Day Two and Three

Day Two and Three 

I was going to blog every night during the Young Enterprise Program but yesterday I changed my mind. I realised I needed something completely different and so headed off to Folkroom fortnightly at The Harrison. Live music, when it’s as good as it was last night transports, inspires and leaves me feeling giddy. After a second intense day with two more days to come music was exactly what I needed. I woke up this morning tired, satisfied and ready for day three.

We have over the last two days learnt about marketing, selling, tax, profits, cash flow and bookkeeping. Though it is a lot to take in the approach continued with the wonderful sense of the practicality I had so enjoyed on day one. Over the years of my education I have grown used to abstract thought and open-ended theoretical questions. This is an approach that works for art, but not for business and commerce. It is truly refreshing to be discussing practical applications. I am an artist and for every abstract or creative thought a practical one is needed to make it work and make my life possible. The Princes Trust is giving me and so this press, to tools of practicality.

Marketing and sales are things I am familiar with, as I have been doing them for a number of years. What I found useful about discussing them was the way it was broken as it gave me a better sense of what I have been, in part, already doing. Since launching As Yet Untitled and Elbow Room I haven’t been working with any particular marketing or sales plan. I haven’t really sat down and thought ahead. Most of what we have achieved has been through reaction and hope. Actually focusing in and realising that by defining the core values of the press I could come up with a marketing strategy is a new and positive step.

Now it is a question of working out exactly what these core values and strengths are and how I might achieve and communicate them clearly.  

Part of marketing is being able to clearly write and speak about your business. The importance of succinctly being able to pitch the press to anyone cannot be underestimated. What I have discovered is that I can speak my idea but I can’t write it down. It appears that the academic art speak of essays and articles has gotten to me more than I realised (or wanted). The fantastic thing about being at the trust isn’t just having someone force me to write it down but a group of people to give me the feedback required to help me improve.   

Today was Money day.

Tax.

Profit.

Cash flow.

Bookkeeping.

These are all words that scare me. I try to learn about them or even do them, get half way through something, get lost or confused, get scared and then stop. It’s not that I’m bad with money, ever since I was little I have been able to save for things I want or need. It’s just that now, as an adult living with so little and trying to approach a world of structures and rules that I don’t understand money has become something that keeps me up at night.

When I started the press I ignored what I was spending or earning because I didn’t want to find out it wasn’t working, that I was losing money and should stop. I didn’t want to stop. I’m glad of that now, because it got As Yet Untitled and most particularly Elbow Room to this point. Everything I learnt today however is going to help me achieve my dreams for where we will be in the next year, 3 years, 5 years and more.

For the first time ever someone has managed to explain to me (in ways I understand and that feels achievable) what tax is, how it works, how I work out my profit margins and business expenses. Today, for the first time ever I understand why you have a personal survival budget and how you fit this into your accounts.

I am sure that when I come to actually sit down and work of the accounts for the press I will once more find myself confused. But I am equally sure that the feeling I have right now of finally grasping this seemingly impossible subject will calm me down when I get lost and encourage me to work it out.

Numbers have never been my strong point. I am an image person, a word person. I think that is obvious in everything As Yet Untitled has ever published. But today I realised that not only are the numbers manageable but that the maths is what helps us achieve our goals.