The last couple of months have been a joy to work with the team of FCAT. At the moment ‘m halfway through the program and breaking for Christmas holidays, and will be returning in the New Year.

I was able to get to know the team better and work on a number of things focusing on CINENOMADA, the strand of the film festival that operates throughout the year. As previously planned, I worked on a tracking analysis for the past five years of all the CINENOMADA sales, bookings, attendance, locations and other data. This took some time but is an important document to track on the successes and shortfalls of the project in the past six years. The aim of this document is to provide measurable data and assist us in planning a marketing strategy to increase the number of sales and audience.

Having finished the document I realised there hasn’t been an increase in sales in the past six years. We discussed this with the team and conversed over the potential setbacks in growing sales. At the moment we are working on the ways we can improve these numbers and planning out a thorough marketing strategy that we will implement in the new year.

For me this has been very important as I believe, especially regarding small businesses, you never really consider data and how that can assist you. I have learned what information is relevant to what you are trying to achieve and how to use that information the best way possible. I am looking forward to putting this into practice and seeing what the results will be.

On another level, it has been very interesting to me to witness the shortfalls and setbacks a small business within the creative industry is facing. Especially when the product (African cinema) is considered as a “niche”. This proves as an added challenge and raises questions of how to break the barriers that exist. What kind of creative ways can we come up with and what further challenges will there be on the way. This analytical thinking I came to realise is important, especially when working within the creative industries.

I am very much looking forward to working on finalising the marketing strategy and implementing it in the new year. I believe this experience and the things I have learned will prove very valuable to my business plan as it is making me critically think about the challenges my business will face as a “niche” itself. The practical ways to overcome them and using creative and critical thinking regarding them.

The experience has also shown me how important the team is to a successful business. When things get challenging, it is important to have a team behind you that supports each other and loves what they do. A positive, creative working environment is something that makes everything easier.