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Benchmark.pngBenchmarks are exactly what they sound like--marks or measurements that help evaluate performance.  If you've had a check-up in the last year, your doctor probably gave you a benchmark for healthy cholesterol or blood pressure.  By comparing your numbers to that benchmark, you immediately know whether you're healthy or could use a little improvement.  PPA benchmarks work in a very similar way, only they can help you measure the health of your business.  

PPA accountants analyze photographers' finances (through Benchmark Surveys) to come up with those benchmarks--financial targets you should work toward for more profitability. And they are critically important for a number of reasons:

  • You can't grow your business until you understand where you are (and fix anything that's ailing). PPA benchmarks give you key performance indicators to help you isolate the most important facets of your financial performance.

  • Your doctor wouldn't make the best decisions if he tried to compare you to a 15-year-old.  The same goes for your finances--it doesn't make sense to compare a photography studio to a law firm or a restaurant.  Even though small businesses share many common challenges, photography studios need to stack their financial measurements against other photography studios' finances to see more clearly where they can improve and grow.  And we're not talking about just one or two other photographers--you need to consider how you're performing against an average or range from many studios. PPA benchmarks allow you to do just that.

  • PPA benchmarks give you targets for planning.  Once you've looked at specific performance indicators from your business compared to hundreds of other studios, you'll have a much better idea of the changes you need to make to cut costs and increase profitability.
Ready to head toward a healthier business? Check out PPA's free Benchmark resources to get started!

  • Review all the current PPA benchmark reports and tools. PPA is the only organization that provides Benchmark analysis and resources, so PPA members can have a competitive edge just by using the resources.

  • Participate in the 2011 Benchmark Survey (and possibly win some great prizes).

  • Check out "The PPA Business Handbook," which just won the 2011 Gold Service Journalism Award from the Magazine Association from the Southeast! This is your primer for building a healthy, profitable studio with expert advice and real-world examples based on the Benchmark Survey findings.


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