Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to Make a Great Artist Business Plan in 6 Steps

Part 1: Cover Sheet
Simply write, “Business Plan (YOUR NAME)” on a piece of paper and revel in your achievement.

Part 2: About You
Business Basics: List the basics here. The name of your business, all your contact information and web address.

History: Think of this as a bio for your business. How did you make the progression into the art business? If you’ve been doing this for a while what has been your progression? This should be easy to read and sound as if you were writing an "About Me & My Art" essay.

Business Description:  Briefly explain what you’re planning to do or are already doing with your business. Are you going to sell your art through your own on-line gallery or are you seeking private collectors and galleries? A reader should get the gist of what it is you’re trying to do with this basic description. 

Mission: A mission is very important to have. Keep it short and real. It should be short enough to memorize and small enough that you can carry it around in your head with you at all times. 

Grand Vision: Do you want to eventually have a TV show? Do you want to be a multi-platinum selling CD artist? This is the place to write down the grand vision of what you want your art career to look like.

Part 3: About What You Plan to Sell:
Artists Menu: List the types of products and services you want to offer your fans, clients or customers.

Your Competition: Who is already doing what you’re doing? How are they succeeding? How are you going to do it better?

Your Ideal Customer: This is your reference tool for how you plan to get your stuff in front of the right people.

Referral List of Resources:
List the names and contact information for everyone you plan to consult with or hire. For instance, do you have an account in mind to answer some questions once you set up your non-profit fundraiser? If so, list his name and number. Do you have an entertainment lawyer in mind who can review your upcoming contract? If you plan to use the free lawyers on the Writer’s Guild website, list that. Who is your graphic designer and web designer?

Part 4: Your Vision:
Goals:  This should include your 1month, 6 month, 1 year and 3 year goals. 

Obstacles: What might stand in your way from achieving what you want to achieve. Make a list of 3-5 things. 

Part 5: Yeah, but how much will it cost?

Number crunching is simply sitting down and coming up with a plan to make your art profitable and figuring out how to make more money come in. For instance, if you have a production with a cast of twenty, this is the time to figure out if you want to make money by selling advertisements in a production program or rely strictly on ticket sales. After you do the math, you may find that it’s more profitable to do the show with a cast of three. You can use this section to brainstorm as well, and come up with some creative ways to generate extra money from your art.

Part 6: Seeking Advice
Sharing: Once you’ve printed out your plan, I recommend you pay a visit to your local SCORE office. SCORE stands for the Service Corps of Retired Executives.  These are guys that have already “done it” in the business world and are now giving back by offering free advice to others. They’ll look over your business plan, reference you to their free library of business books, and turn you onto some really great resources. 


  1. Thank you for this, Slash. I will have my business plan written by next Friday. Promise!