Many people want to turn their passion for photography into a lucrative business. Some of them succeed, some do not. What is the key difference between these two groups of people? Luck, patronage? No, the reason for success is a cleverly devised business plan. Without it, you are just a wanderer lost in a desert without a map. A business plan will guide you through the process of building your business and will help you ensure that you don’t go over budget while doing so.
So what are the key elements of a proper photography business plan? This is what we are here to find out. We’ll be using an ID photo business as an example, but the steps we are going to discuss will be just as relevant should you choose a different field.
1. Decide on the Legal Structure
Although devoid of any creativity that comes with photography art, this step cannot be skipped. Before you snap your very first shot, you need to decide what type of business you are going to run. Is it going to be a sole proprietorship? Or are you going for a partnership or a limited liability company? Whichever you choose will affect the way you get a permit for your business. And the taxes you pay as well.
2. Asset Your Competition
Assuming that you have already decided on your photography niche – and in our case, it is ID photography – you are already familiar with your target audience. And who is as well? That’s right – our competitors. So it’s time to study them. Learn about their prices, extra services they provide, their chief marketing strategies. Make sure to read people’s reviews of them to make note of mistakes they made that you need to avoid. Find out a way to make your studio stand out – should it be marketing-wise, area-wise, etc.? But do not be tempted to make your prices significantly lower. After all, you want to profit, right?
3. Consider Your Finances
The next crucial element of your business plan for photography is planning your finances. First off, the funding. Consider all the funding sources you can use. Estimate your savings, get a loan in a bank if you need to. Then plan your expenses. Find all the ways you can cut corners without sacrificing the end result. For instance, save money on rent by making your ID photo studio home-based. Ditch expensive and complicated photo editors in favor of more affordable and specialized software like Passport Photo Maker or use an affordable outsourcing service like Fix the Photo. This smart program is packed with auto crop templates for tons of countries and allows you to make perfect ID photos in a matter of minutes.
4. Market Yourself Wisely
So once your studio is set, it’s time to find the best way to draw clientele. Use flyers to promote your studio in the areas your key audience is usually found. If you are renting an office, make sure that your sign is good and visible. Use social media to raise your brand recognition and don’t be shy to ask your friends and relatives to use the fabled word of mouth marketing tactics. Once you build your clientele, consider making your prices flexible for them to keep them loyal to you.
5. Draft a Timeline
No plan will come to fruition if it lacks deadlines. So once you have all the steps planned out, sit down and write them down – to make sure you set the time period or a deadline for each of them. This will motivate you to go through with your plan, since you’ll be time-bound and have no room for hesitation or procrastination. Do not go into much detail, otherwise, you might be scared off by the number of things you have to take care of. Make your plan brief and on the point – only right down the crucial steps you need to take like meeting your bank loan officer or shopping for new lenses. Later on, you might want to use such written plans on a daily basis – they do wonders in terms of keeping people organized.
So now we’ve covered the most crucial elements of any freelance photography business plan. Hopefully, you can now see that starting your own photography business isn’t such a bother if you break it down into several steps. So start working on your plan today to make your dream of becoming a pro photographer a reality.