Arts and business – plan!

Moreover, arts organisations are full of creative and energised people, who want to deliver inspiring work for their audiences. That is to say, they want to put on amazing events that will have people inspired. But that doesn’t mean they forget the practicalities. Planning in the arts is crucial. There are lots of things that arts can learn from the world of business, and vice versa. But it really comes down to planning. Plan, plan, as much as you can.

Plan your story

When you’re planning a major arts event, the first thing to get organised is the story. What is it you are trying to do? What are the things you want people to take away from it? Who are you talking to? Once you have a comprehensive planned story it’s easier to set goals and make a strategy. What does success look like to you? Planning in the arts is just like planning in business – set goals, write them down, and keep on track.


You can’t do anything without the resources to do so. So get figuring out what the resources you need are. Whether it’s hard assets like a venue or food items, or marketing tools such as flyers and a website, you need to make sure you have everything you need to get your event off to a great start. Arts and business planning both require you to be prepared and have everything you need.

Cash flow story

We’ve spoken a lot about cash flow, but it really is key. Once you’ve got your cash flow story together, and know the incomings and outgoings, you can make some real key decisions. If there’s a deficit, you can adjust costs. You might decide you need to change ticket prices, or go after different audiences. Having a good cash flow process is critical for being able to make the right steps to deliver great outputs. You can’t plan for something that you can’t afford.


Many arts organisations collaborate with other businesses or groups, and outsource the elements of the process that they feel less comfortable about. Find the experts in the field that you’re unsure about, and get them involved to deliver a great job for you. Plan ahead and get the right people for the job. There are specific arts and business organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

So what does it take to be successful in both the arts and business world? It’s about planning. Planning in the arts is like planning for business. Set a goal, and get your house in order. Get your head down, and make some notes. Figure out where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. Don’t be afraid to pivot if you need to, but keep those goals in mind.

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