Why is writing a photography business plan important?
I remember looking at this same list when I first started my business. I was very overwhelmed and thought, “No way do I need to think about all of that right now. I’ll figure some of it out along the way.” I wrote a small business plan, but kept it very basic. Now, I wish I would have at least given it much more thought and reflection. It would have given me insights into how to plan out my business and grow it effectively.
The best metaphor I can give is the house example. If you were to build your dream house, would you say the same thing to yourself? For those of you who have built a house, you know the time and effort it takes to see it completed until the end, just the way you planned it out. You would not take the chance that you leave something out or you don’t think through a detail in designing your house. You need to write a complete business plan from the beginning in order to have a solid growth path for your business.
What is a business plan?
This will be your designs for your business, as you would design a house. It certainly doesn’t have to get down to the minor details, such as the handles that go on your drawers. It references the major structures of your business and what your plans are for the business now and long-term.
According to the US Small Business Association, there are 8 articles that make up an official business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization & Management
- Service or Product Line
- Marketing & Sales
- Funding Request
- Financial Projections
Does it really have to be so formal?
Yes and no. Yes if you are planning on taking this to the bank to get a loan. A lot of them require a business plan as part of the application process. For most photography businesses, the business plan may be just a few pages long. The simple exercise of putting thought and planning into these concepts is really more important than the formality.
What if aspects of my business change?
Despite what you may think, a business plan is meant to change with your business! Just as with designing a house, you will have to modify the plans if you change your mind or if something forces you to change them. It changes right along with your business and will continue to act as a roadmap as long as your business exists.
This all seems so confusing. Isn’t there something simpler?
Yes! I have come up with a basic business plan, especially tailored for photographers. It based off the SBA’s articles, but slimmed down and catered for the small business photographer. You can purchase it here!
Now that I have it written, what do I do with it?
Of course, if you are planning on going to apply for a loan to start up your business, this document is a must! In the meantime, keep it in a safe place, but somewhere easily accessible. You want to be able to reference it or change it easily and quickly, if need be. It’s a good reminder to keep you on track with the original plans for your business.
There will be a series of blog posts discussing the other aspects of designing your photography dream house. They include the following topics: