointed to work alongside the artist, chosen by the artist.  Even though these concepts are very deeply threaded in business thinking, it does not mean that an artist cannot employ them.  

It applies to all the crafts and the arts and it really is about becoming more entrepreneurial by embracing the intricacies of being in a business.   It is the same with painters, writers, script writers, directors, indie filmmakers, sculptors, producers, and the list can go on.  All too often when the money is scarce, doubt has a sneaky way of trying to come into the artistic practice-not necessary, making money is not synonymous with the quality of the product, but more with the inadequate business processes that have been put in place.  This is where the team of professionals at the onset of the business and artistic practice will be able to set the path ahead as a proper business and money making venture.

The heart for an artist is always in their artistic practice, passion makes sure of that, but if some of that, with the help of the professional team can be made available for the business too,  then the business may very well make its way into the artist's heart too. A win win.

Stella Dimadis
11th Feb, 2016.


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