There was a time, many decades ago, when photography was considered not more than a hobby or sometimes a small part of journalistic activity. This is however, not the case anymore. With emerging technologies, development of new techniques and breathtaking equipment, photography is becoming one of the mainstream fields of profession. Nowadays, there are hundreds of professional photographers who catapulted their career into world fame within no time. However, the reason of writing this article is not to pen down the inevitable importance of photography as a business. On the contrary, this article will talk about how a photographer can pre-plan before making the big leap into a proper photography business.
Like all other businesses of the world, photography business needs planning too. A good plan or post-business strategy will always help you in positive business growth. No matter if you are a freelance photographer, you can earn from your freelance photography almost equal to a professional full time photographer, a photography school fresh graduate or a salaries photographer planning to quit the job and start your business, you need to have a solid business plan.
Therefore, to begin with, it is suggested that you set a year’s business plan which mainly focuses on short-term (year-long) goals to that will ultimately lead to long-term (decade-long) goals. A year-long business plan can help you in avoiding the difficult challenges that one has to face for starting a new business.
A sound plan and then wheeling this plan smoothly into application with one step at a time is indeed important. In this article we will be discussing a few steps on how to create a one year business plan for a photography business which will establish your business and at the same time you will be making enough money to pay off your bills.
Analyzing and Setting Your Goals
One has to be realistic before starting a business. You obviously cannot achieve the world in one year, so it is very important that you set realistic and attainable goals so that at the end of the year, you don’t end up disappointing yourself. Keeping your finances in mind is another key point that you need to keep in mind. You should be well aware of how much you would be spending and what will be the profit margins out of it.
Apart from other business expenditures, you should be aware of your marketing plans and goals as well. Set your marketing goals in a way that within a year you should be able to reach a good number of your target audience. Again, being realistic is essential because unrealistic goals may seem lucrative but they often lead you a dead end.
Take a good look at your finances and scrutinize them. Only then you would be able to execute your business plans. Create a workflow to achieve these goals within the decided time frame. You will also have to decide upon your budget allocation and spend management i.e. how much spending on each major task. Other than this, you should be able to decide how much money you need to bring back home as your trophy by the end of a year. Also, you should even decide how many projects you should take on hand to be able to complete them timely.
Last but not the least, building up your clientele within a year is also important for future financial prospects. Therefore, set a goal as to how many clients you need to bring into your business. It is entirely up to you to decide ways to go about building up your clientele. You can either serve a few clients or you can keep your options open in order to get more work from bigger companies.
Once you are done with the basics, you should make a solid marketing plan for your photography business. Reaching out to your audiences and branding yourself is very important in order to expand your business. Creating marketing goals and making strategies to achieve them should be on your priority list. It is entirely up to you to choose the platform in order to advertise your business. It could be any medium which is effective and you are comfortable with. However, do remember that you cannot spend a fortune on advertising and marketing only.
You cannot run a ‘one man show’ when it comes to a proper photography business and so analyzing your human resource goals is also important. If you have already been working with a couple of associates as a freelancer, you might have to expand your workforce. This does not mean that you will need to hire a large group of people to work for you but yes; you might need an extra hand or two.
With the passage of time, you should determine if your workforce needs to grow at all. If yes, then you should have a plan about hiring someone and how much you are willing to pay to those resources. Also, if hiring a new resource is worthy for your business or not, should be a part of your plan.
Who Is Your Target Customer?
Before you jump into the flashy world of photography business, you should know what kind of people will opt for your services because then you can actually work on targeting them specifically. Once you are done with deciding your target audience, try to understand their specific requirements and make a plan to reach out to them accordingly. In order for things to work out between you and your target audience, make sure you understand them well and vice versa. Only then you would be able to give them what they really want.
Keep up with the Latest Trends
You might have your style of work but it is important to adapt what is new in the market. When you are planning out a business for an entire year, learn about the trends and limitations you will have to follow to be successful. Look and follow the trends which will increase your demand and try to shed those which won’t. Remember that there is a large pool of competitors out there and your goal is to make your mark among the rest.
An Assortment of Services
In this fast paced world of cut-throat competition, you won’t succeed by offering photography services only. There should be an assortment of services or something you specialize in, for instance; wild life photography, wedding portraits or event photography etc. A client will hire you only if he thinks you will be able to deliver what they need. So you need to think about the product and services you are going to offer. Don’t try to fix in just everything, as it won’t work for you. Offer what you are best at, so that you can deliver the best.
Having a personal blog or website will surely attract a lot of clients your way. It is a great way to display your portfolio. People will not only get to see your work, but they can easily contact you as well. Your website should be able to turn your visitors into your clients.
Having a post-business strategy or business plan is very important especially when it is your first leap into a business venture. I hope that the way I have mentioned these points comprehensively, you will be able to achieve your year-long business plans and can take this plan forward for the many more successful business years to come.