5 ways to take your creative business to the next level
A grand vision of tremendous growth is a good thing, but with profitable growth come new responsibilities – and potential pitfalls. Entrepreneurs often encounter common stumbling blocks, including pursuing growth opportunities too quickly, neglecting the needs of existing customers and losing touch with their creative identity.
Are you ready to take your creative business to new heights? Here's how to do it without exhausting yourself – or your resources.
1. Nuture your following. Keeping your brand top of mind with customers is critical to promoting follow-on purchases and referrals, so make sure you are sharing something of value with your customers on a regular basis, says Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom.
Creating and sending branded content to your customers is an open invitation for them to revisit your brand and can lead to higher conversion rates, he says. Digital content can be shared in many formats, from blog posts and e-books to podcasts and video tutorials. And you don't need to create a large volume of content to get results. Content syndication – the practice of reposting content on websites that accept guest contributions – can get more eyes on your content and drive more traffic to your website, says Jordan Lore, inbound and growth marketer at Wishpond.
Popular content syndication sites include:
2. Set attainable goals. Dip your toe into the water before diving in headfirst, as investing too much time or working capital into a new business opportunity too quickly can spell disaster. The key to success is realistic goal setting.
Before pursuing any new growth opportunity, define your vision of success, says John Waters, a business coach at Waters Business Consulting Group. Then determine what you must do to achieve it – one attainable goal at a time. The best way to accomplish small goals, he says, is to devise a realistic plan, complete with steps that will move you closer to your ultimate destination.
For help formulating your plan, try a free goal-setting work sheet from GoalSettingBasics.com.
3. Keep learning. Creative entrepreneurs are responsible for business function, from sales to marketing to new product development. In addition to investing in your business operations, you must set aside time and funds for your own professional development.
Learning or improving upon skills, such as digital marketing, time management or even a new artistic technique, will help you stay competitive and knowledgeable in your field. Aim to learn one new skill each week or month to start.
4. Reignite that creative spark. Remind yourself what inspired you to create in the first place.
"As a creative entrepreneur, you never want to rest on your laurels," says Tamara Shella, ATR-BC, an art therapy program manager and professional painter. "Keep painting. Keep experimenting. Keep trying new products. If you find something new, it can reinspire you as an artist."
Reading about the endeavors of other creative entrepreneurs and artists can help get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few books to help inspire your creativity.
- "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear," by Elizabeth Gilbert
- "Damn Good Advice (for People With Talent!): How to Unleash Your Creative Talent," by George Lois
- "Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration," by Ed Catmull
- Sharing engaging branded content with customers gives them a reason to return to your website and helps you earn their business.
- Setting realistic goals within your big-picture vision will keep you on track for continued growth and success.
- Investing in your own professional development is the key to staying inspired – and one step ahead of your competition.