When there are periods of economic downturn, it’s always the creative industries that seem to struggle first. Artists and designers are often more susceptible to trouble during times like these. Fewer people are willing to buy or invest in creative products or services.
Both are considered as a luxury by most. And, the vast majority of businesses and people will focus on the nuts and bolts, rather than ‘extravagance’.
So, what are you going to do as an artist or creative business when everyone is keeping their purse strings closed? Here are some ideas to help you get through the rough times.
1. Keep up to Date
First of all, don’t ever think that, as a creative, you don’t have to keep up to date with economics. It happens a lot in creative industries, and it is – sadly – rare to see artists and designers reading the finance section of the newspaper. For those that don’t inform themselves, there could be big trouble ahead. Also, keep an eye on your local markets – who is selling what, and what trends are occurring? Your local community can often be a lifesaver regarding income during severe periods of national or global recession.
2. Cut your Costs
You should always be looking at your bottom line to make sure your cost per sale is as low as possible. For many artistic and creative businesses, this will involve looking at a few things, including the cost of your supplies. Let’s say you are a metal sculpting business. One of the first things you will look at is your budget for casting and materials. You might want to think about switching to using a cheaper metal – brass, for example, is significantly cheaper than bronze. Then, take a look around and see if there is a foundry in your local area that can work with the cheaper metal for a better price. Look carefully at your shipping, too – is there a way to get your costs down by using a different company?
3. Network and Partner with Other Creative Businesses
The old saying ‘strength in numbers’ applies to the artistic and creative world in a big way. So, make sure you are networking like mad to give yourself a chance of survival. You might become part of an artistic group in your community who can help each other land, new clients. Or, you could even find a complementary business that can contribute to open up other markets. Surrounding yourself with others will give you a much better chance of survival, and as a group, you can all look out for each other.
4. Change your Business Model
It’s never a good idea to panic and start slashing the prices of your work in the hope that you will get more customers. Instead, think about offering slimmed-down services that are more affordable. Let’s say you are an artist who paints large portraits that sell for a lot of money. During a recession, people just can’t justify the expense. So, try something like painting smaller originals that lower your costs, but also sell a lot better. In short, you have to go where the money is, without diminishing the quality of your work with a lower price tag.
Hope this has helped – feel free to leave some of your tips if you have any!