Labour of love

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In the economic downturn, consumers inevitably cut down on spending and find ways to tighten their belts.

This often leads to an up-surge in consumers finding new ways to be resourceful. For example, there was a noticeable trend in people taking up ‘crafts’ during the peak of the UK recession.

John Lewis reported a 57% increase in sales of sewing machines in 2009. Further to that, sales of buttons went up by 18%, silk prints up by 75% and basic haberdashery by a further 11%.

With the ‘make-do-and-mend’ culture continuing to thrive, it’s hardly a surprise that many start-ups are turning their crafting hobbies into businesses. More often than not applying business knowledge and financial awareness to the business ‘dream’ can be frustrating for budding creatives attempting to start up a successful business.

The harsh reality is that three in five start-up businesses fail within a year. Many creative businesses therefore need to have a firm understanding of basic business skills, finance, book keeping and business management in order to succeed in a very competitive business arena.

Starting a creative business will always be hard work. Budding creatives can put themselves at an advantage by having a strong business head and a firm understanding of how to keep their finances in order, especially when it comes to keeping proper accounting records that will satisfy HMRC.

Of course, a creative business cannot succeed on creative flair alone – a strong business model needs to be in place to ensure survival and growth.

It doesn’t take much time to draw this up – when you know how – and it will be time well spent and something that can be built on in years to come.

Stuart Waterman is AAT's former Community Manager.

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