Count me as a firm believer that there is an art to being successful in business. This is also true for running your own small business or company. The ability to come up with ideas, design a plan, turn the idea or plan into reality and to create something, sometimes out of nothing, is an art.

Inspiration can come from many places. We are fortunate to have an active and growing focus on the arts within our region. While we do not have the benefit of a massive year-round population that historically have helped the arts thrive in other places, we do have many dedicated local people, a swell of interested seasonal visitors and the influence of two large major cities close enough to us to help our art community continue to grow.

Just as the artist is moved to produce a work of art, the business owner is moved by desire or necessity to build a business. Not all business owners consider themselves creative people and very few would call themselves artists. However, when we analyze the common traits in both the traditional artist and the small business artist the similarities start to emerge.

Vision: The artist comes up with a concept and sees what they would like to accomplish. While sometimes the end result may be different than the original, it is vision that allows the creative process to take place. In business, you need to have vision and also have the ability to share that vision with others. If you can see it, it is much easier to create.

• Motivation: Artists act on their ideas simply to express themselves. Other artists are creating works of art to make a living and as a career. Business owners, like artists, can be home based or hobbyists or work the business as their single source of income. Artists, as a group, seem to be a self-motivated type of person. Business owners need to be self-motivated as well.

• Influences: Artists draw on what they know. They take what they have experienced and create a work of art based on life influences or being moved by something someone else has done. The same holds true for the small business owner. The past experience of a person is a key part of starting a business.

• Uniqueness: The uniqueness of the art created by the artist is what allows an artist to stand out from the crowd and draw attention to their creations. When a business can demonstrate uniqueness in product offering or service, they have the opportunity to be very successful. Both walk a thin line between being seen as unique and being seen as too extreme. Knowing your customer base and target market can help in staying connected to your audience.

• Risk taking: When it comes to risk or taking chances, artists seem to embrace the change. Not being afraid to take risks and try new things or types of art seems to naturally fit many artists. Business owners who are willing to shake things up in their business, marketing or even industry are risk takers. You can make changes gradually or, if you choose, you can take a few dramatic but hopefully calculated risks in growing your business.

Incorporating some of the qualities of artists into your business model can be a worthwhile endeavor. While you are at it, perhaps consider incorporating actual art into your business. You can do this by working with local artists to create unique pieces that reflect the type of business you are in, or pieces that are pleasing that your customers or clients can enjoy. However you choose to add art to your business, supporting the local arts community is supporting the community.

The business of art and the art of business and is something we can all work into our companies, workplaces and lives. Vision, motivation, uniqueness and the willingness to take risks are qualities that we all can embrace. Whatever area or medium you choose to work in, work to become an inspired business artist. Getting creative is a great way to get your business growing.

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