Anyone who has built a successful business will tell you that business decisions are often about balancing the arts against the sciences. It's your vision, branding, and creativity against your cash flow, operations management, and burn rate.
If you're not in a creative role it can be hard to see how considering decisions through an artistic lens can improve your day-to-day decision making. However, a successful painter and a successful businessperson have one thing in common: the success of their work lies in their ability to direct the attention of the beholder.
Here's 9 more concepts you can borrow from the world of art to improve your ability to make clear business decisions:
1. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Contrasting artists can be equally successful. Respect your competitors and challenge yourself to find things that customers might find appealing and valuable about the different depictions displayed to them.
2. Continually step back to see the whole picture
Each brush stroke is as important as the consummate painting. Seek to understand the business as customers see it: from a distance. Take care as you paint the canvas of your career and business but don't loose sight of the original subject.
3. The Pursuit of Perfection
No matter how good you are, your first work of art probably won't be your best. Always invest in your personal development and the training of those around you. Remember that development and experimentation isn't just for your benefit--fellow artisans will benefit from you publicizing your findings.
4. Critics are fickle
You're only as good as your last piece of work. Take steps to avoid becoming complacent and listen to others. Criticism is only costly if you don't channel it into improvement.
5. Keep your eyes off the page
Spend more time looking at your subject than your drawing. You're not going to paint a beautiful landscape if you don't know the valleys and streams that lie within. The landscape of business is no different--keep your eyes up, off the page, and observe your surroundings diligently. If you're not sure where to draw a line, look again.
6. Successful artists aren't always original artists
Many artists thrive as copyists and restorers. Businesses do too. Look to save time so you can focus on your business' core value proposition. Embrace open source.
7. People notice mistakes
If you paint with dedication and respect you will not engender as much instant gratification as the instant criticism you will draw for a mistake. Nurture your ability to honestly appraise your own work so you can balance the voices of critics against your instinct, technique, and character.
8. Seek out inspiration
Working without inspiration is like drawing with a blunt pencil--it's pointless. Surround yourself with counsel and advisors to offset your skill deficiencies, no matter how experienced you are in your industry or company.
9. Your studio is your work
Every business will tell you the importance of culture but great artists cultivate work spaces that were an extension of their art. Make your office and culture a part of your day-to-day responsibility.
Ultimately, the value of your art is not derived from what lasts the longest or what is seen by the most people--the value of your art is harmony: all of the individual pencil marks and brush strokes coming together on canvas for a moment. And when an artist achieves harmony and shares it with others, the value of the painting becomes inherent. You've guessed it... business is no different.
Mar 12, 2015