Creative Entrepreneurs with Malachi Haines

The following interviews are by SMU student Malachi Haines:

Zorric Sia

Chop Recorder

Malachi: Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

Zorric: Contrary to what you’re probably learning in your class, I didn’t really have one. I actually had an instinct and I knew there was a need in the market place, and I kind of just went for it.

Malachi: Do you think business plans are important for entrepreneurship?

Zorric: I think it’s important to get the idea on paper. I think it’s important to launch a prototype, and if those two things work out and you think the idea is viable, then yeah. I mean, of course if you are going to get funding you obviously need a business plan. But, I don’t think it’s necessary. I think the goal is to get out there and work on the idea. I know the business plan can take some time. And sometimes as an entrepreneur, you might need some help. You might not know how to create a balance sheet, cash flow statement, and marketing plan. Those can be difficult, so I would say it’s not so necessary.

Malachi: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Zorric: I think for me it would be don’t be afraid to fail. Number two is fail fast, because your successes really are an accumulation of your failures. So, you need to be able to get your idea out fast and not wait because two months later someone else will have that idea and might be successful. The third is get feedback through mentorship from someone who’s been in the field before. That’s what I needed early in my career that I didn’t have. So, seek out some good mentors.

Alice White

Alice White Music

Malachi: Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

Alice: I do, but I’m still working on my business plan. I launched my new website last year, but I’m still tweaking the business plan.

Malachi: Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Alice: I think it is key. I think it’s key in anything in life. If you don’t have a plan then you’re just kind of beating at the air. You don’t know what you’re doing. If you have a plan, you have something set down. If you know exactly what your goals are and you make attainable goals, then you can move anywhere that you want in life. So, I think having a business plan is key to having a successful business. I think planning is key and having a timeline as to what you want to do. You also can’t do it alone. You’re going to need players in your business. I have people that are designing my clothes for my photo shoots. I have people who are taking the pictures. I have people at the studio where I record. You have to be in contact with professional businesses and associations that are going to help promote your business.

Malachi: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Alice: Know who you are and know what you want to do. And then go after it. Don’t let anything deter you from your dream. Always fight. Always have a fighting spirit within yourself. Regardless of the timeframe, the people who are telling you, ‘no,’ the doors that are being closed in your face. Just be true to yourself. Know what you want and go after it.

Dodie Jacobi

Freelance Entrepreneur

Malachi: Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

Dodie: At times I’ve had very succinct business plans and at other times, I haven’t. For Gift Mat, there was no business plan. I had to have it very well thought in order to prepare a proposal, and I certainly had financial projections and things like that, but I did not have a business plan of the sort that one would present to investors or present to a bank. I had a venture called Launch Plan Venture partners. For that we had a business plan, which I wrote and presented several times to venture capitalists. That was a very thorough business plan. A lot of the non-profit organizations that I’ve worked for hired me to write their business plans.

Malachi: Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Dodie: We all need some sort of plan to work out the bugs, in theory. We need a business plan to shape the details behind a hypothesis so we can know what we’re testing. The only reasons to have a formal business plan are to align diverse minds, which is important if you have partners or investors, and to seek funding. It forces you to think about all the aspects of the business in a well-rounded way. It’s a great process that tells you what you have and what you don’t have.

Malachi: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Dodie: One: Stay curious. That helps with fear. It encourages you to reach out to others. It makes things a lot more fun, and it’s just good science. If it’s all an experiment, then staying curious is good science. Second, leverage contacts. That has always served me well. Third, never let money be the reason you don’t proceed. Money is often the easiest excuse because it’s so tangible. I have never found anything that I wanted to create, or my clients wanted to create, for which we couldn’t find the money or the method. So, never let money be the reason you don’t create something.


Analysis by Malachi Haines

The interview process was an incredibly eye-opening experience. As a young, up and coming entrepreneur, it was enlightening to listen to people who’ve had success in entrepreneurship reminisce on times when they were in my position. One topic that’s not in the transcription, that I really enjoyed discussing with the interviewees, was overcoming obstacles. One concept that has always given me pause throughout my entrepreneurial development is how to overcome fear. In conversing with the entrepreneurs I learned that the only way to overcome fear is to face it. As a Maven personality type, as per Bijoy Goswami’s MRE Framework, I excel at the “planning phase” of acting entrepreneurially. However, I often struggle with taking action, as I try to calculate every step. While executing actions and facing down challenges should be tactful and strategic, experience is the best teacher, and it takes a willingness to experience failure to achieve success. Often this requires a leap of faith of some sort.

The majority of my interviewees expressed that while they found planning to be key in creating a successful business, that creating a formal business plan is not always necessary for every venture. It is most useful when trying to establish a mission amongst a group of people or attaining funding. They articulated that as an entrepreneur, you may not have all the skills, or even appropriate resources to cover all aspects of the business plan. This illumes the importance of building a network through which one can create a productive team. What I gained from their different perspectives on the necessity of business plans was that while a business plan may not be completely necessary in every venture, it is a great tool that can be used to guide your efforts. As Dodie Jacobi stated, a business plan clearly defines what your business has, and does not have. This shows the leader and his or her team the aspects of the business that need to be modified in order to succeed. Thus, I’ve concluded that it’s best to have one.

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