Creative Business and The Business Of Creativity

Why Did You Start a Creative Business?

It certainly wasn’t because you saw it as the best way to get rich. If that had been your biggest desire, you would have gone into banking, or started some other, simpler sort of business.

No, your motivation was probably one or more of these:

  • You wanted to do the creative work you wanted to do, the very best you were capable of. But although you have some clients who value and respect you, you also, out of necessity, have taken on others who don’t so much;
  • You wanted greater autonomy in your working life. You were fed up with corporate hierarchies and politics. But you find the demands of running a business more and more demanding. You’re starting to feel less free than you did when you were an employee;
  • You were less and less able to stomach the way in which your creative efforts generated income from senior management and shareholders who, frankly, understood very little and cared even less about what you were doing. But you find it hard to make adequate profits out of your business;
  • You wanted to stop chasing a number – arbitrarily determined quarterly and annual targets. But you still feel you are anxiously chasing a number with your own business, and the consequences of missing it are far more serious;
  • You wanted to do work that stood out, that made a difference, that moved the whole discipline forward. You have the opportunity to do some of this, but practical demands mean that you have to take a lot of work that comes nowhere near meeting this criterion;
  • Although it was always difficult to be paid explicitly for creative insights, you were able to make enough on production to be properly rewarded for them. That is becoming harder and harder;
  • You wanted to build a great team of really excellent people. And you did, but on bad days that great team looks more like a hungry monster endlessly demanding of money and time;
  • You wanted freedom, but you feel more trapped than ever.

If this picture looks familiar, you won’t solve the problem by doing more of the same. It won’t be solved by one more big pitch won, or greater creativity, or greater effort. Creative Business has two sides, creative and business.

There are two sides to success in creative business

The answer to your dilemma is on the business side. You excel in the right brain activities, but the left brain needs to play a full part. This is made up of less familiar concepts like strategic control points, competitive differentiation, operating cashflow to operating profit ratios, activity-based costing…If all this makes you shudder or gives you a feeling of your brain shutting down, that’s quite natural. There is no reason why, as a creative person, you would have any affinity for any of this. And, fortunately, there is no need for you to master it. You need someone to support you on that side.

That is my role. I sit in the middle between creativity and business. I spent 25 years (15 at director level) learning how to do finance, without ever buying into the finance mindset. (If I had had any proper careers advice when I graduated, I would have become a journalist, a psychiatrist or a spy). I can be the bridge between you and world of finance and strategy because I spent so long working in that world while always having at least half my mind somewhere else.

If running your creative business isn’t giving you the satisfaction and fulfilment you thought it would, but you still believe it could, let’s talk.

I offer an hour’s consultation (in person or by video conference) in which we will run through the business strategies which could make your creative business start delivering the satisfaction you want. I will help you work out which of these strategies can work for you, and we will finish with the outline of an action plan.

There is no fee. We may or may not decided to continue working togethter but whichever it is I promise you an hour well spent.