Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Art of Business

If you've been following Please Sir on Twitter, you may have noticed several tweets about the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference. On Saturday, the one day event was filled with interesting speakers and motivating concepts for any type of entrepreneurial artist. William Mangum, an acclaimed watercolorist and gallery owner, shared his view on the art of business and what it means to be an entrepreneur.

He referred to the "Art of Business" as:

A - Alliance: seeing what is possible with other people, corporations and causes
R - Resourcefulness: connecting the dots to make a vision into reality
T - Tenacity: having the fire to get started and stay motivated

Mangum also said an entrepreneur:

1. Dreams big
2. Takes risks
3. Never rests on their laurels
4. Constantly raises the bar
5. Creates value and carves out a niche
6. Exploits and identifies market opportunities

I thought Mangum's experience and points were valued for anyone working to find their way, develop a business or build on an already successful brand. This list may come in handy when you are stuck in an entrepreneurial rut, need a reminder of why you do the crazy (yet rewarding) things you do and to know you are not alone!

If you are an entrepreneur or looking to become one - what would you add to this list? Also, please comment if you have any additional guidance and wisdom!

Links - William Mangum & image via TNA Clothing


Ange said...

I think I know a few people who will comment on this one so I will pass it along to them. GREAT POST!!

Jan said...

Excellent points - I really don't have anything to add b/c he covered a lot of territory in is summary points. Someone once told me that selling art is 50% making art and 50% marketing it. I think that 2nd part is what often gets overlooked by those looking to cash in quickly on their talent without any entrepreneurial spirit. I would even go so far as to say that the 2nd part is more important than the 1st - at least in our culture today.

Krissy | Paper Schmaper said...

I agree with daisy above. Marketing is so important today...

I think the list was perfect, i might only add network, network, network. Networking is so much work I usually fall short on that end. But I've seen entrepreneurs rise and fall, all because of networking.

great post today dearie, I'm interested to read all the comments you'll receive.

please sir said...

Thanks for the input! Daisy you are so right on the marketing. Krissy - yes, of course could we forget?! These are really great points to add!

yasmine said...

I also think that a great artist and business person is creative and has the ability to see opportunity even through the bleakest of times. Many opportunities are missed when people get the impression that now is a "bad time" or a specific place is a "bad place" and other such factors. The key words here are creativity, optimism, innovation, opportunity and newness.

Despite current hardships in these economic times, there is a lot of room for growth and innovation. Desperation allows for innovation as what more can you lose when you're pretty much down and out? I've been in those situations which, as bleak as they've seemed, opened up so many doors. When you're hungry and don't really have much, you think of ideas to get yourself out of that rut. And sometimes those ideas are good enough to take to the next level and build something around it--whatever it may be. Not only that, desperation forces you to ask for help. And some of my mentors and inspirations were those people who have helped me along the way and I'm truly grateful for these people.

Great topic D!

Maria | Vintage Simple said...

What a wonderful post..! It sounds like the kind of conference I should have attended - I have such a hard time marketing myself... I love the creative aspect of what I want to do, but I'm certainly not comfortable with the business side of things... I think making strong connections with people is still key though, no? (I guess that would fall under "Alliance".)

But I loved this and I'll come back to it - to get inspiration and challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. I love #5: Creates value and carves out a niche. I've been tossing that one around in my head for a little while now...

Much to think about here - thanks for posting. I'll be curious to see what others have to say.


AMM blog said...

That crazy little ring on your sidebar is amazing!
Hope you are well!! :)

My Owl Barn said...

Great points! I would like to add customer service to the list which I think is a back bone of a business.

evencleveland said...

I would add don't be afraid to get help when you need it. No one is an expert on everything. There are times when insight from a friend or mentor or even getting advice from a professional consultant can give you the lift you need to get to the next level. It can seem pricey, but in the end drawing on someone else's expertise can save a lot of time, frustration, and heartache.

mary said...

Tenacity...oh, yes. For sure! It's so easy to go in with high hopes and romantic visions of quitting your day job right off the bat; reality is usually a bit more brutal. So keeping at it is half the battle.

And I agree with what the others have said: marketing and networking are so vital! I have the most trouble with those -- I'm the worst at promoting myself, and am all about forging genuine friendships rather than relationships that'll "get me somewhere". It's a hard line to walk for me, but I'm learning. :)

Cindy said...

i love the topic and william's succinct points, plus the insights in the comments. a couple of thoughts -

regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else, i would start out with values. i've learned over the years that it is so important to be in touch with your core values (3-4), the things you would never compromise. once you know them, you can live them in all you do. decisions become easier because if something/someone challenges a core value, the choice should be obvious.

the other quality that is similar to tenacity is confidence. i've seen this over and over, again. although it's important to be flexible and adaptable, having supreme confidence in what you do is essential because, again, it will be challenged, especially during tough times. so many businesses have seen their sales tumble recently and are second guessing their entire business model. they're assuming it is broken when the business cycle is in flux, which may or may not have something to do with their core business.

finally, i work in marketing and if you build it they will come if they know where to go and why. love the discussion, diana!

katy elliott said...

I love these tips & love stephanie's (even cleveland) add on. I learn so much from my blog readers and other blogs. It's impossible to know everything. Research, ask, and research more.

For example I just starting take knitting classes. I always wanted to knit but by taking a class and learning from other women it has propelled me forward. I am working on projects I never imagined I could do.

Michelle from Holley & Gill said...

These points are all things that I've truly experienced in such a short amount of time. With all of this going on it can feel like a roller coaster ride so for me tenacity has been key.

I also agree with Cindy, confidence should be somewhat of a foundation to either yourself, the service you are offering or your product.

But I think the point that has kept me on this journey has been the willingness to learn. No business owner knows everything and nor should they. The constant opportunity to educate myself within so many different aspects is what really makes this all worthwhile.

Thanks for the great post!

Unknown said...

I think it's pretty perfect ...but I would add that doing something you love and enjoy makes it so easy you don't even have to follow any rules :)

So great.

Simply Grove said...

I am all about dreaming big!!!!! Why not, right?

Kelly@ColorSizzle said...

Great post!! Wonderful advice. I would also add that you must not compare yourself to others. Be inspired by them, but don't compare. Stay authentic and promote your successes! Thanks for sharing!

Mel said...

So many great tips! I agree completely with Simply Grove. DREAM BIG! You never know what might happen or where you might end up otherwise.
I also love what Michelle said about tenacity and confidence. It takes courage to start something new, and not everyone's going to immediately love what you're up to. You might get snide comments or just comments from people that don't understand. You can only take these comments and learn from them. Critique helps you to grow.

(Great post!)

dee said...

Well, I think he definitely hit the nail on the head with this list. The other thing I would add is: Can function on very little sleep!

jessica swift said...

Ahhhh, this list is wonderful!! What a great post, Diana. It's hard to find anything to add! I think 'feel fear and act anyway' could be added... it's similar to 'tale risks' on the list, but I think some fears aren't about risks but are about pushing through our own worn-out beliefs and boundaries. If you want to grow and expand as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do that! I'm going to bookmark this post to come back to when I need a reminder about why I do what I do! :)

Fiona Cartolina said...

Great post - my only comment would be one that I hear a lot - people will say to me that they could never be an entrepreneur because they are not risk takers - well, I've been a self employed entrepreneurial artist for 20 years now and I am definitely not a risk taker. I will take a well calculated risk - but I am not an 'any old risk' taker.
I think that the risk taking element turns a lot of new entrepreneurs off. We should encourage them to do their research until their risks don't seem so risky anymore.

please sir said...

Thanks guys - you bring up so many valued points. I'll update this post during the weekend to reflect all your great comments.

Don said...

Wonderful post and comments- I'll add focus on your strengths. What do you love and what are you really good at? That's what makes you stand out.

Ange said...

Posted about you so I hope a few came over to see. I would add - 'follow a hunch/intuition.' I think that's where the risk comes in. Often a hunch is not based in logic - but it should be followed anyway. That's where the epiphanies are. Again, great post!

Denise Fasanello said...

You know the saying "fake it till you make it"?
I always hated when people said that. I thought it seemed so disingenuous and smug. Then I started my own business...and I can see where it comes from. It's not about faking your passion but rather "faking" yourself into believing you can pull it off. Because the biggest challenge really is taking that first step.

Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

So behind on my reading!

I think if I were to add to this it would be that we "develop a thick skin". Got to be able to take the shots. Because they come in all forms!

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