6 Steps to Managing Your Business Expectations

Woman with Question MarksThe New Year has begun, and with it a clean slate. What do you plan for this year? Is it realistic?




You’re serious about growing your business, so you’re giving thought to making more sales. Maybe you want to do more retailing, or venture into the world of wholesale. Perhaps what you want is to get your work into a fine art gallery. Is your goal a solo show? Do you want to quit your day job? Or is it a residency that you ache for? Would you rather teach than run a studio?


Making it personal


Comparing yourself to others isn’t productive – and going down that road can cause you to become unrealistic about what you need to do in your own business, and can result in lack of confidence, frustration and envy. One size definitely doesn’t fit all. Set your goals and expectations to reflect your own unique situation.

Nobody else has the same desires, financial and family situations, talents and background that you do. Evaluate what you expect and what you need to be happy and satisfied with your creative business. And keep in mind that balancing work with personal time and family life is crucial to long-term success because all work and no play can cause burnout as well as resentment from those who need your time and attention.


What is realistic for you?


1. Create a list of what you want to accomplish. Then take into consideration the learning curve you need, and be realistic about the timeline. For example, that new website you want to develop can take months, especially if you are attempting to do it yourself. And if you want to get publicity, you will need to make many contacts with the press and be patient. Know this going in and make a timeline to take that into account.

2. Decide what you don’t want to spend time doing, and eliminate those things that don’t make sense for you. If you hate blogging, then don’t do it. If retail shows aren’t producing enough bang for your buck, re-evaluate that plan, or decide to apply to new shows with a different audience.

3. Prioritize your goals. What is most important, and what can wait? You can’t do it all. Choose your main goals, and then create a step-by-step written plan to focus on them and be consistent.

4. Delegate what you can. Do you need studio help? A webmaster? A bookkeeper? Identify the tasks that are time wasters for you, or that distract from the most important part of your job, which is creating your art or craft and running your business.

5. Be open to revising your plan. Life happens. Re-evaluate as the year unfolds, perhaps on a quarterly or even monthly basis. Let go of the plans on your list which really don’t work for you or make you happy.

6. Get input. Do you have problems creating systems in your business to make it run smoothly? Need help in your marketing and sales, or planning?  Consulting with a mentor can give you a roadmap to follow while you build your small business. No one can thrive in isolation. Bouncing ideas off of an experienced mentor can be one of the best investments you make.


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