You don’t need a business plan as an artist. You don’t need a business plan for your small creative business. You also don’t need a business plan if you are a hobby artist. And you don’t need a business plan if you are becoming a formal business such as starting your own LLC.
This blog post lays out the challenges of the traditional business plan and why it doesn’t work well for creative entrepreneurs.
Misunderstood Use of a Business Plan: The goal of writing a business plan tends to be the product, the creation of the plan. This document can give a sense of professionalism and purpose, but oftentimes this document ends up unused. The actual reason why you need a business plan is to secure a loan from a bank or to pitch to investors. If you are not planning on doing either of those, then writing a traditional business plan is pointless.
New Business Owner’s Perceptions: It’s a novice business owner’s misconception to think that before opening a business, one must write a business plan. Pushing to get a business plan written in the beginning stages of your career can waste more time than production value.
Some of the insights that come with running a creative job take years to learn and understand. Some of these insights are only learned from starting the business and learning along the way. This is especially true when your the only employee in your business or if you are new to the art world.
Disregard for Time: A business plan will only work for a short period of time. Business plans cannot predict turns in the economy like a recession. If you spend a large amount of time writing a business plan, eventually this plan will expire.
Creative Changes: A business plan cannot predict changes in your creativity. As an artist, it can be difficult to know where you want to go especially as your business development depends on the development of your creative skill. Your art will change over time. You may even change your medium and take on a new passion for choreography or pottery. A business plan cannot predict these changes creative dry spells or blocks that happen.
Eliminates the Creative Process: Writing a business plan is structured in a very left-brain way. It takes technical writing skills to create a strong business plan. This formal process is not always necessary but can oftentimes take the creative process away. There are other creative and more visual ways to set goals and plans that don’t fit the formal business plan but get at the same purpose.
So I Don’t Need A Business Plan, Now What…
Skipping the traditional business plan doesn’t mean you need to move forward without a plan.
Throw out the idea of writing a technical marketing summary and begin thinking about how you can get more involved in the local art scene, expand your product line or launch a social media campaign.
The important takeaway is that planning is necessary but do it in a way that fits your work style and creativity. Sketching, mind-mapping, and list-making can be ways to map out your goals.