John Dean is the founder and owner of Textbook Valet.
Scott Bolton: What role, if any, does a business plan play in building and launching an arts company (as a business pursuit)?
John Dean: By creating my business plan, I was able to work out a general scope of my business, do market research, and create financial projections. I think the act of creating a business plan is a lot more useful than the business plan itself. Honestly, I have not referred back to the business plan once after it was created. Running a company is a dynamic process with many moving parts and I feel an entrepreneur’s time would be better spent doing things other than updating their business plan.
SB: What three pieces of advice would you give aspiring artist entrepreneurs about planning?
JD: First, make sure to set time for doing things other than working on your business. It’s easy to get consumed by what you are doing which isn’t good. Second, plan to spend a lot more time than you thought solving problems that arise. It’s tough to foresee all potential problems before actually getting started with the business. Third, plan to keep learning and improving.
SB: What do you believe are necessary qualities, if there are any, for artist entrepreneurs to possess or develop? An example might include a person speaking about focus, discipline, quality pitching skills, etc.
JD: I think entrepreneurs need to be very well rounded. When starting a company you might be the only person working there at first so you will have to play many different roles. Self-Discipline is also a good quality to have. You won’t have someone looking over your back to make sure you are getting things done- it is important to know that you thrive in this environment.
SB: Do you believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur? Why or why not?
JD: I think there are two types of entrepreneurs: people who just love starting business and people who start businesses because they love their idea. Not everyone loves starting businesses, but anyone can love an idea so much that they want to start a business. Anyone can be an entrepreneur, but I would imagine it takes something more to be successful- I’m working to get there myself!