Posted: Wed 26th Jun 2013
How do you put your business on the right footing for growth from the very beginning, to give yourself the best chance of becoming that next great creative entrepreneur? In this extract from his new book The Business of Creativity, Michael Jacobsen looks at how your small business can get off to a flying start.
A common question for small businesses is how to start off on the right footing for growth from the very beginning, in order to get the best chance of becoming that next great creative entrepreneur, writes _Michael (left)._Â How do you become the next Simon Cowell, Sir Paul Smith or Sir Terence Conran of your particular niche?There are three key prerequisites to growing your start up creative business from day one that don't involve balance sheets, business plans or complex modelling systems:
1. Have courage in your vision
I repeatedly find the same things lacking in companies that are struggling to grow; it is a psychological impediment related to a lack of courage. From our early lives, there is a lot of negativity surrounding feelings of uncertainty or being mistaken about something. We then lack the courage to attempt new or unusual ventures. This leads to a collective, subconscious lack of courage in society, resulting in an anxiety that prevents individuals from starting businesses, or holding back their growth if they do. You need to have a belief in your vision. If you don't even have a vision yet, you don't have anything to believe in. So you need one.
"You need to have a belief in yourÂ vision. If you don't even have a vision yet, you don't have anything to believe in. So you need one."
We all know people who are going to start a business one day, marketing their crafts or putting their videographer skills into commercial practice at weddings and functions, but they never do. They are talkers, but they lack courage. They also lack clarity. I happen to believe that never starting is more of a failure than starting and falling short. Did Simon Cowell lack the courage to rebuild a business when he was broke 15 years ago and had to move back in with his parents? No. He had the courage to start again and build the empire he presides over today. So write down your vision - your foundation - own it, and espouse it everywhere you go. This vision brings you clarity and manifests your dream day by day, giving you courage that this is not just a dream but a real business concept and a potentially commercial reality.
2. Assess the need
I often read questions such as "What is the magic formula for knowing if my product or creative business concept will be a success?" This can be addressed by asking "What is the need?" and "Do you have the desire and the heart to serve that need?" If there is no immediate or visible need for your product, that doesn't necessarily preclude it. Ten years ago who knew we needed iPhones and iPads? No one except Steve Jobs who, as we know, saw the need and made people realise they had that need. He educated through clever marketing that tapped into basic desires.
- Do you want to serve a need?
- Do you know what need you are serving?
If you answer yes to both, you have a solid business foundation.
3. Coach, mentor or friend
Most successful creative sector entrepreneurs have someone to engage with, someone who they bounce ideas off and from whom they can obtain an objective opinion. It's what all successful people in the world do, across all fields, not only the creative sector. Who has ever heard of an athlete winning a race without a coach or training, or an actor in Hollywood or on the West End stage without a director and a team beside him or her, and who doesn't do rehearsals? Success doesn't come in those fields without mentoring, coaching and support, and it won't come without them in business either. You need a mentor who can provide you with clear, objective counsel and train your business skills and personal mindset.
"Success doesn't come without mentoring, coaching and support...You need a mentor who can provide you with clear, objective counsel and train your business skills and personal mindset."
Businesses are spoilt for choice in the UK as there are so many places to turn for help. Whatever your budget, even if it is non-existent, there is help in the form of mentors and coaches, and even objective family and friends. Obtaining advice and filling the gaps in your own knowledge strengthens your mindset and business skill base. Strengthening your mindset and business skill base trains you for success. Photo credits: Ken TeegardinÂ (jigsaw), andÂ RejiKÂ (garden) viaÂ CompfightÂ cc.
Get the creative business guide from Â£12.99
Michael's new book The Business of Creativity is a straight-talking business guide packed with advice and essential tips to give you everything you need to start and grow your creative business. It's available as an ebook for Â£12.99 and a paperback for Â£16.99 from the Enterprise Nation bookshop.Â Click on the link below to find out more and to order your copy.
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