How to Get Unstuck in Your Art Business

Your small business flows more efficiently when you create systems to get everything accomplished. But what happens when they don’t work smoothly? Try a personal Kanban Board.


How to Get Unstuck in Your Art Business


You probably have systems in your art business, even if you aren’t aware of them. Work stations to create your art in the studio. Ways to gauge when you need more supplies and materials. Regular use of social media. A blogging schedule. A template to send your once-a-month email marketing campaign.

The more systems you build in, the more efficiently things will work, because you can create systems once and use them over and over. This should keep your small business running like an engine. But sometimes, you get stuck. It might be that you are overwhelmed by trying to multi-task all the time. Perhaps you have too much inventory, which is costing your business money. Or maybe you aren’t dealing with tasks, such as your marketing calendar, and you become impossibly backlogged.

This is where a Kanban Board can come in handy. Originally a Japanese concept created for businesses (large and small), it is a work visualization tool to get a handle on workflow. But a variation on this is personal Kanban, which works on a smaller level that is perfect for entrepreneurs who work alone or with a small team.

You can start with a whiteboard, using three columns, titled “To Do” “In Process” and “Done” under which you place sticky notes to help you break down all the components of your work. A simpler way is to use a virtual board to chart your workflow. Find one here.

Using a personal Kanban Board can help you:

  • See workflow “at a glance” to understand your studio production system.
  • Understand where bottlenecks happen, where you might need to outsource tasks, or solve problems.
  • Structure your personal tasks to keep a regular schedule.
  • Limit the “work in progress” so that your business systems don’t become overloaded.

This system helps you break down tasks, and find where you are “stuck” in the flow, so that you can address them. These are trouble spots where you may have to outsource work to be done by an expert, you need to rethink your system, or you might even need to consider hiring help.

Your Kanban Board can help you see where work is being done that isn’t effectively helping your business or increasing your sales.

One of the purposes of Kanban Boards is to limit work-in-progress, to avoid overwork and increase calm. If you have a frenetic feeling about everything you need to take care of in your art business, this exercise is for you. One of the results of regularly using their boards is to end up with a “not-do” list, rather than a longer lineup of tasks.


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