Creative Business Map

What is the Creative Business Map?

The Creative Business Map was developed in 2013 by Mark Bode. It is a method that can be used by companies or freelancers in the creative sector to quickly, simply and systematically develop a business model. It does not replace the business plan, but provides a concise, comprehensive and visual perspective on the underlying plan of the company.

The method consists of six steps, which should first be followed linearly, then interactively.


Contrary to the usual marketing theories, the Creative Business Map is not based on making or providing what the market demands. Rather, what you make (Step 2) is seen as a creation that is produced by you in a more or less autonomous, authentic process. Only then do you consider which markets might suit you and your product. In other words, the supply is a given, and may possibly be fine-tuned according to market requirements (Step 3). This method can be used not just by creative businesses, but also by the many brands that are the product of an inner drive, based on which they go out to conquer the world.

The Creative Business Map in brief

Method overview:

You start by establishing your dream and your primary motive. Often, this comes from a passion or a fascination. You then consider what you are making now, or what you want to make. Taken together, these two steps form the foundation of the story you are going to tell. Who you are going to tell this story to is the subject of Step 3, in which you determine who is suited to your drive, passion and fascination, and who your work appeals to. Once you have a clear idea of your client, you go on to determine how to reach him or her (Step 4) and the appropriate revenue model (Step 5). The last step (Step 6) is to set clear objectives and a timeframe and to go through the steps again.

The steps in more detail

Step 1 – What is your drive?

This step shows that it is essential to record your drive, fascination and passion, which often have their origins in a dream. It is essential to convert this into words, because this provides direction and enables you to attract the attention of clients and other contacts.

Step 2 – What do you make?

For many creative people, what they make is often a given. Their creations are the result of an autonomous process, and this distinguishes them from most marketeers or entrepreneurs. The usual course taken in management literature is to first study the market, then the supply. For many creative people, however, this is the wrong way round. They have made something and only then do they, or someone else, analyse how the creative process took place.

This step also describes how to put together a portfolio.

Step 3 – Who is it for?

In this step, creative entrepreneurs identify their clients (and potential clients) by determining who is suited to their drive and what they make. A description is given of different clients and sectors.

Step 4 – How can you reach the client?

In this step, you describe how you are going to approach the clients relevant to you. Promotion, partnerships and sales methods are some of the subjects addressed in this step.

Step 5 – What is your revenue model?

The revenue model is described per client or sector.

Step 6 – What is your plan?

In Step 6, clear objectives are set, with a timeframe. The drive and the ultimate dream or long-term goal from Step 1 are set out in achievable objectives within a certain period (such as one year). Steps 2 to 5 are then completed again for each objective and phase.

Who is it for?

The Creative Business Map is intended for:

  • students and recent graduates from art academies;
  • self-employed persons in the creative industry;
  • specific sectors: art, illustration, design, product & interior design, photography, fashion, lifestyle & design, advertising, AV, animation, serious gaming, e-learning and music;
  • art teachers;
  • scientists and lecturers active in the creative industry;
  • coaches, trainers and consultants who advise creative professionals.

The Creative Business Map can also be applied outside the creative industry, especially in those sectors in which people are often trained in a particular field or trade. Would you like to know more, or are you interested in a partnership? Please get in touch.