Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Business Planning for Artists - Part 2

Business Planning for Artists – Part 2
In my previous Blog Post on the subject of business planning we reviewed some basic per-planning elements that should be answered by all of us. These elements included your Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and answering the ultimate question of what business you are in. I suggest that you revisit the basic elements reviewed before moving on. That said, here is a basic outline for a general business plan beginning with the Executive Statement (which, by the way, should be written last as it summarizes the whole of you business plan).
  1. Executive Summery
    What business am I in?
    My Vision
    My Mission
    Keys to my success
  2. Business Summary
    My Strengths and Weaknesses
    My Experience
    My Education
    My Business History --- an on-going business or start-up
    My Location and Facilities
  3. Products and Services (or both)
    What do I create (e.g. Custom Fine Art)
    What services to I provide (e.g. Commissioned Work)
    Competitive Comparison
    Source Materials Used
    Technologies Used
    Promotional Materials/Literature
    Future Products possible
  4. Market Analysis Summary
    My Market Segment
    Target Market Strategy
    Market Needs
    Market Trends
    Market Growth
    External Opportunities and Threats
    Market Participants
    Distribution Patterns
    Competitive Factors
    Main Competitors
  5. Strategy and Implementation summary
    Value Position
    Competitive Edge
    Marketing Strategy
    Pricing Strategy
    Promotional Strategy
    Marketing Programs
  6. Financial Plan (there is a whole list of items that can go here, but I need to start making this post a little shorter!)
  7. Personal Plan
Okay, this looks pretty daunting and is why most artists do little if any real business planning. I should also say that this outline is not chiseled in stone, so it is a starting point/suggestion not an absolute! The purpose of a business plan is to focus your attention to the grunt work of business. So if you were to work through even half of the elements of a general business plan outline, you would be in a better position business wise than the average artist. In addition, there are many business planning programs available for both the Mac and PC that will walk you through the planning process. None are all that easy to use in my opinion, but are still worth the effort to learn to use or master. I personally use Business Plan Pro and QuickBooks Pro to help me to better understand my art business and where I stand financially. I will have more to say about art business planning as others ask questions. Until then, please feel free to make comments, or ask your art related question using the comments area. I welcome and appreciate questions and input.


  1. Daunting is right..that is why we prefer to ignore it and just paint.....but then again if you want to afford to be able to paint you need to treat it like a business. Thanks for posting these Deborah!

  2. Thanks Loriann,
    Everyone has to know that I am blessed with a husband who has a financial background and has owned a business. Yes it is daunting but it is so much easier with his leadership. Still I am the one who has to answer most of these questions. Art like other creative art forms is not an essential like food, clothing, and shelter but it is an essential for me as I know it is for you. Just pray the economy begins to show some improvement soon.


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