Growing a creative business

Here is an article written by me and published recently in the Brighton & Hove Independent newspaper.

Many creative business owners start out as freelancers and then get (too) busy.  They reach a crossroads where they have to decide whether they remain a one-man band or grow into a business.  If they decide to remain as a freelancer then they can pick and choose the ideal client/type of work and create a ‘lifestyle’ business.  However, if they decide they want to grow their business then the game changes; their priorities and how they spend their time will change considerably.

Here are 5 tips on growing a creative business:

  1. Get a plan – a business without a plan is like driving on a long journey with no idea of the destination! No doubt this will be a painful journey.  So, decide on the destination (the vision) and then work out how you are going to get there (the strategy) and then plot a detailed route (the business plan)
  2. Decide on where you sit in the market – the creative sector is a crowded market so what makes you truly different? And here is a clue – it’s not because ‘we really care’ or ‘go the extra mile’ or ‘are friendly’! Do some research and decide where you want to focus, who is your target customer and then focus on being the best in your chosen niche. Read more about niching in my free guide.
  3. Use your time wisely – you will need to be great at juggling plates so work out what you really need to do and what only you can do – and delegate as much as possible (get a great support network around you, even when you have no direct employees – a virtual assistant, a bookkeeper, a coach etc.)
  4. Focus on the most effective ways to win new business – just relying on referrals won’t necessarily give you consistent steady growth, so what else can you do? What are the most effective sales & marketing channels to reach your target customer?
  5. Create measurable milestones – once you have started points 1 to 4 you can now focus on delivering the short-term plan and if you have some measurable KPIs or milestones you can assess whether you are on course or if you need to make some changes. This becomes particularly important when you have employees who you need to get aligned with the vision and focused on the right things.

There are many tasks a new business owner needs to focus on so it’s vital to get organised and work out your priorities.  If you want to avoid getting quickly burnt out then follow the 5 tips above, as a starting point to growing your business.

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