It’s not too late to succeed!
It is NOT too late to get your biz on the right path for success!
When it comes to business you hear people say it all the time: plan, plan plan. Well of course! You decide and plan to do something. But what does that really entail?
Think about it: planning is a very routine process that all of us do daily. Grocery shopping. Chores. Getting ready to leave the house. We are constantly identifying what needs to be done, formulating a plan and then acting.
Take for example the process of identifying when it is time to do laundry.
You’re sitting at your computer, as we small business owners are doing on a daily basis, when you realize either: (a) I have no pants on, (b) I stink, or (c) Your kids/significant other asks when you’re going to get out of pajamas…. all of those may be a result of having no clean laundry.
It happens. No judgment. (At least you’ve probably showered before getting back to work right?)
You then look past Photoshop and see a large mound of clothes. At that moment you identify what needs to be done: Laundry. Next, you make a plan to gather it up, sort by colors and whites (if that is your thing, maybe not). Then you jam the clothes into the washer as full as you can (efficiency, right?), add the soap, and turn on the water. You acted. Awesome. See? You identified a need. Made a plan. Then acted on it. Wasn’t that hard, huh? (Note: I didn’t say you enjoyed it!)
You’re thinking……. I know how to do laundry…how does this really play into my photography business?
I’m so glad you asked!
#1 Identify why having a business plan is important
Having a business plan can be super fun – or it can be totally boring. For creative types – we often aren’t a fan of the business planning. Most small business owners begin with an idea and dive right in – photographers are no different. It is super important that you pause for a second and really take in the importance of having a business plan.
Writing a business plan is important because writing it down is so much more clear than keeping it in your head. Imagine this: when you go to photograph a session – you have all these ideas running through your head. How often do you go to shoot and forget to capture a certain perspective or set up because you didn’t write it down? Daily and routine business planning and process are the exact same way.
Without a map, you will get lost on this road of business.
Some reasons you may have for needing a business plan:
- I get overwhelmed if I don’t write it out
- It’s all in my head but is jumbled
- Writing it out makes it easier to accomplish tasks
#2 Figure out what you have to gain from a business plan
Whether seasoned or new, photographers that commit to drafting a business plan and pairing it with routine reevaluations often find that they are spurred on with new ideas and strategies that drive their business closer to success.
In an industry where there is a relatively low barrier to entry – (read: I hear all the time how “saturated” areas are with photographers – hello! all areas are now!) we must do even more to set ourselves apart. Not with pricing. Not with logos. Not with branding. And maybe (although some will argue) not even with our photography.
How we run our businesses is what sets us apart and is what will bring us gain. Here are some examples of “gains” you may want to include in your plan:
- Increase profit by $XX per sale (or make a profit this year)
- Gain X referrals out of every paid client
- Convert XX% of inquiries to paid clients
- Gain XXXX reputation in the community
- Insert your desired gain here
#3 Actually write the business plan – but make it simpler!
Guess what – throw that long business plan that you may have learned about in business classes in school.
SAY WHAT? Yup. Let’s get a bit more manageable and real. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A “GRADE A” PLAN TO SUCCEED. You just need to have a plan that will help you succeed. See the difference?
Once you go through the strategic processes of sketching out success you can work your way back into a plan. Many of you have a plan in your head and just need a push to get it down on paper!
Start small and get larger – don’t try to write all at once!
- What are my yearly session goal numbers?
- What are your profit numbers for the year?
- What do I want to be known for?
- Do my clients come back to me? Do I want them to?