Working With Creative Businesses
I talk with a lot of people who love the idea of being involved with a creative business but feel they aren’t “creative enough”.
Personally I think we’re all “creative enough” but many of us need to opportunities in life to build confidence in our creativity, to realise how we are creative.
I meet some amazing people who are very creative business, accounting (not illegal creative accounting mind you, just talented in that way!) and IT people and who want to have beauty and creativity in their lives.
I think there is a great opportunity for talented business, accounting and IT people to work with talented designers, creators and crafts people to grow successful businesses.
The creative businesses need a good business head involved. Someone with vision, understanding of the business and the creative needs and excellent communication skills.
What a lot of creative/craft businesses need is help with organisation, growth, focusing on where the income is (what should be designed and made first so money can come in to keep paying for components etc), order of paying bills, cashflow planning, business planning, marketing, website design and maintenance and what some of us see as the fun side of having a business and others think is tedious.
Personally I like both sides of having a business but that has a lot to do with my background – 10 years in the blue-chip corporate world. I couldn’t have stayed so long in the sphere if I hadn’t enjoyed it. But I enjoy the designing and creating mixed with a business element more. But I know that I behave differently with my different friends. With my business friends it is talking about business and marketing strategies for my business. With my design friends it is all about colour, art, design, texture, imagery, feeding the soul and being fluid.
Yet when I’m designing business and marketing strategies I have to be in my creative space to do it. When I’m struggling with desgning Excel formulas to calculate over a spreadsheet how realistic my plans are I have to let my creative self come out to create the formula. But this is how I know there is creativity in business, accounting and IT. You have to be creative to come up with the talented solutions.
So for those of you who have the business, accounting and/or IT focus and want to be involved with creative people and businesses consider doing some initial part time work – paid or voluntary – to gain some experience and find a way for it to suit you and be worthwhile for others.
Understand the organisations you want to help so you can provide solutions that are tailored for them so they can work. A business process is only a solution when it is designed to snugly meet the needs of the individual business.
For IT people who want to work with creative people and businesses consider communication skills and industry jargon. Creative people tend to be vision people and respond very well to diagrams. Try also having a handy glossary of terms that have the term with a definition in two parts – basic technical combined with a lay term definition. If you know some talented technical writers they may be able to help with this, especially over a bottle of red with a good dinner. 🙂
It is also possible to get a small network together of the different skill sets. I think a small group of 3 – 5 so it doesn’t get too big and have too many personalities in it but that’s just me.
Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you want to make something happen you can.
Just some key tips when working with creative/craft people – communication is paramount. Do you want your message to be understood and accepted? If yes, then present it to your audience (your creative person who owns the business) in a way that they can hear it.
People don’t hear or understand when they are upset, feeling threatened or scared, daunted or patronised. So make them feel secure and happy when you want key messages to be understood.
This means you’ll have to understand where they are coming from, what are their concerns, what makes them tick, understanding what it is like to stand in their shoes and being open to reading their body language.
Creative people can be insecure about business issues, just as business talented people can feel insecure about their creative talents. So make people feel secure.
Also keep in mind a lot of creative businesses are small and need the opportunity to grow. So the work is more likely to be part time or consulting based rather than full time.
Maybe you can blend a part time contracting roll paying good dollars with a part time creative role?
Maybe you can work full time and slowly build up a creative client base that is performance paid – so you get paid a percentage of increased business. This type of payment takes away the risk for the creative business owner and makes it more attractive. Just make sure you both clearly understand the agreement. Have it written out in plain English (so much easier to understand and have success with) and keep communication open and friendly.
There are loads of options and ways of making something work. As long as you have the will to make something happen you will make it happen.
Personally I think there is a lot of opportunity for business, accounting and IT people to help creative businesses with loads of potential to reach their potential.