1. Business

The Perfect Time to Do a Business Plan – NOW!

The Perfect Time to Do a Business Plan – NOW!

Intro by Skip Cohen

The Joy of Marketing is Sarah Petty’s blog and it’s filled with great content. I discovered another gem recently while taking a scroll through her archives.

For most of you it’s still “slow season,” but as I’ve written so many times before, just because business is slow, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can be doing to build a stronger business!

This post on the importance of a business plan is perfect to consider right now. Most of you fly by the seat of your pants on and off all year long. What good is working to create the finest images of your life if you don’t have a plan to get your work out there?

Having a business plan helps you stay focused on what’s important to your success, and to Sarah shares some very specific reasons why your growth is depending on having a plan!

By Sarah Petty

A photography business plan is crucial to your success. And it’s never too late to create one!

While I’m a firm believer of continuously going back to the photography business plan you put together at the beginning of the year, I’m a realist and know that many of us filed it away. Or maybe we started it, but just didn’t finish it. Life gets in the way, right? We have bills to pay and clients to service.

So the good news, if you didn’t write a photography business plan at the beginning of the year, it’s ok. You can start a plan any day of the year. It doesn’t have to be January 1. And that plan doesn’t have to be a 10 page or even 100-page exercise. You can do it in a few hours.

Start with an excel spreadsheet.

Divvy up the different segments of your business from which your revenue comes. And set goals of how much revenue you want to gain from each of those segments in the next 6 months.

Then break it down a step farther. How will you get that revenue? What does your average sale need to be? What products can get you to that average sale? Is that average sale achievable based on where you are now? How many clients do you need? And finally, how are you going to get those clients? What promotions will you run? What marketing materials will you develop? How many charities will you donate to?  See, it’s easier than you thought!

Here are 3 good reasons why a photography business plan is imperative to your growth and will save you countless hours in the next 6 months.

1) It Helps You Say “No”

When you have clearly defined on paper where you want to go in your business and what you want to achieve (I want to grow the newborn part of my business to gross sales of $200,000 this year by working with 100 clients at a $2,000 average sale), it’s so much easier to say no to things that don’t fit into your photography business plan.

This doesn’t mean just saying no to others, this also means saying no to yourself when you come up with shiny new ideas that don’t fit into your photography business plan. So rather than feeling guilty for not having a good reason to say no other than that it just doesn’t feel right, your photography business plan provides support that shows you how certain activities really aren’t going to get you where you want to be.

Why spend time doing things that don’t help you achieve your goals?

2) It Shows You How Far You’ve Come

When you are head down, going 1000 mph, it’s hard to see how far your business has come over the last 6 months. You lose perspective.

I liken it to my 16-year-old brother. Now that I live in Texas, I only see him a few times a year. Each time I see him, it feels like he’s grown 2 feet! But if I lived in Illinois, I’d see him every day and his growth wouldn’t seem so remarkable. Your photography business plan helps you see where you were at the beginning of the year and the successes you’ve experienced due to your hard work. What more motivation do you need?

3) It Shows You Where You Need to Go

At the same time, there may be some areas of your business where you haven’t been as successful as you’d hoped. Maybe you planned to break into a new market and see a substantial amount of revenue from this market and instead growth has been slower than expected. Seeing this proof of what isn’t working is an incentive to rework your plan and keeps you from spinning your wheels on activities that aren’t meeting your goals.

You can do this in a few hours, I promise. If you just put your mind to it, your photography business can thrive!