When I started my gallery in 2001, I made a lot of mistakes that I was not aware of until I was painfully aware of them!
My top three business mistakes were: Not hiring a bookkeeper and an accountant, not hiring a part-time gallery assistant, and not having a CRM or a ‘Customer Relationship Manager’ that would help me organize all of my gallery inventory, contacts, and information that was being developed at that time.
As A Matter of Fact: I didn’t even know what a CRM was until I read my first ‘sales book’ at 26 years old, and it was mentioned. It was then mentioned in another book I read and when I heard it for the third time, I decided to take it seriously.
I went down the rabbit hole researching CRM’s for small businesses and galleries and found the software that I eventually started to use. It was custom made for galleries (not artists) and by the time I eventually got around to being able to afford this program (it was a few thousand dollars), I had hundreds of paintings I was losing track of, multiple consignments going on for gallery artists, hundreds of contacts in my database and well over one hundred clients and contacts that I was not taking care of.
The one big thing I have noticed with many of the artists I have worked with over the past few years is that many of them are incredibly busy, have a lot of shows, opportunities, and things going on and all of that causes them to lose track of where their work is. I have also noticed that they don’t have their contacts properly cataloged in a database, don’t have emails organized for their marketing, don’t have proper invoices, don’t have pdf’s ready to go out in a flash, and on the next level: are not able to pull reports that would help them get a picture of how they are doing in their current business year.
I took it for granted that I already had a CRM and assumed most business creatives also had one. When I started working on my sales Modules in the Art MBA All-Access Program, that is where I realized through my informal polling that MOST ARTISTS DID NOT HAVE A CRM AND WERE DOING THE SAME THING I USED TO DO: Keeping their lists in Excel, Word and in Notebooks and updating their email programs with new emails on occasion.
After poking around in the business world of CRM’s, the non-profit world of CRM’s and then the arts: I finally came across a CRM that seemed to match what my very expensive gallery program CRM had going for it but it was tailored for artists and priced in a way that artists would not have to wait to purchase it and would be able to start putting their information in. When I asked around, I found that many artists that are in my Art MBA program already use the CRM, ARTWORK ARCHIVE and recommended it hands down!
I booked a call to learn more with their CEO and was impressed by the ‘virtual tour’ I got of the program and invited them to speak to my group of students and show how using a CRM and an art inventory software program could help artists save time and money and be more in control of their information starting today.
Here is what we all learned about what art inventorying can help you to do:
If you come across as organized, punctual, and with the right information at the ready, you’ll gain respect and interest from your professional contacts. This greatly affects future business relationships. For instance, you’ll impress art dealers when you can deliver polished consignment reports in a timely fashion.
These same people may question your professionalism if you don’t know where your artwork is located (this actually happens more than you think!).
You’re probably wondering why would simply archiving your artwork help you with business strategy?
Well, when you’ve organized all your pieces, client information, sales, and galleries, you’ll start to see very illuminating patterns forming. You’ll pinpoint who your best clients are and which galleries are working the hardest to sell your artwork.
You’ll see how much art you’re producing versus selling each month, so you’ll know what to focus on the next month. You can use all this valuable information to make informed decisions to improve your business.
In the Artwork Archive CRM, they have easy insights to help you along, too:
Nobody wants to think about insurance or taxes when there’s a fresh tube of paint or newly purchased clay on the table. But, you’ll be so glad you did when (and if, in terms of insurance) the time comes. Archiving your artwork will allow you to know the value of your entire inventory.
And, if you track your sales in art inventory software, you’ll know how much money you’ve made on each piece and the expenses you accumulated throughout the year. It’s always exciting to see how much money you’ve made through your hard work!
Archiving your art makes sharing and promoting it so much easier. You’ll also have beautiful images and all the details ready to go when you want to upload new art to your social media channels or to send it to collectors.
Artwork Archive even lets you share work online directly from your inventory. You simply select what pieces to make public and voilà. They’re on your Public Page and can be shared on Discovery. Or, integrate a stunning gallery directly on your artist website, so your online presence is always up-to-date and you can skip the double data entry.
Who wants to waste time rifling through endless notebooks, receipts, and emails to find the right information? It’s stressful, takes away from precious studio time, and keeps your clients and galleries waiting.
Having everything at your fingertips allows you to spend more time doing what you love. It also makes consigning works and preparing for exhibitions a breeze. This allows these events to be more fun, and less chaotic.
Want to know the best part?
Art collectors like knowing the provenance behind the art they’re considering. If they’re deciding between two similar artworks by different artists and one has a documented history, which one do you think will pique more interest? Exactly.
If your artwork comes complete with an exhibition, competition, and publication history, it’s going to be a lot more interesting than art without a story. Now, this isn’t guaranteed, but it’s still pretty exciting. So, track and record all this information in your inventory management system, so you can whip it out and impress collectors.
Reap the rewards and inventory your art
Whether your priority is cutting down on stress and saving time, or cementing important relationships and promoting your artwork–or a combination, you go-getter, you–archiving your art will help you reach your goal. So, set up your art inventory management software and get to work.
You’ll be so glad you did.
Artwork Archive even has an inventorying guide to help you started. When everything’s in order, you can concentrate on creating the art career you’ve always wanted.
MY MISSION WITH MY ART MBA ALL-ACCESS PROGRAM AND MY COACHING PROGRAMS ARE TO FIND SOLUTIONS FOR ARTISTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN CAREERS, HAVE THE FINANCIAL SUCCESS THEY NEED AND GET ON THE EDGET INFORMATION THAT CAN HELP YOU GROW.
HAVING THE PROPER CRM CAN HELP YOU SHAVE OFF YEARS OF STRESS AND GROW YOUR SALES THROUGH HAVING THE TOOLS AND INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!
CHECK IT OUT AND THEY ARE OFFERING A FREE 30-DAY TRIAL AND
A 20% DISCOUNT CODE FOR ANY ART MBA STUDENTS WHO USE THIS LINK: Artwork Archive
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.