It's In The Planning - 5 Business Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs

Planning and Preparing Are The Keys To Success...

Whether it's as small as a floral arrangement to launching a business....A plan in place and thoughtful preparation before its begun is vital to a successful end result.

Creative entrepreneurs have many exciting ideas.  Their ideas are abundant and often  are motivated by the excitement of seeing what they envision become real and eventually profitable.  

Many creative entrepreneurs hold on to their ideas and the passion of it pushes them to the next level.  But often, if there isn't a plan in place...a protocol for conducting the business, then the business will suffer.  Great ideas are exciting...making it really happen and grow is where many get caught up or lost because of poor planning.

That is why having a plan is so essential.  The word plan is a relative term to most but in the case of a creative business such as a design service, or creating and manufacturing items, or planning events, or a custom florist or the myriad of other cottage industry businesses that grow to be successful - it is essential to building out a plan from the very start.

Here are 5 Tips on creating a plan for a small creative business:

1) A business plan - defining the business, setting up goals, strategies, and a timeline, your "avatar" or customer, where you will market your product and how.  How money is to come in and out and setting financial, marketing and growth goals.  This helps to define and map out the business.

2) Setting the protocol - how will you conduct business?  What does the path of the idea, to the product, to marketing and delivering look like?  How will you collect payment/terms?  This is simplified but it is essential to understand.  Additionally, planning for growth and when that is best and how it will be done.

3) Starting small - if its a service based business like Interior Design, then practice on friends and family. Go through the process AS IF  and learn the protocol completely....seamlessly so you can handle all the details and deliver.  If its a product...start very small and test it out.

4) Be able to talk money, negotiate, name your price and support that number.  Creatives often fail at this because they love what they do and take it for granted.  Their creativity is often effortless but the time and years of gaining the expertise  are valuable. Proper compensation is necessary and the essence of why one is in business in the first place. 

5) Deliver.  Whether its manufacturing or a service.....You always must be able to deliver and even go a bit beyond the expectation.  Follow up, customer service and follow-through are vital. How does that look?  Can you be certain you can deliver??? All it takes is one bad experience.

Do this on a very small level with your clientele and group.  Test it. Test it and test it again. Set up backup resources.  NEVER put your whole business into one resource.  Suppose they have a fire? Your product is ruined. Then you cannot deliver on your first big order....These things really do happen.  Be wise.  Stay positive but prepare and plan for unforeseen issues.

I have manufactured accessories and clothing and resold them to major stores and boutiques.   The stores start small to test out your brand.   That is good because a large order out of the gate could potentially ruin a business.  I made sure they received their orders with excellent quality across the board - the whole experience.  The products sold and I got reorders. 

I have owned an interior design firm for over 20 years.  I started small and very very carefully.

Did I make errors?  Absolutely.  I didn't have the internet nor a mentor.  I had to "work it out" and being that I had already been in business, I was a bit more comfortable with it than most. Add to it that I had flipped properties and felt confident....enough.  But handling the business of it still took a while to establish the correct protocol.

Start Small.  Set Up Your Protocol. Get Trusted and Reliable Resources and......Surround Yourself With Good Advisors

That last one...find a mentor.  This is why I created Better by Design.  I am a creative entrepreneur and I very much want to share the valuable knowledge I have learned  so you can become successful.    I also love my lifestyle.  There are unknowns in being your own boss but I love the freedom to of doing a lot or a little...My choice.  I have a great life  and know as a creative, you can achieve it too.

With Planning, It can be done

Elizabeth Ribons ASID, CID

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