In order to succeed in any business, art licensing being no exception, you need to look at both the big and small picture.  It is important to understand what is going on and coming up in the industry at large as well as keeping an eye on the day-to-day operations of your business.

Binoculars let you see farther than you can with your eyes alone.   This would be the perspective you are looking for when you are trying to spot trends or forecast your royalty potential for the coming year, for example.  This is the work of strategic thinking and planning for your business.

If you notice a new color trend emerging in clothing or furniture, then decide that you will use it in your next art collection – you have your binoculars on. You also have your binoculars on when you register to attend or exhibit at trade shows or make other forward thinking plans.

But no business can thrive with only binoculars.  “Watch the big things and the little things will take care of themselves” doesn’t really apply.

So now let’s consider a microscope.  The microscope allows scientists to see minute details that aren’t visible with the naked eye.  Looking at your business through a microscope is akin to watching the details.  Creating your daily or weekly ‘to do’ list, watching cash flow, responding to emails, things like that.  If a company or an artist only looks at their business through a microscope, they will miss changes in the market that could negatively affect their business.  They might miss key trends on the horizon and not add them to the mix.

The key to a successful business is to use both binoculars and a microscope.

If you are the only person in your business, you need to learn to use both.  Or perhaps you have several team members who take different roles.  A book keeper works with a microscope with the finance guy, who forecasts and looks at money in a more long-term way, has binoculars firmly in hand.  Balancing the long and short term needs of your business will help you stay in business.

– Tara Reed

P.S. If you want help in creating the long-term and short-term balance in your business, consider The Goal Wheel for Artists™.  You will learn strategies for balancing the three main areas you need to focus on to build a successful, creative business.  Head to for more information.