Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Science In Management

Colleges & School

Cardinal Stritch College

Degree Granted By

Cardinal Stritch College

First Advisor

Mabel G. Smith

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Small business; Finance; Corporate profits; Business losses


This project was undertaken to determine which managerial skills prove the most important to entrepreneurs in the creative services industry (e.g. commercial art, design, or photography) and how these needs coincide with those of small business owners in general. Through the use of a researcher-developed questionnaire, owner/ managers of creative service firms in the Milwaukee, Racine, and Chicago areas were asked for information on their backgrounds, motivations, attitudes, and experiences as entrepreneurs. The information given by the 68 respondents was then compared to generally-held theories on managerial strengths and weaknesses and their effect on the success or failure of small businesses in general. The results showed that cash flow (or the lack thereof) was the first concern of small creative businesses, followed very closely by the amount of time and work involved in the administration of the business itself. The latter was more than likely due to the lack of general business management knowledge, with one-third of the respondents mentioning this as something they wish they had had much more of before opening their businesses. Also of significant concern was the difficulty in attracting customers. This was, once again, a function of planning or marketing, and certainly contributed to any financial difficulties. So far, these concerns paralleled those of small business in general. Where the difference occurred, however, was that up among the top problems mentioned in the questionnaire, was that of dealing with temperamental creative personnel. The findings indicated a need for understanding of and adaption for the special needs of creative personnel. These individuals are not motivated by many of the things which move others to action. The need for challenge and desire for freedom to create stimulates not only the person himself, but also his "creative juices." The acceptance of and accommodation for the fact that the creative person tends not to be one of the "good, solid 9-5 people," will generally reap rewards for the manager and his company; the unacceptance and attempt to mold them into a good, solid "9-5'er", will not. In addition to the problem of motivating the creative personality, the creative service entrepreneur must face a unique asset/personnel relationship. His people's talents are not only the products he sells, but are actually his company's major assets as well. Therefore, the loss of a key creative person can significantly alter a firm's business prospects. The questionnaire revealed that over 40% of those who had lost a key creative employee had also lost business because of it, and over 70% cited problems in replacing the person. This, then, seemed to be the only significant different. Dealing with and/or the loss of creative personnel was an added concern for owner/managers of creative service microbusinesses. For those managers possessing an understanding of the creative person's motivations and frustrations, however, this appeared to be more of a consideration, rather than a problem.


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