21 February 2014
Review of How to Start a Creative Business by Doug Richard
To declare an interest, he has participated in a number of events here at the Business & IP Centre, and before the last election wrote a report for the Conservative Party on small business in which he highly praised us.
This book is aimed at creative businesses and shows signs of this including a distinctive landscape format and heavy hand-drawn-style of illustration. However, it will be useful for anybody starting a business.
Its structure is based around Ten Questions, which begin with basic things such as what your business proposition is, and who your customers are. It develops to more detailed information such as your channels to supply goods and services, your business’s emotional relationship with your customer, key partners and key competencies.
Apart from a short section on financial projections, its questions are mainly qualitative rather than quantitative, although still very thought-provoking and demanding. Richard is particularly keen, perhaps advisably for a creative audience, to make it clear that a business must make enough money for you to live your life, and if it fails to do so, then it has not achieved its most basic objective.
The book is very much about asking questions that are relevant to any kinds of business, and assumes that you already have a fair understanding of the business sector which you are entering. It is also not a place to look for information on legalities and procedures.
It does include useful information on subtleties such as the different forms of distributor which exist, and the types of deals that you may make with them, and common classifications of revenue models. It is aimed at people who do not have very large sums of money to invest, but at the same time are not struggling to find the minimum amount of start-up capital that their idea requires.
Each chapter ends with an interview with a successful entrepreneur on the issue it has dealt with. Subjects include those involved with names such as Tatty Divine and Folksy, as well as larger and longer established companies like Universal Music and Waitrose.
Overall, this book is highly recommended for any person who wants to start a business, no matter how creative they think of themselves or their concept.
Philip Eagle on behalf of Business & IP Centre