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Valentine’s Dinner Thoughts

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I went to a fabulous dinner at Volt in historic Frederick, Maryland. Volt is housed in a 19th Century brownstone mansion. It is the creation of Brian Voltaggio. Reality show fans will recognize him as a finalist on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5. 

As I was watching the staff handle the evening’s activities, I was reminded about how our businesses are like a restaurant.

When you own a successful restaurant, it’s divided into two areas: front of the house and back of the house.

Front is what the public sees, i.e., the host/hostess, the waiters, the dining room, the meal.

And the back of the house is where the work takes place.

If a restaurant business is to be successful, the owner has to manage the back of the house.

For creative artists, I see the front of the house as your completed art, whether that is displayed at a gallery, at a booth at Quilt Market or a crafts show, or even on your website. That is the public face of your business.

Most of the real work in your business takes place in the back of the house. That includes creating your art, managing your books, or marketing your business in a variety of forms.

Restaurants have staff both in the front and the back of the house.

So, too, your creative businesses may have back-of-the-house help. You might have reps to market your business, virtual or non-virtual assistants to help with a myriad of tasks, bookkeepers to input the numbers into your financial software, help to package your goods, etc.

If you don’t have help, you will be responsible for all of the back-of-the-house work.

That said, remember that you don’t have to do that work that doesn’t fit your skill level or that seems too “left-brained” to you. You can find help or put it in your budget and work towards that.

It does, however, fall to you, the business owner, to look at the big picture. Part of that is looking at those numbers and becoming creative about how to grow your businesses.

When was the last time you took a good look at the back of the house activities, specifically your financials?

How can you know where you are or what adjustments you need to make if you don’t?

I know, so many artists say they aren’t interested in numbers; it’s such a left brain activity.

I don’t buy that argument. Organizing your workspace so you can create art is a so-called left brain activity. So is putting together that list of art supplies to order. You do those anyway because you want to create art.

You should have that same thought about your numbers.

You want to create a profitable business – and you definitely use lots of right brain activity in that. Knowing your numbers is part of the picture to get you there.

And, if you don’t look at the whole picture, well, it’s like half-finished art. You don’t have the complete story.

It’s your turn!

How much of your time do you spend front of the house vs. back of the house in your business? 

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