If you aspire to become a professional photographer, the first step in your career strategy is developing a photography business plan. By developing a solid business plan before you open for business, you can set goals and define milestones for the future of your photography business.
Your business plan will not only give you a cohesive vision for your future success, but it will also serve as your business resume for potential investors, partners, or employees.
In this article, we will discuss what a business plan is, the best way to get started in the photography industry, and how to create your photography business plan.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan is an essential road map that will lead you to success as a business owner. It’s a document that details everything about your business.
In its simplest form, it details what your business aim is and how you plan to make it succeed. Key elements of a basic business plan should include projected milestones and a financial outlook, besides listing who your target audience is.
It should also include an outline of your budget, to reflect cash flow and expenses.
Seven Business Plan Elements
Business plans can come in a variety of styles and formats, but there are some standard guidelines for constructing one that works. We have listed the seven elements of a business plan below.
An executive summary in a business plan is the pitch and tagline. Think about how you’d describe your business to a client; this description is the executive summary.
Present the executive summary in the most streamlined and concise way possible.
Often the executive summary is written after all the details of the business have been researched and explored. Waiting to write the executive summary until the end will make sure you approach it with all the most important information in hand.
The business description outlines all the details of your business, including your business story. The business description is how you will connect with your target audience and build a client base.
This section requires creativity, insight, and research. Some elements that are included in a business description are:
- Service or product detail
- Describe business operations
- Mission statement
- Business model
- Geographic location
This section will describe findings related to your target audience and illustrate why your business will make money. It will also include information about the service you offer and who your competitors are.
The market analysis section should highlight your target audience and describe why they will choose you over the competitor.
The organization management section provides detailed information about who is involved in your business. It’s okay if you are the only person in this section.
Provide any information that confirms your qualifications for the role you are in. This is the section you sell yourself as a business owner.
The sales strategies segment of a business plan lists the pricing schema. It defines how your business will make money. If you will be using any marketing or promotional strategies in your business, be sure to detail what you plan to do in this section.
Remember that SEO and social media qualify as marketing strategies. Place any plans to reach your audience via these methods in this section.
If you are seeking investors, this is where you will ask for the money needed to begin business operations. If you are not seeking outside investors, this is a good section to gain clarity on how much everything involved with your business will cost.
Be specific and list everything that will cost money.
This will help you determine the amount of capital that will be needed to begin your business. It will also help you establish revenue goals.
The financial forecast section is a fact-based estimate analysis of the expected growth of a company. You can find this information by researching current market trends and your target audience.
With this information in place, you can also list your sales strategies. This section provides a good guideline for when you will earn money.
As a professional photographer, learn to market yourself and your photography business. By developing a photography business plan, you can move steadily toward your career goals.
Before you jump into creating your photography business plan, there are ways you can prepare yourself. Here’s how to plant the seeds as an aspiring professional photographer.
Every day you put off developing your photography business plan is a day you are neglecting your business and hindering its success. Set a date for the completion of your finished business plan and stick to it.
A photography business plan requires a lot of research. Gather information on your competitors and your target audience. Compile a wealth of information about these groups, to better understand the market you are working in.
Consider contacting your city or county agencies and gathering demographic information specific to your area. Find out what other photographers in your area are charging for their services.
Research opportunities online and in your community to better sell your services.
If you already have clients, elicit their opinions and testimonials about your products and services. Find out from real people how you can make your business more appealing to clients.
If clients have good things to say, ask if you can feature their comments on your website.
How to Create a Photography Business Plan
Now you know the basics and you are ready to get started on your photography business plan. Let’s discuss what information to put into it.
Your photography business plan will follow the outline of a standard business plan and include the following information:
Your Professional Persona
Your photography business contains who you are, where you are located, and any other relevant information about yourself and your business.
Your branding strategy will highlight how you will brand your photography business.
Genre of Photography
Your photography business plan will contain information about the photographs you take. It also contains the settings and/or events you specialize in.
Ideal Client Description
Describe who you envision yourself selling your work to. What is this client like? What type of person are they? Why are they your client?
Target Demographic Description
Target demographic statistics take information about your ideal client and place it in business terms. Once you identify who your ideal client is, research their buying behavior and what the demand is for your photography services from this demographic.
Include this information in your photography business plan.
In the competitor’s description, include the pricing of your competitors and how you will beat those prices. It might include your marketing strategies and why your marketing strategies are superior to the competition.
This section should also provide information about a competitor’s sales, to show the demand for photography services in your niche. Include any research you’ve compiled about your competitors and list it in this section of your business plan.
What Makes Your Business Desirable
Write about the best elements of your business and why it will be successful.
Hours Devoted to Photography Per Week
Include your business schedule within your photography business plan. List the hours you intend to devote to your business in this section, to help you set and stick to goals.
What Your Daily Routine Looks Like
Plan what your daily operations will look like. If you are already open for business, just list what your routine looks like.
If you are in the humble beginning phases of business, add structure to your days by identifying what you’ll do every day.
List your prices. Get as specific as you can with pricing. Research your competitors’ pricing, to get a better idea of the trending market rates.
Use your research and analysis to determine how much you predict your business will make per month. Extend this prediction into the future, for three to five years.
Operation Costs Per Month
Calculate how much money it will cost you to run your photography business. It’s good to nickel and dime in this case; every penny counts.
Make sure your budget will cover the expenses so you will have enough money to keep your business running smoothly.
Provide information about how you plan to reach your clients and outline what methods will be used to gain support and interest in your business.
Description of Your Advisors
When you start your own business, it’s important to consider the basic components of an advisory team. If you have an accountant and/or a legal team, mention them in your photography business plan.
Starting your own business takes a lot of work and determination. It can take a long time before results take place.
Developing your business plan will help you streamline your thoughts, focus on your goals, and stay determined to accomplish them. By having a solid plan in place, you will have a guideline to track your progress and stay inspired.
It is also useful for tracking unsuccessful strategies and brainstorming new ideas. Sometimes, developing a business plan can be a beneficial way to determine if having your own business is even realistic.
Keep in mind, as your business develops, your business plan will change. By taking the time to write your photography business plan, you are efficiently organizing your business strategy and outlining the future success of your business.