By Daniel Hunter

Ambitious creative companies could be hindered by a lack of business and financial planning acumen, a new survey for Nesta suggests. The results of the survey showed that 59 per cent of executives in the advertising, digital, film, gaming and television industries feel their business excels at generating great ideas, but only one fifth (20 per cent) claim equivalent expertise in business and financial forecasting.

The findings are released ahead of the application deadline for Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network programme (13 September), which will match 30 creative businesses with mentors from across the creative industries.

The results showed that two thirds (66 per cent) of the creative industry’s leaders recognise mentoring as a way of helping them deal with the business challenges they face; 42 per cent said they would like to work with a mentor and 25 per cent said they have worked with a mentor before — over half of which would like to again.

Despite financial and business planning finishing at the bottom of the areas creative business leaders excel in, just 10 per cent would make their first mentor question ‘how can I improve financial planning’. Instead, leadership and team development top the list of first questions they would ask a mentor.
The results suggest that creativity and client servicing take priority over business operations — 58 per cent said they excel in client servicing. The impression of ‘creativity over bottom-line’ is strengthened by just 28 per cent of respondents saying they excel in new business development.

Jon Kingsbury, director of Creative Economy Programmes at Nesta said: “The UK is a hotbed of creativity and it’s great to see so many businesses leaders who are happy to state they feel ideas generation and client management are areas where they excel. Part of our aim for the Creative Business Mentoring Network programme is to help these talented businesses realise their full potential by bringing in the experience and skills of a seasoned mentor to balance creativity with business and financial imperatives.”

The Creative Business Mentor Network mentor panel includes: Patrick McKenna, CEO at Ingenious Media; Tim Bevan, CEO, Working Title Films; Louise Pedersen, Managing Director, All3Media International and Andy Payne, CEO, Appynation.

Alex Graham, CEO at Wall to Wall and a mentor in Creative Business Mentor Network programme commented: “All you need to get started running your own business is a great idea that someone wants to buy. However, the hard part comes after that initial success when you have to add people to the payroll and expenses to the profit and loss account. Like other Nesta CBMN mentors I have been on this journey and hopefully we can bring our experience and expertise to the next generation of bright young businesses and help them become the future stars of our industry.”

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