Adapted from Forbes.com
Artists are crazy for not thinking like entrepreneurs. Because like it or not, that’s exactly what they are.
The best artists, like India Arie for example, are revolutionary, nonconformist thinkers and doers, challenging both traditional values and ways of thinking.
The best artists see the future. Their gift puts them ahead of the rest of society.
The same is true for business innovators: The best business leaders seek to build disruptive, lean, adaptive companies and are always pivoting their way to success.
So why don’t more artists and creative companies operate like the business startups they really are?
Maybe it’s because no one has laid out a path or framework for artists to think in these terms, not to mention that creativity is most often a solitary pursuit. But the time has surely come when aspiring artists, entertainment entrepreneurs, and other related professionals get empowered to see firsthand the problems both sides face, which are practically identical.
Actually, it is for this reason that iLAEA (iNSPIRED Arts & Entertainment Alliance) has evolved into a professional association for independent artists and other executives. There was a sincere need and desire to help artists understand the potential they can have if they operate with a business startup mentality. iLAEA exists to help artists and professionals find and form communities of people that will embrace, consume, share and buy and appreciate their creativity in its truest form — without compromising that creativity for the sake of profit alone.
The primary challenge that all artists face is finding a way to share their work with the world — which is, at the end of the day, a product to be consumed. But wealthy patrons, record labels, and even angel investors most often put their needs first, compromising innovation and the risk-taking that fosters true creativity. If artists want to figure out how to navigate these issues, they need to start thinking like entrepreneurs.
Here are three ways to do exactly that:
Test and gather data. Companies are always testing new ideas and getting feedback from their consumers. But many creatives wing it and put out whatever they like. As an artist, you should respect your creative process — but at the same time, when you try new things, don’t be afraid to get feedback from outside sources and especially from your potential consumers. Track the number of likes and shares your music tracks get. Make notes of patterns and consumer segments that interact with your work the most. At the very least, you’ll gain some inspiration; at most, you could create a new genre of art. Whatever you discover, you can use this data to help make decisions in the future.
Be just as creative in building your audience as you are with your work. Just like a bootstrapped startup, you want to have the most people discover your work for as little upfront investment as possible. The best way to do this is to get creative in your approach to finding new fans and brand ambassadors. Come up with schemes to get people to listen to or view your work, get feedback, figure out what works best, and then scale those findings to build the perfect fan base. Preferably one that’ll share, like and buy what you produce.
Innovate and get better…or die. Bring something new to the table. And seriously new. Be a disruptive force and you’ll move 20 times faster than your “competitors”… or, in your terms, your peers. Brands, ad agencies and companies are always looking for the next best thing. Utilize the buzz that comes with doing something different to get noticed and build your brand. Otherwise, you’ll risk being irrelevant and ignored.
Artists are not readily recognized for all their greatness. And many startups do in fact fail. But if you think like a successful entrepreneur, that doesn’t have to be your fate. If you are interested in ways to collect data or improve your artist/entrepreneurial efforts, contact us today at research@iLAEA.com
adapted from Forbes.com