You’ve practiced and perfected your craft over the years, you’ve branched out into the world of business and now you’re ready to expand your entrepreneurial horizons. But how do you get to the next level? Are you aware of the supports that are out there, and how can you get the most out of the resources you already have?
Carolyn Wakeham is the Senior Account Manager with Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC) Entrepreneurship Centre in St. John’s and works with entrepreneurs at all stages of their career. She will examine these topics, and more, during her session “How to Finance Your Arts, Craft or Creative Enterprise” on Wednesday, November 15 at the Neal Building on Harbour Drive. Carolyn recently took some time out to talk entrepreneurship, finances and why it’s okay to ask for help.
Business & Arts NL: How is financing a creative-based enterprise different from financing other types of businesses?
Carolyn Wakeham: The simple answer: there is not a fundamental difference in financing a creative-based business verses any other type of business. Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is more often than not, a small business, which offers a product or service for sale or hire. It does not matter if you are a visual artist, an engineer or an electrician; entrepreneurs are creative and innovative and typically specialists in their field.
If you own a creative-based enterprise, you face many of the same challenges as a traditional business, but you also face the challenge of relying on people perceiving the intrinsic value of your product in order for them to make a purchase decision. If your products have a limited commercial value, then your market will be very small. You must find the right market and customer base to support your product or service. You have to demonstrate the value of your business amongst the competition.
Business & Arts NL: What can an artist do to increase their chances of getting approval from a lender?
CW: Whether you are a sole proprietor or an incorporated company with employees, it is important to have your financial house in order. Keep records of your sales, expenses and the cost associated with creating your product or service. Prepare a forecast for at least two years to keep you on track to achieve your goals.
It is also important to take stock of your personal finances. Check your personal credit and manage your debt in a responsible manner. Lenders will look at both the business operations and the personal net worth of the owner when reviewing a financing application.
Business & Arts NL: For those artists who want to grow as entrepreneurs, but feel overwhelmed by the costs that come with taking that next step, are there any words of encouragement or advice you can offer?
CW: Ask for help and do your homework. As in any other small business, the owner has to wear many hats. You are responsible for product development, marketing, finance, HR, quality control, just to name a few aspects of running your business. We are very fortunate in our community to have an active and supportive network of organizations and individuals that support entrepreneurship. Do not let costs and numbers discourage you from pursuing your business goals. Talking to the experts will give you a better understanding of what steps you need to take to grow your business in a realistic and manageable manner.
Workshop: How to Finance Your Arts, Craft or Creative Enterprise
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 15 from 9:30am-11am
Location: Neal Building, Fourth Floor, 50 Harbour Drive
Price: $5 Business & Arts NL members/$10 non-members
Advance registration is required. Click here to register.
Note: This session will be followed by “Grant Proposal Writing” with Jennifer Young of Business & Arts NL from 1pm-5pm in the same location. This session is $10 for Business & Arts NL members and $15 for non-members. Advance registration is required.
For more information on both sessions, please click here.