The Business Side of Arts and Creatives, yes there is one.  Today I am looking at the world of artists, creatives, and art organisations as businesses. Yes, you read that right; they’re businesses, just like any other. In this video, we’ll explore the key differences that set them apart and the important steps they must take to thrive.

What is distinctive about creative businesses?

It’s not in how they operate; they have budgets, staff, and pricing strategies, just like their private sector counterparts.

The real difference lies in what they do with their profits.

Unlike traditional businesses that aim to maximise shareholder wealth, artists and art organisations often reinvest profits to fulfill their “why” – their core mission. For instance, a theatre company may use profits to support local youth through educational programs, while an art studio may invest in new equipment or expand their workspace.

There are valuable lessons the private sector can learn from these creative businesses, especially in terms of community engagement and social impact. It’s not just about making money; it’s about making a difference.

But what do artists and art organisations need to focus on? Tracking finances is crucial. They meticulously allocate funds and closely monitor expenses, making the most out of limited resources. Digital platforms like Xero simplify budgeting and grant transparency, aiding in project profitability assessment.

Funding streams in the arts can vary, from ticket sales to grants, donations, and commercial ventures like cafes or gift shops. Understanding where the money comes from and where it goes is key to their financial success.

Moreover, they need to be aware of tax responsibilities and consider factors like VAT if they’re approaching the tax threshold. Staying on top of finances is essential to ensure compliance.


Artists and creatives make significant contributions to both the local and global economies. Art events not only support the artists and crew but also local businesses like restaurants and hotels. Every piece of artwork sold, exhibition, performance and project contributes to the economy.

Do you see the Business Side of Arts and Creatives, are they businesses to you or something distinct?

Furthermore, are you a small business owner, social enterprise or organisation passionate about change? In fact, managing your finances can be a lot of work, trust me.  Finally, there’s software that makes keeping track of your cash flow and financial planning easier: Numbers Know How. It helps you stay organised so you can focus on what matters to you; the creative work and the impactful change. Take a step away from the chaos with fast setup & easy navigation – numbers just got real…for the better! Get organised & make sense of it all with Numbers Know How today!