You’ve heard it all before. The collected wisdom of how to run your creative business. You’ve been there, done that. Read the book. Attended...

Best Practice, Schmactice: What creative business owners can do when the text book fails


Level 6 Terrace Entrance
2000 NSW

Vivid Ideas Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia


David Sharpe

Director – Advisory & Consulting

David has a long history of assisting creative businesses on strategic, financial and operational issues. He is Director – Advisory & Consulting at Generate and spent six years as a Business Adviser with the federal government’s Creative Industries Innovation Centre. Prior to that he ran the business capacity building program for the Australia Council for the Arts. His focus is on assisting business owners to identify and pursue opportunities for growth. Hundreds of creative clients around Australia have benefited from his ability to mix business nous with a keen understanding of the creative process. He holds a Masters of Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Tony Shannon

Business Adviser-Deloitte Private

Tony worked for 20+ years in senior management roles in digital and creative businesses, particularly digital and mobile publishing. He was part of the management team for a digital media IPO in Dotcom ‘99.

Tony is a specialist in the 21st century business environment – for digital, non-digital and creative businesses. He has a keen interest and experience in strategy development; business model innovation; technology in business; platform development; e-commerce; and creating and exploiting intellectual.

For the past eight years Tony has been working as a Business Adviser in the federal government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme – including six years at the Creative Industries Innovation Centre. In that time he has worked with hundreds of creative and digital SMEs.

Tony teaches the “Make A Maker Business” workshopinar at the Makerspace in Marrickville and tutors in the business faculties at AFTRS and UTS.

Tony holds a Master of Management (Macquarie Graduate School of Management) and a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing) from University of Canberra.

Suzanne Boccalatte

Suzanne Boccalatte

Suzanne Boccalatte is a designer, writer and director of Boccalatte for over 25 years—a multi-award winning design consultancy recognised as a leader for its collaborations with clients and as a creator of integrated, innovative, and effective design and strategy for compelling cultural content. She believes in the power of design to bring together people, business and culture—bridging the gap between business strategy and user experience. She leads the design process, including negotiations with key stakeholders. Her role is to establish the strategic direction, develop pre-design thinking, and a strategy that encompasses the entire project, user experience, production and design. Boccalatte’s work has been exhibited, published and awarded nationally and internationally.

Event Details

You’ve heard it all before. The collected wisdom of how to run your creative business. You’ve been there, done that. Read the book. Attended the seminar. Swallowed the perceived wisdom. 

Then how come your small business has remained stubbornly small? Weren’t you going to be the next Big Thing by last month? How come there's no money in the bank? Heck you're shipping creative units like you've never shipped 'em before. Why does it cost you more to do that job than you're being paid? The client said they'd be a stack more work next month if you could just ... 

And where, oh, where did your creative joy go? You used to love this stuff when you started.

Here’s the thing: there’s a gap between business theory and business reality. Best practice, schmactice! This business stuff is hard and this creative business stuff is even harder. The self-help seminars and business text books never warned you there'd be days like that. It was all rose petals, gold nuggets and creative satisfaction.

Well not this time. In this session, you’ll hear from three people who know the best practice but have confronted the schmactice. We are ready to unpack what really happens in a creative business.

Tony Shannon and David Sharpe are business advisors specialising in the creative industries. Between them, they’ve worked with more than 200 creative industry businesses up close and deep. They've even run the odd creative business. Sometimes successfully, sometimes woefully and embarrassingly badly. They’re joined by Suzanne Boccalatte, design maven and creative thought leader, who runs a successful design agency and has walked the walk. Now hear them talk the walk.

They’ll walk and talk you through the theory vs reality of running a creative business. The plan is to make it lively and, if everything goes according to the plan, interactive. What it will certainly be full of, is real life stories from the creative business trenches.

Suzanne, David and Tony want you to leave knowing not what the text books tell you do, but what you can do to make a go of your creative business adventure (and find the joy again).  

Who should attend: sole traders, entrepreneurs, business people in the creative industries. Plus anyone who’s interested in the ways creativity and business collide.

Why you should attend: to get a real world version of running a business in the creative industries. Or just to feel like you're not quite so alone.  

Access and Inclusion

  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.
  • Hearing loop - A hearing loop (sometimes called an audio induction loop) is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to 'T' (Telecoil) setting. Many venues have an induction hearing loop system. Check if your venue has this system.