Why Do Art Galleries Exist - Focus on What You Do Best
Until recently, I hadn’t stopped to think why so many art galleries exist. Any ideas?
The simple answer is because there are so many artists. The most important detail of this symbiotic relationship however is often masked by the pretty colors and astute salesmanship: artists are notoriously terrible at promoting and selling their own creations. Their works are like their children and very rarely does an artist have an easy time effectively placing value on what they have made – let alone having the interest in selling it (hence the term starving artist). This is where the art dealers and their galleries come in.
Dealers have the ability to most effectively price the pieces based on current trends in a given market, while having the space and the means to efficiently expose and promote the artist’s works in their gallery/circles of influence. It is very safe to say that without both the dealer/gallery and the artist, neither group (by and large) would be very successful.
Focus on Growing Your Strengths, Not Your Short-Comings
As business owners and high-level operators, we either created our business from the ground up, or we were part of the small team that did it. This inevitably meant that early on, you needed to be comfortable wearing multiple hats – closing the big deals, doing the work, and (oh yeah) fixing the toilet when it gets clogged. It’s not always glamorous, but it’s what you do when bootstrapping your business to make things work. I did it, and still do in most cases.
Over the last 17 years, our team has grown from an army of one to an army of 2, then 3, then 4, then back to 3, and now 10. As part of our last scaling initiative, the focus was less about “who can be a Swiss Army Knife?” and more about “who is a rock star in a given area?” Today, we have a team of SMEs (subject matter experts) that enable the maximum opportunity for each person to focus on what they are really good at, with very little to no time for other things to creep in. #thesecretsauce
Bringing It All Home
Before having dedicated team members for specific roles in the company, I would find my own time spread across multiple channels – promoting, selling, designing, developing, and supporting client projects. As a result, I spent many late nights – leaving the studio at 2 am some evenings, to ensure that work was getting done. Now, I still work long hours, but my time is most effectively spent doing things that are centered around driving revenue for the company and playing to my (and everyone else’s) strengths. Going back to the example above of the artist and the dealer/gallery owner – when you focus on what you do best and partner with those that do what they do best for your business – the optimum output is realized and masterpieces are born.
It’s time to go all-in on what your best benefit to your company is and hand off those things that you have no business doing to those that can do it stronger, better, faster. It won’t take long to realize that the (potential) increase in hard-cost associated, will ultimately be trumped by opportunity cost gained and a higher quality of work being delivered to the client/customer. What’s the downside?