Planning to make that giant leap of faith from enthusiast to working professional? Well congratulations and a heartfelt wish of good luck to you. It is an odd time in our industry. While it has never been easier to enter the market it has never been more difficult to do it at a successful, self sustaining and profitable level. Make no mistake there is a huge gap between running a self sustaining one man shop photography business and running a profitable one that not only nets enough sales to pay the overhead and your salary as a photographer but also has a percentage value of profit left over to put in the bank to improve your economic position in the world and your future as well as leaving a percentage of profit margin to allow you to maintain,grow and expand that same business. Here are some thoughts to consider as you move forward
First off what are you? Are you a photographic specialist known for your portrait style or maybe you are known to shoot products or only weddings, landscapes or Kids. Or are you a general photographer ready to take on any job that comes down the pipe from babies to funerals and everything in between?
With so many topics around the web and the camera store water cooler discussing the bloodletting at the bottom of the market and debating the validity of what constitutes being in business or ones right to function as a sub par business skirting legal formalities and price undercutting and all the other negative crap; I thought perhaps it would be more productive to start this forum off on a more positive note and invest our time and discussion efforts on what we can do to better market ourselves and the steps we can take to become more effective business people.
This sort of ground level evaluation of ones business is a healthy practice and should be a mandatory step in the initial planning of a business as well as an annual effort for existing business endeavors. After all how can we effectively get to where we are going if we don't know where we are or what obstacles may lie in wait for us along the way. So often our friends and families out of their kind hearts actually do us a disservice by over gratifying our work and creating a false sense of accomplishment with it. We may be good at photography but are we really ready to be in the business of photography? That is a question every new and emerging pro must answer for themselves and it is not a simple question to answer.
The article below while not about Photography does a good job at looking at some of the realities of our marketplace that we must identify as well as some real world challenges we have to be prepared to overcome.
If there is any sound byte spinet of advice I could offer an emerging professional about to launch their business it would be this.
Do it right, research your market, know who and what you are competing with, ,ore importantly know who your customer is and who you are not competing with. Never, ever Never compete on price point, let quality of product and service be your selling point not price, someone somewhere will always undercut that price, that is unless that someone IS YOU
Beyond that be realistic in your expectations, do not over extend yourself or bet the family farm on the new business. Get all the proper local and state licenses, tax certifications and insurance required to be a legal business in your market. Unless you have a background in business accounting I strongly recommend working with a good accountant, not just at tax time but through out the year. A good one will keep their finger on the pulse of your business and advise you when making financial decisions for that business or when taking a risk that perhaps the business can not afford or better yet can not afford not to take
The article below has some great strategies and information in it not just for the person new to business but to any business who is trying to keep an accurate picture of the pulse of the business. It breaks down how to determine the market viability of a business and looks at the different competitive classes we must consider as we launch our business and marketing plans.Competitive Marketing Comparison Analysis | Photography Marketing Tips Ideas Free - Social Media Traffic