On the occasion of the Workshop of the 12th November 2013 at Debut Contemporary, “Business Plan and Financial Planning”, we are pleased to introduce our readers to the chairman of Debut Contemporary, Rob Wirszycz.
Rob has over 20 years experience working inside and alongside technology-related growth businesses, both in the UK and overseas. Currently he is adviser to many leading companies in the TMT sector; he is also a member of the CBI E-Business Council, the Parliamentary IT Committee, and the IT Livery Company. He speaks frequently at conferences and seminars on business and technology issues.
We highly recommend the Q&A published below; Rob’s advice is applicable to all walks of life.
For our readers who unable to attend your workshop: can you spell out for us the importance of planning?
Planning is about having a direction, a purpose. It provides meaning, a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to be dissatisfied with what you are doing, a reason to evaluate. It does not – should not – be rigid, but should provide you with structure. It should allow space for new things and opportunities to be incorporated but not necessarily at the expense of giving up your original goal.
Can you tell us, in terms of your own life, how being a “man with a plan” helped you achieve your goals, and contributed to your present success?
I plan every day and every week. I have a book, which is private to me, where I plan my personal goals and ambitions, my work goals and ambitions, the people I want to work with and why, the milestones I want to achieve and so on. It gives me meaning. I evaluate everything. We are only on this earth for a short time – don’t waste it.
By the way, this does not mean I’m an impossible control freak. Therein lies true madness. You have to determine what you can do yourself and what you can get others to do. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to enlist others into your plan to ease the load.
The point of giving this workshop is to show our artists to organise themselves and how it helps–but how did you learn that yourself?
I was a bit chaotic and frustrated with what I was achieving. I talked about this with people who seemed better than me. They showed me some basic principles of managing my time. I then needed to build a method that worked for me. The hardest thing I’ve found is to give yourself 3-4 hours (or more) space to get a big important thing done. Being able to do that is very very important.
Many of us are able to pick up on the basic principles of organisation rather quickly, but struggle when it comes to planning our market strategy and money plan – how can we bridge that conceptual gap?
Key is writing stuff down. Many people plan in their heads which in my view is not planning but ‘wishing’. A plan has to be externalised. This means that your money plan has to have budgets, cash flows, sources of funding, costs you can’t avoid, costs you can etc. all put down in a structure. Same with your market plan… what is your positioning, what about pricing, what about managing my ‘audience’, where will I sell, how will I sell etc etc. Without a written plan, it will ‘flim flam’ from place to place. And I’m not talking about a big tome here. A visualisation on a single piece of paper is really good! Just keep referring to it. It’ll keep you honest.
And lastly, your 7 top tips towards a viable business plan.
1. Know where you are as an artist and who you are to others (ask people)
2. Assess what impact you want on the world, long term (hard to do…) and how you want to run your life eg what are your values, what principles do you want to work to…
3. Visualise and describe your target market – who do you want to own your art – what will they do with it – for what will they buy
4. Describe where you will be in 18 months time, professionally, personally etc. Then break it down into 6 quarters, and in the nearest quarter into 3 months, and in the nearest month by 4 weeks and in the nearest week, into daily tasks. Map back from your goals to now…
5. Leave time in your schedule for reflection and evaluation – get a mentor to talk things through.
6. A business plan needs a written – text or visual – narrative, the same narrative but in numbers, and a précis, a short text that you can use whenever anyone asks about what you do and are doing.
7. Review regularly, weekly is best, monthly next best. Adjust for new information.
Your top 10 artwork picks by 10 different Debut artists for our online feature.
1. Red by Agnieska Koczot, £500.00
3. Feme by Marina Ard, £250.00
4. Opulence by Junko O’Neil, £1,850.00
5. Luminescence 01 by Michael Taylor, £955.00
7. Terms & Conditions by Tony Raymonzrek, £3,200.00
8. Liverpool Street by Susana López Fernandez, £300.00
9. Ye Gods No.02 Nureyevulture by Dan Johnson, £500.00
10. Untitled by Liran Fisher, £350.00