The Reality of the New Photography Business Model

A business model is a written description of how a business makes money. It is a broad overview of how a business creates and delivers its products and/or services. It can be broken down by market segment, location, pricing, competition, strategy, and financial planning. Perhaps the most important part of a business model is the Customer Value Proposition – a strong customer value proposition means your product or service helps to solve a problem or provide a benefit. The CVP needs to be clearly described because of its importance in the framework of a business model (Bloomberg Business Week, February 7, 2009). Every photography business should have a written business model that utilizes all seven components; it will provide a road-map for its success.

Recently, the photography business model has evolved with the development of digital cameras and the internet. The sudden increase of new photographers entering the profession has also resulted in the transformation of the entire business. With more competition, prices have crept downwards; new strategies have emerged to keep a business afloat. Niche markets have emerged as a means to focus on a narrower segment of the population. Reaching out to customers has changed dramatically with the advent of social network marketing. The internet has changed the way photographers market. For example, snail mail is no longer the preferred method of contacting new clients. Digital cameras and Photoshop have spawned new, innovative products, which could not have been imagined twenty years ago. Along with the increased variety of novel products, the delivery of products themselves has also changed. The photography business once operating in a studio or retail location can now be successfully managed as a home studio, on location, at customers’ homes, or as a hybrid. The changes in the photography business model are apparent in all seven components.

Perhaps the most profound effect on the photography business model has been the digital camera. The explosion of the availability of digital cameras to the masses has resulted in many new people joining the ranks of the professional photographer. As a result, the market has become highly saturated Just look in any area now and you will find dozens of photographers advertising their services. Added to this onslaught are the folks who have lost their jobs due to the recession, and have become overnight photographers. With more photographers spread out, it is more important now than ever to specialize and develop a USP. The adage “being everything to everyone” is no longer a viable business model. Diversification is still important; however, be sure that you still diversify to a degree so you can have multiple income streams. The key to being well-positioned in a photography business is to focus on creating value for a narrow audience and create unique, signature products for your market segment. Choosing a niche market will create more value and desire for a product line and ultimately more revenue. In summary, the digital camera has changed the photography business model from a general to a more specific market.

The internet has affected nearly all business, and the photography industry is no exception. First of all, the internet has changed how photographers communicate with customers. Everything from online scheduling to email marketing has drastically altered how photographers contact new clients. More traditional forms of marketing, are being replaced with social network marketing, emails, and websites. As the outdated mode of marketing becomes less effective, photographers need be educated on the new strategies of using the internet to get their word out. Becoming well-versed in internet communications using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs is a critical component of the new business model. Second, the internet has changed how products are delivered. Online previews are becoming more common in the photography industry. However, photographers should think very carefully about adopting this as a part of their business model. Forgoing the one- on-one contact of an intimate sales environment can dampen sales. Nonetheless, there are two schools of thought on this matter. One group believes they are saving time by having the sales process automated online and can therefore concentrate on what they do best – SHOOTING PHOTOS. The other group believes selling comes first and photography comes second. The emotional ambience that can captivate customers during a photography sales session, in which one uses numerous selling techniques, cannot be replicated on the internet. It has been proven that photographers who sell by projection make more money (PPA Benchmark Study 2006). The two foregoing examples illustrated aspects of the photography business model that have changed rapidly in recent years.

A photography business model can certainly vary, as each business has its own set of circumstances that will govern how their model should be established. What it ultimately comes down to, however, is how a person wants to run their business. Everyone wants to make money, but for some the passion of photography is the most important goal. Consequently, every business model can and should be different to reflect the personal inclinations of the photographer.

Mary Buck is an established photographer in her community, but her love of photography began years ago when she entered college. After college, she doodled with landscape photography, black & whites, portraits, and stock photography while she worked full-time in the corporate world. As a way to fulfill her creative passion, she opened a portrait studio in 1995. Lightscapes Photographic Artwork, is located in Duluth, Georgia, just two blocks from her house.

Mary is renowned for her down-to-earth business sense. A few years ago, she noticed that the photography industry was being inundated with new photographers, eager to learn the business, so she began to mentor in 2009. That led to workshops and educational materials on the business of portrait photography.

Some Points About Opening a New Business

Starting your own business can be a terrifying and overwhelming thought yet it can also be an adventurous and successful experience. Opening your own business can provide the individual with a sense of freedom, independence, and faith in ones own abilities. People start their own businesses for many reasons; some are made redundant and decide to try and start their own business, others may just want to convert their hobby or the thing that interests them the most into a business. Whatever the reason, one this is certain, it will be a lot of work and does require patience, courage, fortitude, and faith. An individual who is planning on starting their own business should be aware of a few things before taking the dive into independence.

First the potential business owner should consider on the location for the new venture. Will the business need a physical location or is an Internet presence sufficient? Do I need to rent a real store, or an online one? Depending on the type of business and the clientele, the business owner will need to decide what type of location is best for the business.

The new owner will need to look at outside services such as an accountant or lawyer. Having your own business entails great responsibility. You will need to take care of all the financial and legal obligations of the business. This includes filing specific tax documents for businesses, charters, and other governmental issues. It is best to take care of all these before starting the business as the owner may become overwhelmed once the business takes off. Also one should clarify any regulations that may inhibit the business owner from opening and running a certain type of business. For example, opening an architecture business will require certain proof of capability and education.

Another issue is the small aspects that will ensure the business keeps running. One small bit is the software needed. A new business owner is most likely going to need financial or accounting software to keep track of the daily business transactions. If the potential business will maintain a lot of documents then the proper backup software will be needed to ensure customers’ records and other important business documents are properly stored and safe from possible downtime.

The next notion a potential business owner should think of is forms of advertising. A new business has the problem of not being known to its potential customers. The main question is how will customers purchase your products or services if they cant find you. Depending on the product or service offered the right marketing media is a must. Some forms include Internet, newspaper, or TV adds. Each form does have its own price and the business owner will need to consider which one fits to the budget.

Every Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur Should Know This

America prides itself on the entrepreneurial spirit. Consequently, small business owners are increasingly becoming major key economic stimulators. When a small business owner decides to incorporate his or her business, that small business owner has just begun the process of creating a brand new and separate entity. Basic business law dictates that a corporation is a “separate and distinct legal entity having its own privileges and liabilities distinct from those of its member.”

Given this information, it then becomes essential and relevant that small business owners develop and maintain a unique and separate business profile. Every small business can and should establish their business credit. Just as it is important to maintain a personal credit profile, the same care, if not more, is needed to maintain a business profile.

The rules and regulations that govern business credit are totally different that the rules that govern your personal credit. Furthermore, the advantages as well as the necessities are apparent to some and not to others.

With the opportunities provided by government agencies, whether local or national, small business owners should be aware that an established business profile is valuable and necessary when partnering with the government for contracts and other ventures.

Additionally, limiting or avoiding personal liability is another key factor why a small business owner needs to be aware of and develop his or her business profile history. Purchasing goods or services under the name of a properly structured business entity can possibly afford the owner or owners some personal protection if the business finds itself in a position of litigation or debt.

The long term gain of a properly maintained business credit profile can afford the small business owner with better financing terms. A financial institution today will usually take into consideration a company’s business credit profile when making business loan decisions. This can also assist in receiving S.B.A. backed loans. Additionally, retailers and vendors can offer great revolving terms or net terms all based on your company’s business credit history.

As a result, when possible, attempt to do business with companies that report your payments to the business credit agencies. This can be a huge plus in developing your corporate credit profile.

Another aspect associated with establishing and maintaining a business credit profile comes in the form of creditability. As well as appearing legitimate to the banks, suppliers or vendors that you do business with, your business credibility can be scrutinized and looked over by individuals as well.

More and more individuals are willing to explore a small businesses’ credibility by actually reviewing the company’s business credit history. This gives information such as – How long has the company been in business. Are they paying their bills on time? Does this company have any judgments or liens against them that the individual should be made aware of?

For example, Joe Smith can take a look at ABC Roof and Repair Inc, and find out if any judgments or liens were ever placed against the company for possible faulty work. This can be a valuable tool when deciding to choose a contractor for major projects.