Business focus for creative enterprises means selecting priorities for development as new opportunities arise. And saying No.
Being creative gives rise to lots of ideas about how to develop an enterprise, but in a sense this is a problem too, because we end up with more ideas than resources to actually implement them. So how do we select priorities as opportunities arise? We need to make astute choices: creative choices and business choices.
In the early stages of business, a lack of focus is often driven by a need for cash, leading to ‘doing everything and anything – for anybody’. Later, growing enterprises are tempted to diversify into new markets with new products. At every stage there is the temptation to take on too many projects without doing any of them as well as possible.
As well as causing stresses and strains within the company, and consequently being perceived as ‘master of none’. The intention is to offer more services/products to get more business, but what the customer sees is a generalist for everyone, when what they want is a specialist for their own needs. Looking at customer perception of your market position, Seth Godin says “If you can’t state your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a position.”
The strategic way to make choices is to use your Unique Business Formula as a compass, since this is made up of two essential components: your competitive advantage and careful selection of customers. In other words, the guiding principles should be (a) let’s do only what we can excel at in relation to competitors and (b) let’s develop those things for which there is a suitable market.
One of the ‘Ten things Google has found to be true’ is “it’s best to do one thing really, really well”. And actor Bill Cosby said “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone”. Many successful creative entrepreneurs would agree.
Strategic focus is about deciding, positively, what not to do. Saying “No” to many options is essential if we are to say “Yes” to the things that will help us achieve our own particular version of success.
This ruthless prioritisation applies not only to business strategy but also at the personal level in terms of time management. The answer to the problem of having too long a ‘to-do’ list is to draw up a ‘not-to-do’ list. As writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright”. More recently, poet and business coach Mark McGuinness has written an excellent free eBook called ‘Time Management for Creative People’.
Even the biggest corporations have to make strategic choicesd a way of selecting the most appropriate projects from a plethora of possibilities GE Business Screen to identify the best opportunities for the corporation to pursue in order to achieve its goal of profit maximisation. For creative entrepreneurs, the Feasibility Filter (p.90) helps to identify the best options in terms of competitive creativity and market suitability.
Ansoff’s Matrix is a useful tool to help make strategic business choices, including whether to develop new products for existing customers or find new customers for existing products. Market penetration and diversification are also options.
In conclusion, we each need to develop our own rules for how to select the best options for development, taking into account our goals, passion, values, competitors, customers and financial objectives.
Being able to say “No” is vital if we are to make the right creative and business choices.
There is more information about business focus in David’s books, other publications, videos and free resources.
David Parrish inspires and empowers creative entrepreneurs world-wide as an international creative industries speaker, consultant, trainer and author.
Business Adviser – Creative and Digital Industries
Creative and digital businesses grow with the help of David’s expertise in creative entrepreneurship. He shares his expertise through his speeches, training workshops, coaching and books on business growth.
David advises businesses on strategic development, marketing, leadership and growth in his capacity as a qualified and experienced business adviser and management consultant, working world-wide.
He helps clients by drawing on his own direct experience as an entrepreneur as well as his work helping hundreds of creative, digital, cultural and arts businesses around the world. His direct experience is backed up by academic qualifications and professional accreditations in business strategy, marketing and leadership. He is a Chartered Institute of Marketing ‘Chartered Marketer’. David has an MBA (with distinction). In addition, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (FInstLM). He is also honoured to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
David is a UK expert and international creative industries speaker. He has helped hundreds of businesses in more than 60 countries to achieve greater success on their own terms. This is achieved by using smart business development techniques that fit with their creativity, ambitions and values. His creative industries consulting focuses on the needs of creative industries businesses, cultural enterprises and arts organisations.
Successful creative enterprises integrate creativity and business. David’s T-Shirts and Suits® approach helps creative people (‘T-Shirts’) use smart business thinking (‘Suits’). His entertaining and inspirational speeches illustrate ways in which businesses can use creative business models and powerful business techniques to achieve greater success. His creative industries consulting with individual businesses guides them to success by combining their creative passion, strengths and goals with a winning business strategy tailored to their own needs, values and circumstances.
Creative Business Books, eBooks and Audiobooks
David has written two books and several other publications especially for creative businesses. He brings his own experience of setting up and growing businesses in the creative and cultural industries. David is actively involved in the creative and digital industries as a company director and management consultant. He also shares the learning he has gained from working with hundreds of successful creative enterprises around the world. His books are available in paperback, eBook and Audiobook formats. They have been translated into several languages and published in various countries in several continents.
What they say about David Parrish…
Here are a few examples of what people say about David Parrish. His clients worldwide say how they have benefited from David’s creative industries keynote speeches. They also recommend his business advice, training, presentations, lectures and books:
“It was a pleasure to invite David to give the keynote speech at the Third International Creative Industries Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia. His speech about ‘Creative Business in the Digital Economy’ was enlightening. It was ideal for our audience that included startups, government officials, investors and agencies from Serbia and other countries. David’s speech was also broadcast on TV to reach an even wider audience. We were delighted with the positive impact that David made on the creative industries here in Serbia.”
Tatjana Kalezic. Creative Industries Cluster of Vojvodina KVIK.
“The choice to work with David was definitely the right one. In less than two days time we had crafted a cohesive short term and long term strategy that provides for desired growth, protects our IP, enables investment, and allows us to retain creative control of our technology. David’s ability to listen to your situation, to understand it, and then determine a course of action based on your specific needs and goals is rare and a makes David a joy to work with.”
– Aric Wanveer. Zero Gravity Creations LLC, Baltimore, USA
“David Parrish was a special guest of Creative Industries Summer School held in Moscow. Creative entrepreneurs from all over Russia said that David’s presentation was very inspiring, entertaining and very useful for them. His presentation “Creativity and Business: How to Succeed as a Creative Entrepreneur” was amazing and I am sure it will help develop creative entrepreneurship in Russia. David is a very bright and powerful expert.”
– Olga Kizina. Director. Creative Industries Agency. Moscow. Russia.
“Workshop participants were very impressed and inspired by David’s speech and book because he avoided using jargon, gave clear illustrations to describe what creative business is about and explained the general principles of running a creative business. He talked about some important issues, such as intellectual property, business formulas, knowing your competitors, knowing your market, and being prepared to say No.”
– HsinYi Ku. British Council, Taiwan
“David writes about creative business better than anyone I know.”
– Wayne Morris. The Creative Edge. New Zealand.
“David Parrish is a very inspirational speaker. The way he illustrates his points is excellent. He makes you laugh and instantly you start to think about your own ideas and projects.”
– Eli Folkestadaas. British-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Oslo, Norway.
Read more testimonials about David’s work as an international creative industries speaker, consultant, adviser, trainer and author of two books, other publications and many articles.
David’s Background, Experience and Expertise
Dave Parrish has been directly involved in the creative economy and cultural economy for more than 20 years, as an entrepreneur, manager, company director, management consultant, business adviser, coach, mentor, trainer, writer, and international creative industries speaker. For an insight into his personal background, business experience, values and his own perspective on creativity and business, read his story.