Grayson Ralph and Creative & Artistic Entrepreneurs

 

Interviewee: William Armstrong  WilliamArmstrongACCESS17
Company: Access 17 Apparel (Graphic Design Screen Printing Company)

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

I didn’t actually have a business plan when I started, I have a twin brother and in his senior high school they are allowed to make and sell t-shirts to raise money for their senior trip. He asked me if I could make a design on Photoshop for him, and once I made it he asked me if I could make the t-shirt for him. I had no idea how to make them, so I did some research online and found a local screen printer. He made the shirts for me and then told me about how I could make a lot of money in college making custom shirts as a business. I forgot about it at first, but in my graphic design class, we had to pick a subject and make different designs for that subject. I showed my designs to a local t-shirt shop. The owner liked the designs and ordered some from me, I kept going back there and that’s how it all started. The business plan developed when it became less of a hobby and more like work.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

It depends on the business. For me I didn’t have any capital tied up in my business. At first it was just my time. A business plan is definitely necessary if there is a capital investment on your part or from someone else, otherwise a business plan might not be necessary.

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

The biggest part for me is customer service. In any field there are one hundred different people doing the same thing you’re doing. The only thing that differentiates you is your price point, which is often not that much, how fast you move, and how well you treat your customers. The second thing is to be adaptive in what you’re doing. I started off with just one screen printer; I’ve only been in business for a year and have moved through three screen printers. The first person I worked with only paid me commissions on what I made. Now I’m controlling the process myself. The third piece of advice would be to have fun with it. This was my hobby before I got into it and that’s why I’ve stuck with it.

Interviewee: Arturo Ramirez Diaz ArturoDiazBEWOOD

Company: BEWOOD (Exotic Wooden Eyewear)

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

No, when I started my business what we did firstly was put all of our ideas together. We then organized all of the ideas and put them in order. After that had been completed, then came the initial business plan.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Definitely, once you decide what your business is going to be and what you are going to do, you have to have a plan from A to Z in order to determine if its valuable to put your time and effort into. You have to assess before putting money in if you will receive a good return on your investment. You have to look at your expectations and what you are planning to do. It is a lot of work in the beginning but in the mid and long term it will help you with your business and help you discover things you otherwise would not have.

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

First of all, just be you and be true to yourself. The most important thing is to never quit and never surrender because although there will be peaks and valleys like any other thing, those peaks and valleys are what will allow you to become successful. You can use these experiences to excel in life and in many businesses, and my experience these have helped me a lot when dealing with businesses.

Interviewee: Tyler Roberts TylerRobertsWEARSAWYER

Company: WearSawyer (Design & Production of Sunglasses)

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

Yes, we initially had a business plan because we wanted to have a vision and agenda when we started. We drafted a word document with the business model we wanted; we took into consideration the companies social impact, it’s public relations, and manufacturing of the product itself. We put the primary pieces of the business together as a start, and called it a business plan.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Absolutely, I could not imagine going at something without a business plan. It serves as your guide and your vision when you initially start your business. If you just go with the flow without a fundamental set plan, your business is not going to thrive. As you’re not thinking multiple steps ahead, you will run into problems later on. I believe it is absolutely crucial to have a business plan when you start out.

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

First and foremost, have a vision when you initially start your company. Take initiative on the ideas you have, don’t let ideas fester in your mind or that’s all they will ever do. If you have an idea you need to act on it. My last piece of advice would be networking; make your connections whether they are big or small. Every person you know leads to another person. As you branch out this will help you with your business. Networking is also pivotal to growth, and pivotal to establishing good business relationships.

Analysis

After interviewing three different creative arts entrepreneurs it is evident to me that each person looks at business a little differently, and that success can be attained in multiple ways. For some, business must be thought out, and business plans are therefore integral to their success. Tyler Roberts, who aided in the creation of the sunglass company “WearSawyer,” sees business plans as the company’s “vision and agenda.” Whereas others such as William Armstrong, founder of screen printing and graphic design company Access 17 Apparel, turned an everyday hobby into something profitable with little to no planning.

Despite the differentiating manners in which these entrepreneurs came across their businesses, all three were in agreement that the creation of a business plan is vital to its success. As business plans allow for foresight and anticipation, a business with a well-made plan can thrive that much more and steer clear of problems that arise from lack of organization. Arturo Ramirez Diaz, founder of BEWOOD: an exotic wooden eyewear company, says that once you decide what your business is going to be your business should have the steps from A to Z. In doing this he claims you will discover things about your business that you otherwise would not have. In a different point of view, William Armstrong asserts that investment of capital is what defines the necessity of a business plan. He says that before the investment of capital the presence of a business plan is not necessary, however if one or multiple investors are going to put money into something, that is when a business plan is necessitated.

When giving advice to entrepreneurs Tyler sees pursuing ideas and networking as essentials for business. He advocates for these things as taking initiative helps propel business into motion, and networking helps you branch out and helps the business grow. Arturo on the other hand gives more personal advice to entrepreneurs; He states that being true to yourself, never giving up, and enduring the peaks and valleys of the things you encounter are things that shape entrepreneurs and help them become successful in life and in business. On the business side of things, William advises developing entrepreneurs to be adaptive in this ever-changing, dynamic, and competitive market; he says “there are one hundred different people doing the same thing you’re doing,” and for this reason customer service has always been of great importance to him. All in all the interviewing process was a very interesting opportunity to learn what business means to each of these entrepreneurs. It demonstrated the ability to have freedom in what one does entrepreneurially, and showed the various things that these businessmen attribute their success to.

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