Monday, May 14, 2012

Small Businesses: Speaking the Language

OVAC Intern Laura Reese paints a map of visual artists in Oklahoma
for OK Arts Day (held the same day at Small Business Day
Two things stand out to me from Small Business Day hosted by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb April 30. First, any start up and growing business can find a wealth of (low cost) resources across our state. Secondly, and most pointedly, there is a huge gap between the way artists normally approach their artistic businesses and the language and strategies many businesses employ.

Neither of these observations surprise me, yet the straightforwardness of the meeting made me pine to simplify artists’ lives. Why can’t artists take advantage of the many ready structures for profitability?

Yes, I know, we want artists to speak another language. Similar to inventors or scientists, artists must risk much with each step forward. Yet capital and profit consistently define boundaries on artists’ practices. So, in the words of a helpful contact at the Department of Commerce’s table, “a business has to run in the black.”

Many artists want to view themselves as separate from the world of commerce and certainly as unique. However, if you want to increase the amount of capital, space, and time available for your artistic practice, you need to follow some standard business strategy. 

Also, by learning the language of business, artists can grow their network and markets.
So, in the next few posts I will outline some of the most helpful resources for small businesses in Oklahoma in hopes that you will learn from the language and wisdom of others’ acumen.  


Kyle Golding said...

Good job Julia. Not only do artist separate themselves from business, but so does the public. Too many people are shocked I can be an artist and do business development as my "day job" because artist are notorious for bad business sense.

You can do both and not lose your artistic merits. In fact, by handling your business properly, you gain the freedom to create the way you want to create.

Julia Kirt said...

Thanks Kyle.
It's great to hear when artists can speak both languages (art & business) and feel confident doing so.

In part artists & the arts community reinforce the perceptions of being bad at business. We can, and many do, strategize & work hard art business.