A common challenge for creative businesses is how they can be both creative and successful. Of course, that is not necessarily easy to achieve, and some business owners have problems with it. Fortunately, Nesta runs a Creative Business Mentor Network which brings together leaders of creative companies in the UK. At a recent Nesta event, these leaders were asked:
“What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone running a creative business today?”
This led to the creation of ten tips for success for creative businesses in the current business environment. The essence of the tips for success for creative companies that is offered by Nesta is encapsulated in the ten tips detailed below:
1. Focus on one area and get good at it
If you focus on what you are good at rather than trying to be all things to all people you will have a greater chance of success. That’s because you will be more specialised at what you do and able to offer more value in that specific area.
2. Become a planner
You need to have a good idea of what your business is and where it is going. Developing a good vision that demonstrates this can be helpful. You should make a plan. You can change it along the way as needed, but documenting a plan is commonly found to be more likely to lead to success than when people fail to create objectives.
3. Do something different
People that do something different make others stand up and pay attention to them. If you offer the same old thing that everyone else does, and do it in the same way, there is nothing to make you stand out from the crowd. If you take a few more risks to make sure that you stand out then you will have a much better chance of being noticed.
4. Don’t forget the numbers
You may be working in a creative field but that is no excuse to not focus on the numbers. You need to make sure that your cash flow is always healthy so that your business is able to keep functioning. This is a responsible practice to make sure that you can pay people and suppliers on time. There’s nothing wrong with profit – you’re running a business after all.
5. Share ideas to innovate
Collaboration is the key to success in any business, including a creative business. The greater diversity of ideas that you have, the more likely that you will be able to come up with innovative new ideas that will help you to succeed. Collaborating within the business and with clients and suppliers can be very helpful in achieving this.
6. Protect your ideas
Make sure to protect your ideas as they are the essence of the value of who you are and what you do. You need to make sure that your ideas are not copied, and you need to be able to defend them if need be.
7. Take a digital approach
Build up a culture of digital in your organisation. Focus on connecting and engaging with employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders that you interact with. Learn about what is a social business and how to use the various social media platforms to work collaboratively and to promote your business. This will help you to be able to extend the boundaries of what you do and appeal to others. Learn how to use mobile, and other new technologies as they emerge.
8. Don’t give up
Remember that people make mistakes, they learn from them and move on. Equally you will not always win every opportunity that you seek. You need to be determined, put issues behind you and move on. Focusing on how you can improve for the next time is helpful in achieving this.
9. Improve… and improve some more
Developing a culture of continuous improvement will help your business to succeed. It will look at what went wrong and help you to find better solutions for the future. That means you won’t make the same mistake next time.
10. Keep it fun
Creative businesses are supposed to be fun. Seek out fun and help others to do the same. This will help to keep things interesting and enjoyable for both you and your employees.
To the ones interested in opening a creative business, Nesta’s website offers various valuable resources. One of these is Nesta’s Creative Enterprise Toolkit. Used by hundreds of successful creative entrepreneurs, the Creative Enterprise Toolkit is a resource that helps one plan, build, communicate and finally launch their new business.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.