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Business Plan Basics Every Art Business Owner Should Know

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Courtesy of Neil McKenzie from Creatives and Business LLC-----Why do I need a business plan?Just like an architect needs a plan to turn an idea into reality you need a plan for success in your art business. The main and best reason to develop a business plan is so that you have a blueprint to run and grow your business. Imagine trying to build a house without plan. If you are starting a new art business, a plan will help you organize your thoughts and help you tackle the challenges faced by startup businesses. If your art business is established a plan will help you in building a great team and allow you to focus on your most pressing problems, opportunities and initiatives.A business plan will also be required if you are seeking some type of financing either from a bank or investors. Your plan will show what you intend to accomplish, how you will do it and how much money will be required. More often than not a business will prepare a plan with the sole purpose of getting financing. Your plan is an important tool in the success of your business and should be much more than a document just to raise money.One of the most often overlooked benefits of a business plan is that it forces you to think about your business in new ways! The skills you develop in creating a business plan are universal and transferable to businesses of any kind or size. Perhaps one of the most important benefits of preparing a business plan is that you will start to think strategically, look at the big picture and develop a critical way of thinking about your business.What is a business plan?A business plan is a road map formal (formal in the sense that you should write it down) document where you state the goals, objectives and expected results for your art business. You plan can be very long and detailed or it can be just a few pages – it is really up to you to decide what your art business requires. Developing your business plan will make you think about all of the things that affect your art business and what you intend to do to make your art business a success.Your business plan can be created an internal audience such as yourself and your team and for external audiences such as your bank or investors. You should seriously consider including both audiences in developing the plan for your art business.The basic questions of business planningThe overall idea behind business planning is really very simple if you consider the following four questions:Where are we now?This part of your plan is called a Situation Analysis in that you are trying to get a feel of where you are today and to identify the internal and external factors that affect your business. In answering this question you will be looking at your own strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the marketplace and analyzing your competition.Where are we going?The answer to this question will be wrapped up in your overall mission or vision for your art business as well as the goals and objectives you have developed. You should develop goals for the various business functions such as marketing, finance, creative direction, production and operations, management and organization and your studio and facilities.How are we going to get there?Once your overall goals and objectives have been defined it’s time to develop strategies and the steps required to achieve them. Strategies are generally broad and need to be further broken down into the day to day activities or steps that are needed to accomplish a particular strategy. These steps are commonly called tactics, action plans or action steps. No matter what you call them these are the things that you will do to make your overall mission and goals a reality.How will we know when we have arrived?An important part of the planning process is to track and measure your progress and take corrective action as needed as you move towards accomplishing your goals. This is an ongoing activity that ranges from analyzing your monthly financial statements to reviewing detailed project plans. How do you measure success?Reasons to create a business plan:. . . continue reading at creativesandbusiness.com
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Business Plan Basics For Artists – Goals and Objectives

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Courtesy of Neil McKenzie from Creatives and Business LLC-----The first few steps in developing a business plan for your art or creative enterprise are to identify your overall direction after careful consideration of you external and internal business environments and capabilities. Before you develop your Goals and Objectives you should have a good feel for your:Mission / VisionValues/ BeliefsInternal Strengths and WeaknessesExternal Opportunities and ThreatsCompetitionYour Products, Customers, and MarketsThe next step in the planning process is to create a framework to accomplish your mission. The process is actually quite simple.Goals  –>  Objectives  –>  Strategies  –>  Action PlansWhat Is A Goal?A goal is a broad term for the things you want to accomplish in your art business. Notice the emphasis on the word “broad”. At this point in developing your plan we are talking generalities. Some of the areas which you will need to develop goals for include:Your art, creative products and servicesExample: My goal is to produce original modern art paintings and begin a line of prints and posters.Your marketsExample: My goal is to start with my local market and then expand to national and international markets.Your brand and reputationExample: My goal is to build a national and then international brand as a top modern art painter.Your financial situation, compensation, and life styleExample: My goal is make a good living with my art and fund my retirement while living the artist lifestyle.Your studio, workshop and facilitiesExample: My goal is to move out of the coop studio and have a studio/gallery of my own in an artist’s section of a major metropolitan areaYour organization, assistants, employeesExample: My goal is to have assistants to help in the studio, run the day to day operations in the gallery and take care of my accounting.What Is An Objective?. . . continue reading at creativesandbusiness.com
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Basic Business Skills for Visual Artists (Fresh Arts Presentation 2015)

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Checklist prepared by Fresh Arts in conjunction with the "Business Skills for Visual Artists" workshop. -----Necessary Basics:-Make sure you have a website. Keep it updated.-Make sure you have an Artist Portfolio.-Make sure you have business cards and you have them with you at all times.-Keep a current contact list of everyone who has come to your shows, purchased your work, or expressed interest in your work. Include mailing address and emails.-Make sure you have high quality images of your work-Have a standard cover letter that you can modify-Have an updated bio, artist statement, and resume that includes: list of exhibitions, gallery representation-Check your email and phone messages regularly and respond promptly-Connect with people on Facebook and Twitter-Create a free artist profile on Fresharts.org and keep your info and artwork currentMore detailed checklist and full list of resources available in the attached Word Document.  Download it below! Workshop Powerpoint Basic Business Skills for Visual Artists from Fresh Arts Fresh Arts periodically presents professional development workshops throughout the year as an essential part of our programming.  If you would like information about future Fresh Arts Workshops, please subscribe to our Artist Resource Newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter
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Evolving Your Career: Business Skills for Visual Artists (Spacetaker Presentation 2012)

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Spacetaker presentation led by Houston artist and businessman Taft McWhorter, -----This presentation offers artists tips on how to take their art career to the next level. Business Skills for Visual Artists 2012 from Fresh Arts
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SBA.Gov - U.S Small Business Administration Resources

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About the SBAMissionThe U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.SBA ResourcesResource GuidesSmall Business Resource magazine is the most complete guide to starting and expanding your business. You'll find information on counseling, training, capital, contracting, disaster assistance, business advocacy, local directories and more.National Resource Guide 2015 (English)National Resource Guide 2012 (Spanish)Starting a BusinessAre you thinking about starting a business of your own? Explore the topics below to learn the aspects of starting a business, plus find information you need to succeed.How to Start a Business - Starting a business is an exciting proposition, but it’s also an incredibly challenging undertaking. The resources in this section will help you learn about what it takes to start a business.Write Your Business Plan - A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues.Choose Your Business Structure - The business structure you choose will have legal and tax implications. Learn about the different types of business structures and find the one best suited for your business.Choose & Register Your Business - Choosing and registering your business name is a key step to legally operating your business and potentially obtaining financial aid from the government.Choose Your Business Location & Equipment - These resources can help ensure your small business is compliant with leasing terms and zoning ordinances. It also provides information about buying or leasing equipment or buying government surplus.Business Licenses & Permits - To run your business legally, there are certain federal and state licenses and permits you will need to obtain. These resources will help you understand the requirements for your small businessLearn About Business Laws - As a small business owner, you are subject to some of the laws and regulations that apply to large corporations. These resources can help you understand which requirements do apply to your business.Business Financials - Improve your odds of business success by understanding your financing needs as well as the options that are available to help you start, manage and grow your business.Finance Your Business - You have a variety of options when it comes to financing your small business. Explore your opportunities that range from traditional loans to grants and bonds.Filing & Paying Taxes - Find out if your business needs to obtain a tax ID and what the benefits and requirements are.Hire & Retain Employees - Ready to hire employees for your business? Learn about employment and labor laws to make sure your business is in compliance.The SBA Learning Center The SBA offers free online courses to small business owners.  Each course takes about 30 min to complete, and you can stop taking the course whenever you choose.  Here are all the available topics:FinancingGovernment ContractingManaging a BusinessMarketingStarting a BusinessAll Courses . . .Visit SBA.gov to view all available resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration
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Greater Houston Partnership Small Business Resource Center

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SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTERThe Greater Houston Partnership provides a platform for businesses of all sizes to grow their company. Not just for Fortune 500 multinationals, the Partnership is the premier business organization in Houston for building your business. The Partnership is the place to network, gain key insights on issues facing today’s businesses and to work alongside other Houston area business leaders to make Houston the world’s best place to live, work and build a business.The Small Business Resource Center is an online portal filled with resources and tools to help address the needs of small businesses.If you have any questions about how your business can benefit from engaging at the Partnership, contact the Member Engagement Division at member.engagement@houston.org
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The Home or Hobby Business: An Overview

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 Courtesy of NOLO, Legal Encyclopedia.-----The Home or Hobby Business: An OverviewHow to improve your chances of success when starting a home businessHome business is booming, and so is craft and hobby business. Craft work is a $13 billion dollar industry in the United States, and crafts artisans now average $76,000 in annual sales. Even better, the tax code is full of deductions for businesses -- and you are entitled to take them whether you work from home or from a studio space.Besides the financial opportunities, there are many reasons to pursue a home or hobby business. Perhaps you seek artistic freedom or are driven by a desire to love what you do. Maybe your family obligations require you to have a flexible schedule or to travel less. Possibly there's just no more shelf space for your ceramic creations and your spouse thinks it is time for you to start sharing them with the world.Whatever your goals, there are some basic things you can do to improve your chances of success, and make sure you're running a safe and legal business.Get up to speed on business basics. If you're taking money for your art, you're in business. Make the most of what you earn by operating your business like... a business. Nolo's book, Running a Side Business: How to Create a Second Income, by Richard Stim and Lisa Guerin, will help you start off on the right foot.Write a business plan. It doesn't have to be complex or formal, but putting your ideas on paper can help you test their viability and improve your chances for success. It can also give you a clear idea of how you want to work with sales channels and whether you need professional advisors or potential helpers such as contractors or employees. Nolo's How to Write a Business Plan, by Mike McKeever, will give you coaching and templates. If you're already in business, a plan can still help you fine tune your business and improve your results.Have a clear plan for funding. Whether you're financing your efforts out of pocket or require investment to expand, you need to know where your start-up capital will come from (if you need it), whether you will be servicing a debt, and what resources you can call upon in the future. If you're seeking funding, start with friends, family, and the people in your community. If you must tap into retirement accounts, read Nolo's IRAs, 401(k) & Other Retirement Plans: Taking Your Money Out, by Twila Slesnick and John C. Suttle, to find out how to minimize penalties . . . continue reading at Nolo.com 
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Start Your Own Business: 50 Things You'll Need to Do

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Courtesy of Beth Lawrence, J.D from NOLO.com-----From insurance to accounting to taxes, here are the steps to starting a business.Thinking about starting a business? You're not alone. Every year, thousands of Americans catch the entrepreneurial spirit, launching small businesses to sell their products or services. Some businesses thrive; many fail. The more you know about starting a business, the more power you have to form an organization that develops into a lasting source of income and satisfaction. For help with the beginning stages of operating a business, the following checklist is a great place to start.Evaluate and Develop Your Business Idea1 Determine if the type of business suits you. Start the Right New Business for You.2 Use a break-even analysis to determine if your idea can make money. Will My Business Make Money?3 Write a business plan, including a profit/loss forecast and a cash flow analysis. Writing Effective Business Plans4 Find sources of start-up financing. Business Financing, Loans & Capital5 Set up a basic marketing plan. Marketing & AdvertisingDecide on a Legal Structure for Your Business6 Identify the number of owners of your business. Partnership Information7 Decide how much protection from personal liability you'll need, which depends on your business's risks. What are the risks of starting my own business?. . . continue reading at NOLO.com
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IRS Publication 583: Starting a Business and Keeping Records

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Courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service-----Publication 583(Rev. January 2015)Cat. No. 15150BStarting a Business and Keeping RecordsIntroductionThis publication provides basic federal tax information for people who are starting a business. It also provides information on keeping records and illustrates a recordkeeping system. Throughout this publication we refer to other IRS publications and forms where you will find more information. In addition, you may want to contact other government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA).View Complete PDF document
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IRS: Business Use of Home

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Courtesy of IRS.gov-----Topic 509 - Business Use of HomeWhether you are self-employed or are an employee, you may be able to deduct certain expenses for the part of your home you use for business.To deduct expenses for business use of the home, you must use part of your home as one of the following:Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business for your trade or business;Exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet and deal with your patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business;A separate structure used exclusively and regularly in connection with your trade or business that is not attached to your home;On a regular basis for storage of inventory or product samples used in your trade or business of selling products at retail or wholesale;For rental use; orAs a daycare facility.If the exclusive use requirement applies, you cannot deduct business expenses for any part of your home that you use both for personal and business purposes. For example, if you are an attorney and use the den of your home to write legal briefs and for personal purposes, you may not deduct any business use of your home expenses. Further, under the principal place of business test, you must determine that your home is the principal place of your trade or business after considering where you perform your most important business activities and where you spend most of your business activity time, in order to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. A portion of your home may qualify as your principal place of business if you use it for the administrative or management activities of your trade or business and have no other fixed location where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities for that trade or business. An employee may only deduct business use of the home expenses when he or she uses the business part of the home exclusively and regularly and for the employer's convenience.You also may take deductions for business storage purposes when the dwelling unit is the sole fixed location of the business or for regular use of a residence for the provision of daycare services; exclusive use is not required in these cases. For more information, see Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home (Including Use by Daycare Providers).Deductible expenses for business use of your home include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, casualty losses, utilities, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, and repairs. In general, you may not deduct expenses for lawn care or for painting a room not used for business.Regular Method - Historically, taxpayers have computed the business use of home deduction by allocating the total expenses of the home to the percentage of the home floor space used for business. However, a qualified daycare provider who does not use his or her home exclusively for business purposes must figure the percentage based on the amount of time the applicable portion of the home is used for business. Self-employed taxpayers filing Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship) first compute this deduction on Form 8829 (PDF), Expenses for Business Use of Your Home.Simplified Option - While taxpayers can still figure the deduction using the regular method, many taxpayers may find the optional safe harbor method less burdensome. Beginning in 2013, Revenue Procedure 2013-13 allows qualifying taxpayers to use a prescribed rate of $5 per square foot of the portion of the home used for business (up to a maximum of 300 square feet) to compute the business use of home deduction. Under this safe harbor method, depreciation is treated as zero and the taxpayer claims the deduction directly on Form 1040, Schedule C. Instead of using Form 8829, the taxpayer indicates the taxpayer’s election to use the safe harbor option by making two entries directly on the Schedule C for the square footage of the home and the square footage of the office. Deductions attributable to the home that are otherwise allowable without regard to business use (such as qualified residence interest, property taxes, and casualty losses) are allowed in full on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF), Itemized Deductions. For more information, see Home Office Deduction and Simplified Option for Home Office Deduction.Regardless of the method used to compute the deduction, you may not deduct business expenses in excess of the gross income limitation. Under the regular method for computing the deduction, you may be able to carry forward some of these business expenses to the next year, subject to the gross income limitation for that year. There is no carryover provision under the safe harbor method, but you may elect into and out of the safe harbor method in any given year.In the Farming Business or an Employee - If you are in the farming business or are an employee, use the worksheet in Publication 587 to figure your deduction. As an employee, you must itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF) to claim expenses for the business use of your home. Farmers claim their expenses on Form 1040, Schedule F (PDF), Profit or Loss From Farming.Additional InformationPublication 587 has detailed information on rules for the business use of your home, including how to determine whether your home office qualifies as your principal place of business.. . . View the original document on IRS.gov
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