By James Yates
You already have the art of photography down, but is your business where you'd like it to be? If you find yourself wanting to learn how to boost your bottom line, the new PPA Business Challenge is for you! The Business Challenge provides photography business owners with the information and tools they need to develop the foundation for a more profitable business over the course of one year. Not only do they receive the tools required to make changes to their business, but also step-by-step instruction and support from PPA mentors as they implement these changes.
We all know that photographers are entrepreneurs, small business owners with a passion for their craft. We also know that many photographers open their studios as artists, more often than not, not having gone to business school, nor carrying a finance background. It is part of PPA's mission, as a nonprofit, to help our members understand and implement the basic business principles needed to maintain a sustainable studio. The Business Challenge is meant to be a fun, interactive way for PPA members to integrate as much business acumen as they can in one year's time. There is work involved, as this "challenge" is meant for photographers who are serious about wanting to take their business to the next level. Participants will have tasks to complete and the opportunity to be active members of accountability groups and peer-to-peer mentoring. "PPA's business advice is based on years of experience and successful business mentoring," says Angela Kurkian, Director of Education at PPA. "The new Business Challenge will help our members be more business-confident. It will help them think and strategize as a savvy business person."
Kurkian began brainstorming the concept of the Business Challenge over two years ago and
an earlier form of the program debuted as the "Studio Makeover Challenge" at this year's Imaging USA in Atlanta. When she started noticing the average photographer needed business help, Kurkian knew it would be a difficult road for many members but she asks everyone keep one question in mind: 'How does change feel?'
"This is going to be a big change for these artists, and change is difficult. But when you decide to create change, change occurs all around you." Two small business owners/photographers (Krista Newbill
, Wes Roberts
) were chosen to go through a year-long business boot-camp with some of the best studio owners in the industry as their mentors.
Throughout 2015, the two participating studios' strengths and weaknesses were evaluated, their definitions of success were taken into account, and their top five goals for the year were contemplated. From this, five leading photographers including Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP, ABI, API,
Dave Doeppel, CPP, Ashley Brooke, Greg Daniel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP and Kristin Privette, who all run successful studios, called and consulted with the participants all year, coaching them on implementing new steps for their businesses. These steps included setting new sales goals, creating appropriate pricing strategies and outlining a marketing plan, among others. "Your business doesn't have to look like any one way or one thing," Kurkian says. "That's why we wanted to show different examples of how these businesses can maintain their unique identity while still implementing changes that will increase their profits and make them sustainable. The program was a success and we decided the next phase for this project would be to expand it to all 29,000 of our members."
PPA's Business Challenge is free to PPA members (Not a member? Consider joining today!
). The Challenge includes tools to understand and develop the foundations of a profitable business with:
• A month-by-month, step-by-step support system
• Answers to the most vital business questions
• A personalized success and business plans
• Lists and guidelines to help prioritize
• Inspiration and help to stay focused
• A framework to avoid getting overwhelmed
• Accountability partners with other photographers with the same challenges
Want to join the Challenge? Sign up today at PPA.com/Challenge
any time. When you join, you'll be put into a Challenge Group beginning on the first day of the following month. Then, for the next 12 months, you'll work on your personalized success path. Not only will you receive the tools required to make changes to your business, but also step-by-step instructions and support as you implement these changes. These smaller sized groups create a community of peers for you to share and mentor with as you go through the same program together. Sign up today
to begin your Challenge Group on April 1st and Be More Business Savvy!