Start with a market opportunity, not with your product


During November, I’m conducting a series of workshops for Indigenous artists around various locations in regional NSW. This is work I love doing, because it brings me face-to-face with individual creatives seeking to maximise the returns – both financial and artistic – from their talents.

One of the things we discuss at the workshop is the importance of matching your product to a market opportunity. In crude terms, making things which people want to pay for.

Indigenous artists have a good starting point here; there’s a proven, ongoing market for quality Indigenous artworks. There’s a target market to sell to. In other branches of the creative industries, the market opportunity is not nearly as clear.

I suggest this is because most creative industry businesses start from the personal labours of one person. They start with that person thinking first and foremost about a product they like to make. “I love striped T-shirts,” that person might think. “I should make striped T-shirts. Wait – that can be a business! I’ll make striped T-shirts for a living!”

What’s missing in this scenario is any consideration of whether there’s a market for striped T-shirts, how much they would cost to make, how many of them might actually sell and how stiff the competition is. If that particular creative entrepreneur had thought about the scale of the market opportunity first, rather than their product, they may have made a different decision about launching their business.

(And if you’re wondering why I’ve chosen striped shirts as an example, take a look at this video I’m using in the workshops, as an example of someone who prioritised product over market opportunity).

Many of the artists I’m speaking to get this idea. In fact, plenty of them have already put it into practice, by changing their product range to match the needs of their target market. When someone can make a product that both resonates with customers and generates a profit, the building blocks of a successful creative business are in place.

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.