A business plan allows you to set forth your goals on paper. It creates a map for your future and provides focus for your career. There are many different types of business plans and you can create your own by combining formats or borrowing a template from the web as a starting point.
All business plans address several key issues:
- What are my goals, both concrete and personal?
- How will I achieve those goals?
- What do I need to achieve those goals?
The simplest way to start your business plan is to create an outline and fill it in based on your own particular needs. For an artist, a business plan might include the following sections:
- A quick overview of your plan! Write this section after you are finished the entire plan.
- Who are you and why do you create what you create?
- Where do you want to go with your art? This can be personal (ie. I want to expand into cast pieces vs. blown glass) or concrete (ie. I want to see my work in 3 new spaces this year; I want to sell 10 works, etc.)
- How will you reach your goals?
- What kind of financial resources do you need to reach your goals? If making additional money is a goal, how much?
- How are you going to let people know about your work? What techniques are you going to use to promote yourself?
A business plan for an artist can be a very personal document. Conversely, you can adapt this format to a more business-like format if you are creating your plan for the sole purpose of securing funding to expand your business.
A multitude of resources exist for building a business plan and for thinking about your career as an artist. For a start, you may want to visit the U.S. Government Small Business Administration site. It has a number of resources including a guide to writing your own business plan.