IVE are proud to have supported Creative Careers at Wakefield's Creative Kickstart event last month, where our very own Jo Garnham-Parks was a mentor. Here, Jo shares her advice for new creative businesses.
Jo Garnham-Parks, chief operating officer at IVE, was invited to be a mentor at the Creative Kickstart event held in Wakefield, co-hosted by The Creative Industries Federation, Creative Industries Council and Wakefield Council. This was the inaugural event of an industry-led initiative that aims to unlock the growth potential of creative enterprises in key areas across the country. Wakefield is a creative hub in the North, having created 600 new jobs in the cultural sector after securing £4.4m of funding from a Government pot administered by the Arts Council last year, and has for a long time been home to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Hepworth and Production Park.
Over to Jo:
“I was staggered by the breadth, scale and passion of the businesses, who heard talks from Grant Thornton on growth finance, BDO solicitors on Intellectual Property, sector knowledge from Creative England, as well as the support that Wakefield Council can offer new businesses. Reflecting on the event, there were some larger, more established businesses there for whom the talks were very useful, while some of the challenges facing SMEs were of a different scale to those found in any small business. How do you grow your business from an embryonic state whilst delivering the day job? How do you manage cashflow, ensure prompt payment and access growth funding to create opportunities, what should your price point be?
As the Chief Operating Officer of a small charity and its trading subsidiary I’m all too aware of the challenges. Here are some of the key lessons for me:
Value your time. – You are your biggest resource. Know your costs inside out and that includes all your overheads and salary you want to draw.
Pitch your price point. – You can always negotiate down or adapt your proposal to fit a clients’ budget. No one, unless you’re on the TV show The Apprentice, thinks you can negotiate up! Too cheap and you risk being seen in the category ‘you get what you pay for’.
Guard your time. – We’ve all had those clients who always want that little bit more. Set reasonable limits for that ‘outside of scope’ work and don’t be afraid to renegotiate those extras with your customer. Not all money is good money, if it feels wrong it probably is! Trust your gut.
Network, network, network! – Yes, it can be hard work, but find the events that work for you and don’t expect an immediate return on investment. Some of our best customers have been those who we’ve connected with but it can be months before a partnership, introduction to others or a sale materialises. View each event as how you can help others. It pays off.
Finally, believe in yourself. – We’ve all had that feeling of imposter syndrome at times, be confident in your talent if you’re finding it tricky. Act as if you’re it!”
Want more information on the Creative Industries Federation? Find their website here.
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