Why Every Creative Needs a Business Plan (and How to Start Writing One Today)


How to Write a Business Plan

Photo: Thought Catalog
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If you think you don’t need a business plan because you work in a creative field, think again. Business plans aren’t only for multimillion dollar corporations or startups seeking investors. They also offer great ways to have a handle on your business, whether you are selling goods online, starting your photography studio, or working as a fine artist.

At its core, a business plan is a roadmap to guide you through your career. As a living document, your business plan will be continually updated to reflect your long-term and short-term goals. And, even if you aren’t seeking investors right away, a solid business plan will come in handy if you decide to solicit investments in the future. Starting with a smaller plan that you can update as you go is often the best course of action for creatives who are beginning their careers but don’t necessarily need a business plan to present to investors.

Best of all, your business plan doesn’t have to be lengthy. No one wants to read 100 pages—keep it short and sweet. Especially when you’re starting out, it can be around 10 to 15 pages, but that’s ok. Some of the best business plans are short and to the point, which is made possible by doing your homework ahead of time and being concise about your vision. In the end, the elements of your business plan are simply the business strategies you’ll need to be thinking about when launching your creative career. What are you selling? What makes your work unique? Who are your clients? How will you market to them? These are just some of the questions your business plan will answer, making it easier for you to stay on track and to communicate about your work effectively.

See how easy it can be to write a business plan for your creative career according to our outline.

If you’re lost and aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. Business plans follow a fairly standard format. The questions you ask yourself and how they’re answered might differ based on your profession, but the motives behind each are the same. They’ll get you thinking deeply about your career, what you want out of it, and how you’ll measure success.

Depending on your career, some areas may be more in-depth than others, but each will give you a map to success. And remember, when we speak about a company or business, this can be a single person. An individual artist is his/her own business—working as CEO, creative director, salesman, and product all wrapped into one.


What is a Business Plan?

Photo: rawpixel


Executive Summary

This is the area to write the big picture. As the opening to your business plan, it summarizes the what you’re looking for out of your creative business and how you plan to accomplish those goals in a broad sense. Interestingly, most people write this section last, as it summarizes the entire plan. Think of this as your written elevator pitch.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s your big picture vision for your company?
  • Why is your creative business poised for success?


Business Description

Here you’ll not only want to introduce what you are offering but also give insight into the industry at large. Is it a growing market? Are there trends to look out for? This is also the place to spell out how your business is structured legally and how long you have already been working in the field.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What general industry are you working in?
  • What trends are happening in the industry and how will this impact your business?
  • What does the future of this industry look like?
  • What type of business are you running (service oriented, retail, etc.)?
  • How are you structured legally for tax purposes?
  • Is your business new or pre-existing?


Business Planning for Creatives

Photo: Kyle Glenn


Products & Services

This is where you’ll break down the specifics of the creative work you are producing, whether it be photography services, oil paintings, or embroidery patterns. The point here is to not only demonstrate what makes your creative work different, but to also clearly articulate what clients can expect when they hire you or purchase an item.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What services or products are you providing?
  • What’s your creative niche?
  • How is what you provide unique in your industry?
  • What makes your work unique?


Marketing Plan

In your marketing plan, you’ll not only explore who your clients are but your entire strategy for developing your brand and getting your name out into the world.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are your clients?
  • Where will you find your potential clients?
  • Why should clients pick your work over the competition?
  • How will you communicate your artistic vision to your clients?
  • How will you cultivate repeat clients?


Do Artists Need a Business Plan

Photo: rawpixel


Competitor Analysis

Every successful business plan takes a look at the competition and evaluates their successes and failures. The key to good business is understanding your market, and being able to hone in on what separates you from the rest.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who are your main competitors in the industry?
  • How does your work differ from theirs?
  • How does your pricing differ?
  • Who are their biggest clients?
  • What can you learn from them?


Operations & Management

Whether you are doing it all yourself or have a team in place, this is section is where you look at the details of how you produce your work and run your business. While you may not have full-time collaborators to begin with, you may be bringing on temporary consultants like web designers or working with distribution channels that sell your art online. Get as specific as possible and don’t forget to include logistics from start to finish.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a team? If so, what are their specific roles?
  • How will the fulfillment of orders and services be handled?
  • How will distribution work?
  • How specifically will your product be executed?
  • What are your benchmarks for successful operations?


Business Plans for Artists

Photo: rawpixel



And finally, it comes down to the money. Taking a critical look at your expenses and potential profits, especially as they relate to your lifestyle expectations, will be important. It’s also essential to give yourself benchmarks for success and room to grow financially. The more specific you get, the easier it will be to track your success.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much does it cost to create your product or provide a service?
  • What are your other overhead costs (rent, utilities, etc.)?
  • What type of profit can you expect?
  • How much of your time will you be devoting to your business?
  • What is your pricing strategy?
  • How will your pricing change in the future?
  • What is your benchmark for profitability?
  • Do you have an emergency safety net?


Read on for more resources to help you craft the perfect business plan to kickstart your creative career.

The post Why Every Creative Needs a Business Plan (and How to Start Writing One Today) appeared first on My Modern Met.


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