NxLevel: week 7

i think this week's NxLevel class represents the epitome of why there is such a thing as a business class for creative entrepreneurs to begin with... sometimes the topics we discuss in class remind me 1) why creative artistry was a natural path for me and, 2) why we creative-types often aren't naturally gifted in the art of business, respectfully.

i mean, we create artistic works and people are supposed to be interested. right? and if they buy? even better! apparently, that's not exactly how it works in the realm of enterprise. those MBA hotshots say there should actually be someone who WANTS to buy what you're selling before you decide to go into business for yourself. i'm like... wha???

welcome, dear satellite readers (all three of you), to the fascinating world of market analysis and customer research.


NxLevel: week 6

many a wise man (and probably woman) once sang, "money don't get everything it's true. but what it don't get, i can't use."  and as altruistic as one can be, especially since our NxLevel class just finished up a session on green business, an operation simply can't be very socially-responsible if it doesn't have enough money to keep the lights on.

i suppose if you can't pay the electricity bill you could tell your clients and customers you're just being environmentally friendly, but at some point you'll have to face the music: businesses need coin to sing and dance.

as with many continuing education courses, some of the material you learn is - depending on your perspective - a no-brainer. so in terms of a mini-business degree-like education via NxLevel, spending less than you make, practicing exemplary customer service and following through on your promises fall into this category. however, one of the most valuable lessons we've learned to date is that just because the financial situation of your respective start-up may look rather bleak, there are options that can help a small business secure enough funds to postpone failure for another year. ha! i kid, i kid...


NxLevel: week 5

one major difference between a creative enterprise and a business that doesn't produce anything artistic or unique lies in the value of its original ideas. creative material is known as intellectual property (IP), and according to the guest speakers at this week's NxLevel class, isn't something to be considered lightly.

intellectual property, that which is created in the mind of someone or a group of people, is still property. and just as people whose homes have been broken into and had their possessions stolen feel violated, people whose intellectual property has been taken feel no less violated. with technology making it increasingly easier to share (and steal) information, the new economy of IP is forcing entrepreneurs to rethink their property rights.

what kinds of things (i.e. ideas) do people have a right to call their property? to what kind of compensation are they entitled if someone takes that property? these questions are not easily answered. luckily we had the expertise of steve replin and dave ratner of replin, rhoades & roper to discuss the importance of protecting creative ideas and assembling the right team of experts to achieve our business goals.

replin's firm specializes in intellectual property legislation and law for the creative arts. and, as he explained in class on tuesday night, the importance of using the right attorney for creative law is akin to selecting the appropriate doctor for a patient's specific injury. for example, you wouldn't go to podiatrist for a broken arm, so why would you go to a divorce lawyer for intellectual property protection. makes sense to me.


NxLevel: week 4

understandably, one of the core reasons for offering a business class to creatives is to afford them with an education they may have yet to receive. being a creative-type serves well for coming up with new ideas, but the process of turning a good idea into a viable revenue generator takes a different skill set altogether. our instructor often refers to the left brain/right brain paradigm in this regard.

you can have the greatest business ideas in the world, but if you lack the knowledge and/or experience of developing and executing those plans, chances are no one will ever get to see your genius. so i'm told.

i believe one of the best ways to help people realize they can accomplish their goals (in business or in life) is to show them examples of others who were once in a similar situation and are now making their ideas work. make those examples unique and artistic and successful and all of a sudden you've got a room full of creatives believing that they're simply one business plan away from living the life they've envisioned for so long...

i don't mean to speak for the others in our class, but the fourth week in NxLevel was the best session we've had so far thanks to two guest speakers: fancy tiger's matthew brown and bobbi walker of walker fine arts.