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Is seeking guidance advisable?

Setting up a creative business or as an arts practitioner can be problematic.

For most artists and designers, their business is entrepreneurial or innovative. They have often developed their own range of products or collections, or assembled a body of work in isolation from the wider market, whereas the usual route to setting up in business is to undertake market research to ascertain what demand there is for particular products and services – and only then endeavour to supply them.

Thus visual artists usually embark on business ventures back-to-front. You may be unaware that bringing something new to the market is the hardest way to start trading, and to be successful requires a great deal of business knowledge. This is why gaining advice from others in your field, such as IT/technology consultants, designers, manufacturers, business advisers, mentors, solicitors and accountants can be invaluable.

There are many more fiscal and legal issues to be aware of before starting a business than there were even ten years ago. If you fail to understand these matters you risk being ripped off, losing your creative rights, being fined for not complying with regulations, or causing harm to yourself or others.

Many of the professional bodies, innovation centres and organisations listed in this section offer some degree of support for free or at low cost. However, it is likely you will have to pay for any specialist advice.

Taken from A Pocket Business Guide for Artists and Designers, by Alison Branagan. A&C Black publishers, 2011.

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