Novice photographers and aspiring photography students underestimate the importance of photography business plan, cost analysis, and marketing plan. All these elements are indispensable to be successful in the business of photography as in any other type of business.
The purpose of this guide is to help you identify the steps and considerations you should have when designing and setting up your photography business. This guide isn’t intended to replace the consultation of a professional in the field; however, it is certainly an excellent resource to start your journey of starting a business in photography.
Importance of Writing a Photography Business Plan
Not having a well-defined business plan is like driving a car to a destination without using a map or GPS system. You think and trust that you will reach your final destination, but you lack a real indicator that can show the route of your journey if you are really going in the right direction.
Elements of a Business Plan
Creating a photography business plan doesn’t have to be a complicated task. You can achieve a complete and effective one if you ensure you include the following key elements:
Vision and Mission Statements
The mission of a company is a lasting statement of the object, purpose or reason of being the company. Unlike the vision, the mission statement answers to the question ‘What is our reason for being?’ while the vision answers to the question ‘What do you want to be?’
A good company mission must be clear, concrete, motivating and possible. Ask yourself the following 3 important questions in this regard;
What is your reason for being?
What is your dream as a company?
Why will you be the best in the world?
Answering to these questions will help you identify how you want your photography business to be in the next few years. There are few elements that could help you in this regard such as defining the field or market where you operate, which niche you will serve, and type of experience you want your customers to experience when receiving your products and/or services.
Stages of Achievement
The long-term and intermediate-term goals aren’t achieved overnight. So it’s very important to know and set intermediate and short term goals. You must define short-term achievements that will help you stay on track and always close the gap between the present and the future destination.
To establish your photography marketing plan, the first thing to do is to have clearly identified the following:
Whom you specifically serve
Who your customers are
Your customers’ age and gender
Depending on your market you might have a few more points to consider.
Then you must define how you will contact these customers i.e., where they live, what places they visit, what organisations they belong to, where they buy, where they gather, which magazines they read, how you will present your business to the potential customers as an attractive choice and what makes you different from your competitors.
By answering these questions, you can define your market strategy and what potential means you have at your fingertips.
Prices & Cash Flow Plan
Establishing a cash flow plan is vital. Many photographers who start their companies see themselves sooner or later living from project to project and never leave the financial hole. This is because they didn’t establish a cash flow plan and correct prices. Creating a cash flow plan is not difficult as you can start by estimating the annual or monthly expenses of your business. With this calculation, you can forecast the minimum amount of cash you need to sustain. Knowing this, you can establish with certainty the price of your products and/or services correctly.
I hope this guide will serve you and encourage you to begin the process of defining your business plan and start your day on the right foot. I recommend that you review your photography business plan at least once a year, and you can evaluate the progress you have made and make the necessary adjustments.