How to Organize as you Start your own Small Business
I met with Stephanie a few months ago to talk with her about starting a small business through which to sell her artwork. As an artist, Stephanie was well-versed in her specialized mediums (photography and painting), so she wanted to talk more about the logistics of setting up a small business. Step 1: Set-up the infrastructure The first step is to set up the infrastructure such that you have systems in place to help you move forward toward your business goals. We talked about documents that would be necessary to set up a bank account, getting business cards, creating a website, and getting her business registered with the State of Texas.
Step 2: Determining goals The next thing we did was list all of the goals that she wanted to accomplish in the next few months. We also talked about a daily schedule that would flow from her activities (e.g., what time of day is she most creative, when do you run errands, etc.). From there, we talked about splitting time between her studio and supporting the business. One way I encourage people to do this is to set a timer to keep you moving between the two areas. For example, send emails for thirty minutes and then work for 1 hour in the studio. Then, make phone calls for thirty minutes and return to the studio again. Breaking up the tasks in this way helps you to continue to be moving toward your goals, but not remain too focused on one such that you forget about the other.
Step 3: Start to market Prior to our meeting, Stephanie researched and joined groups in the art industry. I encouraged her to talk about the business at least once a day and find ways (at little to no cost) to market the business. Giving away time or items is a great way to begin to market. This develops a following and people share the information with others.
Stephanie followed-up with me about 6 weeks later. With her newly printed card, she told me about how she had won two of the art competitions that she had entered and had a buyer for both of the pieces!
Here’s one of Stephanie’s pieces: