Best Practice, Schmactice: What creative business owners can do when the text book fails


Plenty of people will give you advice on how to run a business. There’s no shortage of them. Even in the field I specialise in, creative and innovative companies, there are coaches, mentors and strategists galore. There’s all sorts of people willing to offer you the one true way to business success.

But once your advisers have packed up their butchers’ paper, peeled off their post-it notes and shut down their slide decks, it’s back to work. This is where reality kicks back in, as you head back to your desk and find the same old problems facing you.  Between the consultant’s good ideas and the business owner’s reality, falls the shadow.

It’s that shadow that we’re seeking to illuminate at an upcoming event for Vivid Ideas. We’ve called it Best Practice, Schmactice. Because we’re thinking of all those business owners who have heard enough about what they’re supposed to do, and found it impossible to actually put in place. Because running a business is something which has to be done in practice, not in theory.

I’ve been preparing for this seminar for eight years. That’s how long I’ve been working with companies in the creative industries sector. Sure, I’ve wielded my fair share of butchers’ paper, post-it notes and slide decks. But I’ve also seen the inner workings of over 150 creative businesses. That’s an awful lot of reality.

Let me give you an example of Best Practice, Schmactice. Best practice may be to move away from charging by the hour for your work; develop some repeatable IP that you can exploit and create passive income from. The Schmactice hits the fan when you actually have to do this: how exactly? What can you produce that’s exploitable IP? Where do you get the time, money and resources to do it? How much of those things do you burn through before you give up?

Here’s another. Best Practice might tell you to develop a happy, workplace culture, where rules are few and staff are valued. So you put a lot of effort into developing perks and benefits and enhancing work place culture. In schmactice though, they still ditch your company the moment a bigger pay offer and a grander job title comes along.

So is this just going to be an airing of grievances? A group therapy session for the long-suffering creative professional?

Not at all. What we’re seeking to do is move the conversation along a bit. Enough of what you should do in your business. What can you actually do? What’s smart, but also what’s practical? What actually works in the hundreds of other businesses me and my fellow panel members have seen inside? What makes your life easier and has a chance of making a difference/

Come along and hear me and my fellow provocateurs speak. Share your war stories, tell us what works and put us in our place when we get it wrong. It’ll be a butchers’ paper free-zone.

If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business coaching, strategy workshops, business plans and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.