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Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: How to Start a Creative Business-The Jargon-Free Guide by Doug Richard; David & Charles Publishing


For anybody, starting a business can be quite frightening. Where to start? What do I need? What are my goals? Can I do it? All these questions flash through our minds at record speed. Who am I targeting as customers? What kind of relationship do I want with my customers?

Failures among new startup businesses is VERY high, and that is the reason so many ARE scared to venture out by themselves. Especially those wanting to start a creative business. This isn’t just money needed to buy the products they want to resell. This is their ACTUAL work, their time, their dedication being sold and most doubt their abilities.

Starting on a firm foundation of learning business principles is what is needed. Most creative types just aren’t that into business. They don’t understand the legalities of creating their own business, so this book breaks down all of that in terms we CAN understand and put to good use.

Doug Richard knows what he is talking about, because he runs a school in the UK. This school teaches people like us how to start a business and make it profitable, while still being enjoyable. This book is based on what he teaches there!

He covers the ten steps that are needed to start any business, no matter what kind. It takes you through the questions all business owners must answer. What is my product, who are my target customers and how can I best reach them? Is there a need for the product or service you offer?

Are there too many people who do or sell what you are offering? Too little? How hard is it going to be to reach potential customers if there are too many/ too little offering what you do? Who are your competitors and how did they get where they are if they are profitable?

The chapters that are most essential for new business startups are what those who have failed have avoided. If you’re product or service isn’t needed or wanted then you aren’t going to have much success in the business world. Doing the research on the demands of what you’re offering is all in there!

The other mistake failed business owners make is pricing. Most new business owners, especially those going into the creative market try and compete on the prices. They feel like if they offer lower prices that they are going to gain more customers. This isn’t reality. Customers know if they want great, high quality handmade items or services, they have to pay for the item + time. Don’t sell yourself short.

I love that that he takes all the “Business Jargon” and makes it understandable for us “creative types.” Although I have an associates degree in Business Management, this was STILL way more helpful than the 2 years of college I completed.

It shows you how to make a spreadsheet with all your competitors information on it. This isn’t anything new “the spreadsheets” but the information is. He shows you how to look at ALL of their advantages, where their products can be bought, prices, and notes on each competitor. When you know what you’re going up against and the margin prices for the products you’ll be making.. it’s easier to start. You don’t want to open a business blindly and not know where to start or who you’ll be competing against.


I am loving the cute little illustrations throughout the book. It livens up an already awesome book! This book shows us what we must be good at in order to be a great seller of our products. Understanding ourselves, our business, and our promises to our potential customers.

The best thing is that there are random business owners that share their stories. When we see what other “REAL” business owners can and have done, it makes us realize our potential. They share where they started, what channels they used to get where they are today, and their thoughts on making it easier for us.

I would totally recommend this to anyone who just started a creative business or someone thinking about doing so.


About the Author

Doug Richard is a UK based Californian serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Richard came to public prominence as a result of the BBC TV programme Dragons' Den, where he appeared as a 'dragon', or investor in the first two series. He subsequently became known for the Richard Report, the Entrepreneur's Manifesto and several other initiatives directed at improving UK support for startups and small businesses. He is regularly invited to appear on business initiatives and economic development pieces with some frequency on the BBC and financial news networks. Doug has received a host of honours and awards during his career and was the first American to receive The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion. Amongst others, he became a fellow of the RSA and received an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Essex for his contribution to entrepreneurship education. In 2008 Doug started School for Startups through which he has educated nearly 20,000 startups on the skills required to be successful. In 2010 Doug started School for Creative Startups with the sole remit of teaching creative people how to turn their creative hobbies into sustainable lifestyle businesses.

Buy It:  How To Start a Creative Business: The Jargon-free Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs $17.07

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Jessica Renee


This post was written by:

Jess is the creator of Stylish Southern Mama + Southern Rambles. She is a freelance writer + designer, Social Media Marketer, and Journalist. She has 2 amazing kids, Aidan and Adisyn, and has been with their dad Adam for 12 years, and has 2 amazingly adorable dogs; Harley + Cheyanne! :)

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