Looking back over the previous two-year constellation it has been very up and down. With first year seeing interesting and eye-opening debates and theories in the second term as I was exposed to theories of materials and making which I found immensely interesting and have used since to inform my making. The first term however providing very little of interest to me and my practice. The second year of constellation was not very rewarding at all with very little influencing me and the way I think about my practice resulting in very little motivation for the module. The experience of constellation this year however has been somewhat different from that of the other two years with increased focus on the real world and where I was going with my work, through the writing of the business plan, which I have found very motivating. Initially I was slightly apprehensive about writing a business plan as I wasn’t sure it that I would be A. interested in or B. be able to fully engage with/ understand. Further to this I was a bit worried about how well established the teaching for this would be as it had not been running for many years. Nonetheless, I was attracted to it due to its practically, meaning and use for when I graduate as opposed to a thesis which is mainly theoretical. I had also been considering starting my own business after graduating before making this decision and wanted to use it and an exercise to test whether this would be a viable option for me or not.
The writing of the business plan began with a struggle to know where to start as the task ahead seemed huge. I found it hard to know how to begin my research as we had only been taught about researching into books and theories rather than research into things such as reports and markets. I also was very unsure about who my customers were and how I would go about finding this out. However, I concentrated on looking into the market and the trends and found myself embarking on a journey of discovery, with reports talking about technologies and advancements which were right on the cutting edge of today’s industry and were not even available for purchase yet proving to be of great interest to me. This enjoyment gave me motivation to start writing the beginnings of the plan and gave me further inspiration to find out more about the customers themselves. There was something very rewarding about finding material which supported your ideas such an increasing appreciation for the maker and the making process. I was able to keep myself motivated to write the plan because not only did it continue to directly link back and inform my practice but it I knew I was writing about something that was potentially going to happen after I graduated giving real weight to the piece and made me thoroughly explore all avenues.
The financials was also something that I was very concerned about to begin with so I began early trying to figure out what it all meant. I have had a lot of external help with this which has been invaluable as accounting is not my strength. Trying to price my work has been one of the hardest things in the end and is still a work in progress as it affects everything to do with the business including how well it will run, how people will perceive it, will they actually purchase the pieces along with will the business sustain me. Understanding how my business might work financially has been eye opening and actually very exciting as I see things potentially taking shape and the possibility of them coming a reality ever increasing.
I wanted to run my businesses as a way of avoiding the confines of choosing between either designing or making in the world. However, whilst this is still a factor in why I want to start my business using my business plan, I now find myself wanting to run a business because not only do I believe I have and can produce work that will sell but because I believe I have the makings of a successful brand which I want to share with the world. The idea that I have complete control over my practice and its direction is very exiting. The writing of this plan has giving me an opportunity to put what I have learnt over my years at university into practice.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how much enjoyment and interest I have got out of writing the business plan. The process has been long and thorough and I have gone from knowing very little about how one might/must go about running a creative business to knowing at least something! This is much thanks to the tutor I have had who has been as supportive as I could have hoped for alongside being motivated to work on the plan because of how directly it linked in with my practice. Thus, the overarching feeling and experience I have got from constellation is a positive one thanks to this year. The option to write something live and with real weight and importance behind has been key for me. The business plan will be something that I use into the future now with the finances I have been working on providing a model to run the business around. I will be constantly reviewing how I predicted the business to run in the plan against how it is running in reality to hopefully ensure its success and prove the validity of the business plan. The business plan will additionally provide me with a basis for the idea I can pitch to various sponsors should I require further funding . I think the business plan option is a excellent opportunity for people like me its value of it should be made clear to students of Cardiff Met more than it was to me.