So you’re setting up, or expanding your photography business and you’re about to sit down and write that all important ‘business plan’ that’ll ensure your success…
The problem with this is that 90% of photography business plans I see from students are either missing a few critical elements, or are totally focused on the wrong things.
In this article I’ll explain 3 key points your business plan should cover, followed by a couple of mistakes I see over and over.
I won’t be going over all the basic stuff that everyone does, that’s a little more like goal setting anyway… such as “I want to earn $X”, “I want to work X hours each week”, or “I want X clients per week”.
So enough of this time wasting in the intro! Lets dig in!…
Key #1 – Pick Your Niche / Niches
It’s an indisputable fact that people who specialize in any industry earn more money because people are always willing to pay more for a specialist.
A dermatologist (skin specialist) makes a heck of a lot more than your local GP (general practitioner), for very good reason – He or she has a very specific set of skills that a GP simply doesn’t have.
So why be a photographer when you can be a wedding photographer?…
Why be a wedding photographer when you can be a beach wedding photographer?
Any bride getting married on the beach is going to be instantly drawn to you, and likely willing to pay a premium for your skill!
Spend some time brainstorming these smaller niches that you can become the top level specialist in.
You don’t have to pick just one specialty, but it’s best to start out with just one or two, and add more in down the road, but remember it’s better to focus more time on few, than less time on many!
Key #2 – Define Your Target Market
This is a mistake most photographers make… never thinking about exactly who they want to target.
Figuring this out allows you to fine tune all your advertising and get MUCH better results.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Male or female?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What other interests do they have?
- Do they visit online forums? (which ones?)
So a wedding photography might answer:
Females aged 21-35 who live in London are interested in wedding dresses, wedding venues, florists and visit dreamwedding.com forums.
This gives you valuable information that’ll help you pinpoint your prospects with any advertising you do, which leads me to my next point…
Key #3 – Pinpoint How You’ll Get In Front Of That Target Market
So, now you know exactly who you want to target, you need to figure out how the heck you’ll target them.
Will you use:
- Facebook page
- Facebook ads
- Google Adwords (or other pay per click network)
- Brochures or flyers in the mail
- Newspaper or magazine ads
- Patnerships with other businesses
- Frisbee’s with your name on
Ok, the last one was a joke… but it could work if you had the right target market 😉
Coming up with new, creative ways to get in front of the eyes of your target market is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your photography business, so make this on an ongoing process.
Trap #1 – Becoming A Better Photographer
This is super common so don’t worry if you’ve done this before…
Often photographers plan to take certain courses to help improve their skills as a photographer.
It’s fantastic to want to get better, and it comes with time, practice and ongoing learning through books, courses and other photographers, but it can be a huge problem as part of a photography business plan.
Firstly, because it can stifle the growth process since it puts you in the “I’ll do XYZ thing to get more clients AFTER I’ve finished my ABC course”.
Secondly, and most importantly is that it won’t get you more clients, OR allow you to charge more.
It’s extremely rare that any prospect will ask what courses you’ve done. All they care about are your results.
So, take these courses for yourself… NOT because you hope it’ll help to boost the success of your business.
Trap #2 – A Focus On ‘Being Pretty’
You’re a photographer… you’re creative and artistic, I get it!
BUT, focusing on making things look really pretty like your website, business card, logo and brochures can cost a whole lot and suck away a bunch of time that could have been better invested in finding clients and working on marketing techniques that will actually yield results!
So many togs get caught up in their logo design, or other aesthetic ‘enhancements’ because it makes them look professional and impressive to friends and family.
It’s certainly something you can put some effort into down the line, but don’t let it bog you down!
If you want to achieve success in your photography business, focus your plan on the marketing and these 2 basic questions…
Who is your target audience?
How can you speak to that audience?
So Get Going!
Your photography business plan isn’t set in stone! It should be reviewed and changed every 2-3 months to make sure you’re on track, or to make changes that you couldn’t foresee when writing it.
Use these keys and avoid the traps while writing your own plan, and it’ll put you a couple of steps ahead of your competition and help to ensure your success in the wonderful world of photography!
Please leave your comment or question below and let me know what goes into YOUR photography business plan, and how has it helped you?