Creative Futures Programme Day 8: Business Planning

Our live music event has the real possibility of becoming a fully fledged business venture, which made a session on business panning with Alison Surtees very appropriate. This was our second time with Alison, after first meeting her on Day 5 when we learnt about event planning.

We were given an insight into the difference between being self-employed and a business start-up, as we learned that when you set up a company, you can limit your liability, but if you’re self-employed, then you are liable for everything.  The company sits as an entity, whilst you sit as an individual.

Alison led out on a discussion of what is involved in being self-employed and what it is to be self-employed.  She told us that if you are self-employed, you have to register with HMRC, but you don’t have to register immediately – you have about 3-4 months until after you’ve set up to sign up.  You can also do everything online.


Alison also stressed the importance of having a business plan as a self-employed individual, because you are in fact the business.  She said you need to know your market, who your customers are and who your competitors are, but most importantly, you need to know your value.

However, as a freelancer, the most important thing is not about what you know, it’s about who you know.  Alison told us that we need to think about how to get ourselves out there and make our faces known, as well as advising those of us who hadn’t already to sign up to LinkedIn.  She said that we should start looking at other people’s networks and looking for people that may be able to help us in our respective fields.

Nevertheless, LinkedIn is a cyber way of networking, which is not as effective as networking with individuals in person.  Alison said: “The way you’ll get business is face-to-face… People buy you as much as they buy your skills.”


We also learnt that behind every industry is a sector body, which was news to me.  Alison told us that we need to get to know the sector body behind our chosen industry and find out how they can help us.  The two main bodies in the creative industry happen to be ‘Creative Skillset’ and ‘Creative and Cultural Skills’, which I definitely intend to look into.

Most importantly, if anyone decides to become self-employed, then they must have insurance and work out their budgets.  Insurance should be one of the first things that are thought about, and they would also be part of the business plan process.  We also learnt about what is tax-deductible and that when doing a budget forecast, the individual would need to focus exactly on what they’d need to spend money on.

We did not have the chance to discuss what a business start-up entails, as we jumped straight into a fully fledged conversation regarding our event on July 26th.  After speaking about the research that we had undertaken, we decided on the final name for the event, which is ‘Positive Summer Vibes’.  Since we had the name finalised, Lily (18), got started on the design for the leaflets and the posters, which will be out for release soon.


Randy (18), Inno (19) and myself (21), also went out and spoke to some young people in Croydon Town Centre.  We gathered information about what music they most enjoy listening to, what food they’d like to see at a live music event and what UK artist they’d most want to see perform live.  We got some good findings, which gave us an idea of the type of food we would like to serve at our event, and it also made us realise that we need to find a UK-based reggae or dancehall artist.

We really need to find a band and like I said, we need a reggae or dancehall artist, to accompany our other confirmed acts, so if you know of anyone then please be in touch.  Also, if there are any businesses who would like to get involved and if there is anyone who is willing to sponsor us, then please get in contact at

We still really want to have young people involved, so if you are 16-24, unemployed and on Jobseekers, or know someone who is, please come to the Lives Not Knives unit in Centrale shopping centre next Tuesday at 2pm.  This is a great project that will enable you to develop your skills while having fun, so don’t miss another day.  Follow us on Twitter (@FuturesPositive) and like our page on Facebook (Positive Summer Vibes) for more information.

And if you haven’t listened to our track, LNK Feeling, on SoundCloud yet, then give it a listen now.  It is so catchy:

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