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PPA Today: Benchmark Financial Survey: July 2011 Archives

Benchmark Financial Survey: July 2011 Archives

Dear PPA Member,

When you were little, did your parents ever keep track of your growth by marking your height on a wall every year? It's a similar concept to PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey, which helps you see where your business stacks up against industry standards. You can't improve what you can't measure! So, if you want to better your business, turn to the Benchmark Surveys. (In fact, the 2011 survey is taking place as we speak...or read and write in this case.)

Our goal with the survey and findings isn't to lecture you. The idea is to make more money and keep more of it.

Sound good? We thought so. And that's why we're starting this series on better understanding the lessons the Benchmark Survey provides.

Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. Don't forget to participate in the 2011 Benchmark Survey now. Do it by August 31, and you could win an iPad!

You've probably heard that PPA has kicked off the latest Benchmark Survey. (In fact, if you participate by August 31, you could win an iPad or more!) But are you set up to take advantage of the information that the Benchmark Analysis is going to provide? To make your numbers make sense--for your own sanity as well as for getting the most use out of PPA's benchmarks and all the educational tools we'll be releasing around the new data--start setting up a managerial accounting system now. Don't worry; it's easier than it sounds!

To make your numbers make sense--for your own sanity as well as for getting the most use out of the Benchmark Survey--set up a managerial accounting system. Don't worry; it's easier than it sounds!

Managerial accounting is structured so that everyone (even non-accountants) can tell what's right and wrong with their businesses. That's why PPA's financial benchmarks are structured to support this system. After all, you can't improve what you can't measure, and we want all PPA members to be able to improve their profitability with the benchmarks!  

So, in the next few weeks, we're going to work together to set up a managerial accounting system (and get your numbers benchmark-friendly), so you can take advantage of the report when it's published.  Let's start this week with the first step:

Step 1: List your sales by product line and category.
Make a list of everything you sell.  For example, one product line could be your studio portraits. That product line's categories could include the subjects of those portraits, from couples to children, families to pets or executives. A wedding product line could be categorized by packages, and so on.

Along with being able to compare more specific results with PPA's benchmarks, organizing sales this way will help you figure out important facts down the road:

  • The percentage of your income coming from each product line and category (so you could focus on your profitable ones)
  • The parts of your business that are growing or declining
  • The effectiveness of your marketing efforts for each product line and category

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. This week, your goal is just to make a list of all the product lines that you sell.  Be specific, but don't over think it. And don't forget to stay tuned for Step 2 next Tuesday.  

If you haven't already, now is the time to sign up for this year's Benchmark Survey. You can be a part of the only industry survey and analysis that helps photographers run better businesses. Plus, the next drawing to win a free iPad is Friday, July 29!

Remember: PPA's Studio Management Services (SMS) can also help you set up your accounts according to managerial standards. 

PPA's 2011 Benchmark Survey isn't even over, and it's already paying off for some participants. Kimball Nelson of Kimball Nelson Photography in Colorado won a free iPad from the Benchmark Survey's first giveaway!

"I actually wanted to participate in the past Benchmark Surveys, but I just never took the time to do it. This year, I was enticed by the prizes...and it was much easier than I expected!" notes Kimball of participating in the Benchmark for the first time. "I had the necessary documents on hand and use QuickBooks for my accounting software. Plus, the submission direction made it very easy."

Besides the iPad--one of which is given away to a survey participant every month until August 31--Kimball says that she also entered to give something back to PPA. "I have found my PPA membership to be very helpful to my business."

Yes, the Benchmark Survey really does feed into the resources PPA members receive. It helps "inform photographers of where the industry is going," as Kimball adds, and it provides financial guidelines to help photographers better run their businesses. In fact, Kimball remembers taking the Business of Photography class at Imaging USA 2009. "They referred to the survey countless times to help us figure out pricing formulas and more."

As you can see, there are numerous reasons to participate in the Benchmark Survey. It's easier than you think--as Kimball found out. But if you want to get in on the iPad giveaways, you have to participate before August 31!

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Benchmark Financial Survey category from July 2011.

Benchmark Financial Survey: June 2011 is the previous archive.

Benchmark Financial Survey: August 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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