Every now and then, the British Council brings in a resource speaker to talk on various topics. In this latest instalment, they brought in David Parrish, a specialist on creative industries management, business advisor, coach, mentor, trainer, speaker and writer, and author of the highly-acclaimed book T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity. Parrish also founded T-Shirts and Suits Creative Enterprise Network, a free online network for the creative industries which enables creative entrepreneurs to share information, build networks and learn from each other.
How many times have we seen instances where a talented artist is duped for not having any business sense? This is the reason why many hire a manager to take care of the business side of things. But it need not be the case. Parrish helps creative people (“T-Shirts”) use smart business thinking (“Suits”), so they can achieve success on their own terms, using cool business ideas which fit with their values and objectives.
In his book, he offers some great ideas for building creative businesses which he learned from his own mistakes as an entrepreneur. He adds the Creative Industries to turn creative talent into income streams for the owner of the intellectual property. The Creative Industries are hugely important to the UK’s economy and they are only going to be more important in the future, says Shaun Woodward, Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism.
Small and medium sized businesses need to have sound business skills and a strong entrepreneurial base if we want to have a bright future for the creative industries sector, Woodward says. But right now, the average life span of an SME business in the UK is just 24 months. It is at that point that a poorly conceived business strategy begins to show the cracks, Woodward adds.
So what is the British government doing to help these SMEs? How are they prolonging the life expectancy of a creative business and turning it into a success? This is something they are addressing through its Creative Economy Program which was launched way back in 2005.
There should not be a conflict between business and creativity. The T-Shirts and Suits approach to management brings together creative thinking and business skills. And just like what Parrish says in his book, the most exciting creativity is the alchemy of blending apparent opposites what we often call “art’ with “science’ recognizing that they are not opposites at all. The art of business is to select from a palette of infinite choices to draw together a specific product or service with specific customers’ needs, in a way that adds up financially. And that is the simplest formula a business can implement to start making profit.
So, enough of the sideshows. Let’s get back to work.
God is Great!