The Art Of Strategy

Before I started to look at my business strategy I searched the internet for any helpful advice regarding photography businesses.

In an article by breathingcolor.com – 5 Keys of a successful photography business strategy I condensed the information to these main points:

  • Have a clear product/price list. Clients need a clear idea of what’s available to them and how much it costs. Time is money – your prices need to reflect everything that goes on in the background. Hard costs are easy to calculate. Investment of human time in product creation, marketing, and selling the work must also be incorporated into product price in order to operate profitably. Photographers make money when they are taking and selling pictures. Overlooking the time spent interviewing clients, editing, presenting work, post processing, retouching, printing, framing, assembling albums, updating social media and marketing easily translates into long hours for low profit. Build a team. Outsource. Focus on working profitably.
  • Quality – You have to offer a service and product that they can’t make themselves. Be the best you can, your art has to stand out and be worth the price you put on it. Key points in developing visually distinctive imagery are education and practice. Impactful presentation of visually distinctive imagery builds perceived value.

    Where and how clients see your work is integral to how they perceive the value of it.

    The higher the price, the more image marketing contributes to perceived value. For instance, one expects Costco to be cheap and Neiman Marcus, expensive. The compared visual appeal of each store is image marketing, from the brick and mortar environment to the ads placed in magazines. Develop your image marketing to reflect what you do in an appealing manner to your studio’s target market.

  • Network the target market – To attract your target market you have to know everything about them – where do they live, what’s their job, their hobbies etc. Then direct you marketing around these things. Re-marketing, look at how your competitors advertise, if it’s solely through social media then do something different like a physical mailing piece
  • Creative Implementing of incoming technologies – Stay up to date with technology updates and systems, are there any that you can use that will save you time and money.
  • Reputation for quality & service – The perfect outcome for this would be: The client enjoying the experience, feeling satisfied that they received what they expected and at a price they perceived as good value. They are looking forward to their next session with you and are eager to talk about it with family, friends and social media which could lead to more bookings.

Find ways of servicing clients that make them feel special during the time they spend with you. Follow up with a personal note, an email, a text – whatever is appropriate for your target market and be sure to include them in future advertising.

Deliver what is expected, or a little bit more, on time and in good condition.

Handle complaints promptly and in a manner that is fair to both parties. Be professional in all aspects of the business. Be ethical and honest. Never deliver a job that is less than your best.

 

MY STRATEGIC PLAN

In preparation for my proposal I have worked through these activities to build a strategic plan.

WHERE AM I NOW?

Strengths – Providing a good service, enjoyable experience and receiving consistent positive feedback, client referrals, good position in Google searches

Weaknesses – Marketing & social media, need to earn more and work less hours, offering too many services, I’m not producing the quality of work that I want to be.

Opportunities – Not aware of any opportunities at the moment

Threats – Other photographers providing the same service in the same area as me

What are my creative strengths?

  • I offer a bespoke service, open to ideas from clients and can work to a theme or brief.
  • Trained in newborn posing
  • Member of BANPAS, photography association for newborn & baby photographers
  • Experienced in Photoshop & Lightroom

Which strengths create value for my clients?

  • Bespoke photography & editing service creating unique images

Does this value translate into what I’m making?

Yes

 

What do I perceive to be my number one weakness?

Marketing to my ideal client

How can I best mitigate that weakness?

Research and get marketing advice

What other weaknesses need immediate attention in order to give my plan the best chance at success?

Focus and improve on the services that I have invested extra time and money in that I enjoy the most – Newborn & Wedding. Pricing for my ideal client and increasing my prices so that I can work fewer hours

What is the action plan for these weaknesses?

Get help with my marketing and enter competitions to try to receive awards. If I can advertise my services as ‘Award Winning’ I will be able to justify increasing my prices to the level of other local award-winning photographers. Only advertise the services that I want to be doing, try and filter out the ones I don’t enjoy.

What opportunities haven’t I considered?

  • Approaching local companies that are in the baby or wedding industry to discuss a referral scheme
  • Advertising my business (outside of social media)
  • Exposure – local papers, leaflets etc

What opportunities do my competitors seem to be capitalizing on?

  • Better exposure
  • Professional videos advertising their business
  • Referrals with other companies
  • Networking & building relationships

What are the 2 or 3 opportunities that back up my plan of action?

  • Enter competitions to try to gain an award
  • Contact local newspapers and enquire about a feature
  • Approach local companies to discuss a referral scheme

 

What are the threats to my plan?

  • That I don’t win any awards
  • More photographers locally start offering newborn photography and increase my competition
  • That I have to keep offering the services that I don’t enjoy so that I can cover my expenses – studio rent etc
  • I struggle to find clients
  • I get injured and can’t work

Out of the potential threats – what are the top 3 that could affect my business the most?

  • More photographers locally start offering newborn photography and increase my competition
  • I struggle to find clients
  • I get injured and can’t work

What is the worst case scenario?

  • I get injured and can’t work…..but hopefully that won’t happen! 😀

 

SMART

SMART objectives

Objectives for the next 12 months

  • Attend workshops to improve my photography & Photoshop skills
  • Enter competitions
  • Find ways to market my business outside of social media
  • Earn more – work less

Strategies & Tactics 

  • Attend workshops – Improve my skills. learn about fine art photography and what’s required by judges for competitions
  • Enter competitions – Look at past winners, get constructive criticism, find out what I can do to improve
  • Find ways to market my business outside of social media – local publications, galleries, Other platforms like LinkedIn, networking events
  • Earn more – work less. Try and reduce the preparation time before & editing time after shoots. Look at my packages, can I change anything to make more of a profit. Improve my IPS (In-person sales) when clients come to view their photos aim to up-sell, wall art etc. Adjust my pricing system in comparison to local photographers that offer the same service that I do.