10 Must Have Skills to Smash Your Admin: Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Business Skills

Welcome back!

Time for those last 5 skills to needed to smash your admin!

6.       Spend Time Filing

You’ve heard of the expression ‘a stitch in time saves nine’?  This expression may be clichéd but it’s so true!

A little bit of time now spent on developing a sensible and straightforward method for your filing the easier you will be able to lay your hands on exactly what you need in the future!

Remember, nowadays this doesn’t just apply to that enormous grey monster of a filing cabinet lovingly rescued from a skip and now stuffed in the corner of your office.  This also applies to your computer filing system!

So, clear that cluttered desktop! Create that series of files in a logical way so that not only you can find everything you want but be prepared for when your arts business expands to include new staff members.  You don’t want to have to spend the first few weeks explaining the ins and outs of your computer filing which only you and your crazy brain understand!

 

7.       An Understanding of Social Media

I know I have a habit of repeating this, but social media is taking over the world!  It is becoming increasingly more integral to the running of businesses everywhere!  It is therefore important that everyone in your company knows how to use it.

The good news here is that over half of being good at Social Media Marketing relies on having excellent administration ability including the facility to schedule. 

Remember without your admin team (be it an actual team or be it just you) all the things we achieve in the exciting world of the creative industries wouldn’t be possible.  You could even post about them on Social Media!  They might be filtering through what appears to be the mundane but it makes the magic happen!

 

8.       Time Saving with Customer Service

I find often that email can be one of the biggest time drainers.  On occasion I have sat down in the morning to view my email accounts and quite often, before I know it, it’s midday and feel like I have achieved nothing because all I have done is sit and reply to messages!  So here is my advice:

If you have to email provide the customer with everything they could possibly need and then some extra stuff just in case.  So much time is wasted on toing and froing in emails.  If your business has been around for a while then chances are you have already equated a list of F.A.Qs (Frequently Asked Questions).  This is like the administrators’ bible: the copy and paste email dream.  It makes responses easy to find and, if properly produced, looks as though it is a completely personalised response! Save hours of your time from a cheeky bit of admin at the beginning creating an FAQ database.

If you still find a lot of email back and forth just pick up the phone and ring!  It is generally more effective than the constant and relentless email mountain!  It also means you’re less likely to misinterpret information.  Always remember emails are devoid of emotion.  That means that people inflict whatever feeling they want on them which can lead to a whole host of problems that simply wouldn’t have happened if you picked up the phone.

 

9.       Graphic Design

People in Arts Organisations often spend an obscene amount of money on outsourcing their graphic design.  Often enough there are employees in the office who are not only more than capable of designing your print and online content but also know the ethos of the business far better than any external designer will. 

This will also help to keep all your content consistent with your company brand.  Bare minimum if you are an outsourcer make sure that you keep a branding document so that the designer can get it spot on first time without having to ask too many questions.

If you are looking for administration work, having some photoshop skills under your belt will help you to stand out from the crowd.  If you find photoshop tricky then there are loads of cheaper alternatives out there nowadays! Give Canva a try or stay old school with Microsoft Publisher, just make sure you know the basics.

 

10.       Organisation, organisation, organisation

This links into all of the skills I have mentioned but basically, without some top notch organisational ability the whole of you admin system is almost certainly doomed to fail!  So get on top of it by getting organised.

 

 

And there you have it!  Now, away you go off into the world of administration and smash it!

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APP OF THE WEEK: Doodle

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Week, Business Skills

 

Name Doodle
Product Description An online voting app designed to make scheduling meetings and events super easy as well as create online surveys and questionnaires.
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://doodle.com/ on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.
Key Features ·         Schedule events and meetings, big or small across any calendar and platform quickly and easily

·         Ask questions by creating polls to send to your team and get them to vote for the most popular option

·         Sync most calendar apps with Doodle in order to avoid double bookings

·         Create and share your own Doodle URL to try and avoid that emailing to and fro

·         Send out multiple times to enable users to vote on their preferred one

·         New Doodle Dashboard keeps all your doodles in one place and makes them really easy to access

·         Auto-arrange reminders to go out prior to the meeting

·         With premium you can customise Doodle to be in keeping with your own company branding and receive advanced security

Prices and Plans It starts completely free to develop a basic poll! But they also have different business options for Doodle ranging from €3.50 per month for one business user to €12.50 per month for five.  Are you an even bigger business? Get in touch with Doodle to receive a quote!
Biggest Pro It’s basically like next level organisation without all the faff! That endless email back and forth and the accidental reply alls are more or less completely eliminated.
Biggest Con It is kind of limited, but to be honest, it’s the simplicity that makes it so brilliant.

Whether or not you use it for big corporate meet and greets or to find a weekend for that school reunion it really is the perfect little bit of software!

 

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APP OF THE WEEK: ADOBE BRIDGE

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Business Skills
Name Adobe Bridge
Product Description A companion product to Adobe Photoshop designed for file management and cataloguing your digital photo collection
Availability Through Browser at https://creativecloud.adobe.com/apps/download/bridge
Key Features A Digital Assets Management (DAM) or Desktop Media Browser Programme allowing you store and sort your images professionally and easily on your desktop or laptop computer:

·         Highlight your favourite photos and hide the ones you don’t like as much

·         Add keywords to the metadata (basically background digital copy) of your photos to easily find the perfect image you need on search and improve your SEO if you upload your images online.

·         Upload your images directly through Bridge to have them automatically renamed to match your filing system.

·         Add Star ratings 1-5 to your images

·         Use the filter system to search through your images

·         Creating Collections (kind of like music playlists) to regroup your photos into different albums without creating doubles on your hard drive.

·         Preview your images without having to open them in another programme through numerous different ways.

·         Completely customisable workspace/dashboard so you can prioritise quick access to the features and files you use the most

Prices and Plans It is completely free regardless of whether you purchase the rest of the Creative Cloud from Adobe.
Biggest Pro It’s quick and easy freeing up a massive amount of time in the long run, making it easier to track your existing images.  It lowers the chance of losing or accidently deleting images.
Biggest Con At present they don’t have any ability to access the app from your phone which is where most people take majority of their pictures so their isn’t really an option to file your images on the go from your mobile.

 

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Find the Perfect Idea to Start your Arts Business

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business Skills, Creative Industries, Start Ups

Why Start an Arts Business?

 

It’s terrifying putting yourself out there and letting out your artistic endeavours in the world.

 

I hear excuses almost daily about why brilliant artists and entrepreneurs shouldn’t start businesses in the Creative Industries.  Generally, these people are amongst the most hard-working, inventive and organised individuals but they are scared of the risks often entailed with starting a new enterprise.

 

But, there are numerous reasons to set up a new arts business:

 

  • Creating (or manufacturing) new work (products or services) which can be seen and directly sold, whether that is a new piece of art for someone’s mantelpiece or a performance that you want to be seen by the right audiences.  This type of business can be taken directly to the customer.

 

  • The want to distribute others work – you could be a gallery owner, a receiving house, a fringe venue, a music academy, a poetry publisher, a producer, the list goes on.  You can take this work either straight to the audience or to other businesses so there are two avenues you can go down.

 

  • Running events or finding a product you think someone else will benefit from. Think your Theatre in Education (TIE), art workshops and school holiday activities.  Not for profit organisations or charities come with plenty of perks to like claiming Gift Aid on donations and the ability to claim back VAT.

 

  • Some people are simply on the lookout for business opportunities where an investment, either monetary help (funding or equipment) or through giving time and advice to help others start a business, or in many cases in the Arts run themselves as a business, is traded for a return on their outlays later.  This is the agents and producers of the industry or opportunities like residencies provided by galleries.

 

Most Arts Organisations start out in one of these categories and then quickly diversify in order to turn over profit to drive the main organisation aim. Once you have thought of your initial idea then you can branch out:

 

As an example think of a specialist antique shop that collect their stock and run their business in different ways:

  • Some stock they buy in from markets and sell on
  • Some shelves or sections they rent to clients and sell the stock on their behalf
  • Some products they display for free and split the profits with the owner
  • Some articles are faux vintage bought in new to sell on at a more substantial margin
  • Some items are handmade from recycled antiques
  • Some run a café alongside their shop
  • Some host specialist auctions at weekends
  • Some run courses to teach hobbyists more about antiques

You get the idea.  There are always multiple strings on their bow to help sustain their business and, more importantly, their passion.  So, think about your passion and how it can be funded.

 

Have you come up with your great idea but don’t know where to start?  Or maybe you’ve diversified your portfolio to fund your passion.  Tell us in the comments below!

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APP OF THE WEEK: Etsy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in App of the Week, Business Skills, E-Commerse
Name Etsy
Product Description A specialised selling (e-commerce) platform/online shop tailored to vintage and handmade products and craft supplies.
Availability Through Browser at https://www.etsy.com/ and as an app especially designed for sellers from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Key Features Unique items sold by small, independent businesses and individuals worldwide through a secure payment system.

The app consists of:

·         A Dashboard in which you can easily see your Shop Overview and any News and Activity from your shop.

·         A Stats (or analytics) section to see your views and visits along with information of where your traffic is coming from and a list displaying the order of your best performing products.

·         An Orders tab where you can see both open and completed orders

·         Conversations (or messages) where you can talk to other members and customers – a great feature of this is that Etsy will save ‘Snippets’ or your personal commonly used phrases to add to your conversations.

·         A place to view listings, your shop, reviews and finances.

·         The ability to shout out about your shop items across all your Social Media Platforms.

·         Etsy Ads in which you can budget what to spend each day in order to rank higher in both Google and Etsy.

·         Links to educational videos and articles about how to get the best out of your Etsy store.

Prices and Plans The app itself is free.  To list an item on Etsy is $0.20 (which with the current exchange rate is around £0.17).  Your listings will be active on Etsy for 4 months or until that item is sold.  When sold Etsy will take a 5% commission and charge a processing payment of 4% plus £0.20 per transaction.  So, if you sell an item for £10.00 Etsy would receive around £1.27.

They now offer Etsy Plus for £8.30 a month which includes 15 free listings, £4.20 to spend on Etsy Ads, a custom web address, email stock alerts for customers and new personalisation options for your store.

Later in the year they will be launching ‘Etsy Premium’ although pricing plans a full spec are yet to be announced.

Biggest Pro Unlike Amazon and eBay on which you can buy anything and everything Etsy is specifically targeted towards sellers of vintage and handcrafted things meaning this is where designers and makers can find their target audience immediately.
Biggest Con Of course, this can also be a con as there is a lot of competition on Etsy.  There is also no way to ‘patent’ your ideas, so to speak, which means similar designs to yours may appear and there is little you can do about it.

 

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What is Your Target Audience? The Checklist

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Business Skills, Marketing

Whenever I begin a marketing plan I always start with what the target audience is. Who exactly is this show or exhibition for?  And are there any products and merchandise I could develop to go with the it that my audience would also enjoy?

 

Earlier today whilst trying to figure out the target audience of a large-scale dance company I thought to myself, do you know what would be really useful? A checklist!

 

So here it is:

 

 

  1. Demographicsdefined as the statistical characteristics of the population, think about equal opportunities forms, basically everything you fill out on there relates to your personal demographic.  Obviously you don’t need to filter everyone of these down to one answer but you do need to consider each one.

 

  • Age – simply how old is the intended audience
  • Gender – Is your work more predominantly targeted towards men or women or unisex?
  • Sexuality – Heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual?
  • Marital status – Single, Widowed, Married, Separated, Divorced?
  • Nationality – not simply where they are from but how your audience refer to their nationality
  • Education – what level of education they have attended and what qualifications were obtained
  • Income – simply how much is earned whether weekly, monthly or annual.  You may also be interested in what kind of expendable income they have
  • Occupation – what is their job?
  • Religion
  • Social Class – working class, middle class, upper class.  I also like to include aspiring upper class.
  • Number of Children

 

 

  1. Geographics – pretty simply where the audience is located, but there is a little more to think about than that.

 

  • Location – where do they live?
  • Area Type – city centres to the middle of the countryside?  What is in their area? What amenities do they have access to?
  • Climate – what is the weather like there at a specific time of year? Particularly important when considering international touring.  Think about the temperature when your going.  Think about any potential extreme weather conditions.  This will prevent you touring an outdoor theatre show around India during monsoon season.
  • Cultural behaviours – What are the local laws? Are there any traditions to be respected? What is the culture like? I.e. Don’t take Magic Mike on tour to Morocco or Ru Paul’s Drag Race to Dubai.
  • Available resources – What do they have available? What kind of community spaces are there?  How do they live?  You’d be unlikely to take a piece revolved around telling stories on facetime to the Scottish Highlands where you wouldn’t be guaranteed mobile signal.

 

 

  1. Psychographics – This is where we begin to understand the target audience’s personal preferences, how are they living their life?

 

  • Lifestyle – how people live their lives
  • Interests – your target audience’s likes and dislikes
  • Hobbies – what do they enjoy doing in their spare time?
  • Beliefs – what are there politics? Left or Right wing? Are they environmentally conscious?
  • Personality – what they are like.  Introvert or extrovert? Analytical? Sociable? Relaxed? Easy going? Lover of Sarcasm? Bit of a hipster?

 

 

  1. Behavioural Patterns – this is analysis of the decision-making process which goes on when making purchases.

 

  • What do they buy and when?
  • How often?
  • What leads to purchasing decisions?
  • How do they use their purchases?
  • Responses and attitude to purchases

 

 

So now you have your checklist it’s easy to create a profile for your target audience:

 

Women aged 25-35 from UK educated to degree level (demographic), sociable extroverts who have a healthy lifestyle and like painting (psychographic) lives in 20 mile radius of Birmingham, West Midlands (geographic) and attends galleries and specialist exhibitions at least once a month, frequent theatre and cinema goers (behavioural)

 

You’ll soon discover with a detailed checklist like this one it’ll be much easier to create bespoke marketing campaigns tailored to appeal to the exact group you’re looking for!  Why not give it a go? Let me know what your next project is and who you think your target audience is.

 

If you think I’ve missed anything then let me know in the comments below and I’ll update as necessary!

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