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PPA Today: Photography Finance Archives

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Every profession has a dialect of its own. In fact, you could probably sit down and write a glossary of photography terms off the top of your head--terms that every photographic beginner should learn about. After all, when you're setting up shop in a particular industry, it's best to be able to speak the native tongue.

Did you know that your photography glossary should include a few vital accounting terms, too? Of course, if you're a staff photographer, you may never have to translate "charts of accounts" and "costs of goods sold" into something that makes sense to your creative brain. If you're an entrepreneur, though, all bets are off. As an entrepreneur, you need to know your numbers and how to make smart business decisions based on them.

The good news is that PPA members have tools to help: PPA's Benchmark Survey, Analysis & Toolset. With these tools, you can get a handle on your numbers and, by doing so, set key performance metrics and start regularly measuring your business against them.

But to understand the Benchmark--and be able to take advantage of it--you need to speak a little accounting. Read more here.
The words "charge it" could soon take on a new meaning if you're a business owner. If you take even a single credit card payment for your photography services, consider giving your payment processor a call during this next year.

Why? Let's take a trip through the perfect client session and sale. A family books their annual portrait session. The session goes wonderfully and not only do they purchase a group shot, but they also love all of the other images you captured and want gallery wraps, albums and more! When it's time to pay, they pull out a credit card. You happily accept their card because even though you are subject to the normal monthly or annual fee assessed by your credit card processor, it's worth it!

But what if you encounter a speed bump? What if you later receive notification from your credit card processing company that they are required to hold 28% of your gross monthly transactions? What went wrong?

It's possible that your tax ID name and number don't match exactly with what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has on file. It does happen! And if that is the case starting January 1, 2013, the processor will have to hold that percentage for the IRS until the proper information is secured. On top of that, the 28% of your hard-earned session or print fees will not be refunded until the following year as a tax credit.

Read the complete article here.

Dear PPA Member,

Would you ever take an extended trip to a foreign country not knowing how much money you'll need to bring, what to pack, where you'll stay, or what you'll do once you get there? Probably not. That would leave a lot up to guesswork and plain old luck. Hopefully, you have a plan in mind--or a travel agent who takes care of it for you.

Even more than a long vacation, your business requires careful planning (not spontaneity). You don't want to just guess and go with the flow when it comes to running your business! Luckily, PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey is like a vacation planner for your business, and today's Vital Signs article will show you why. For example, it can help you make decisions about where you want to go, what you want to do, and how much money you'll need to get there.

Start using the PPA Financial Benchmark tools today to make your business a success, and you might soon head off on a much-deserved vacation to celebrate...

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. We've got a new Extreme Deal from Animoto for our members: Buy 1 month of Animoto Pro, get 1 month free. Deal is valid through September 30.

Dear PPA Member,

Lemonade stands--does that phrase bring back memories? They are often the first entrepreneurial adventure for many a kid. On a hot day, you could make a quick buck or two (or more than that if you were lucky!) and then head out to the corner store to grab an ice cream cup. You didn't have to worry about pricing for profit. Or expenses. Or factoring in your labor costs. (How much do you charge for stirring way too much sugar into a pitcher of weak lemon water?)

But you're not running a lemonade stand anymore. You're running a photography business. If you want to be successful, you've got to be profitable. This week's Vital Signs will have you dropping your wooden spoon and picking up a calculator, so you can afford more than ice cream at the end of the day.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

P.S. We've got a new Extreme Deal from ImageQuix: PPA members get one year of Unlimited Uploads with ImageQuix for only $99 when they sign up by September 9 (a $249 savings).

Dear PPA Member,

What's your idea of making it to the "big time"? For some of you, it's having a retail studio and all the fixings (employees, cool gadgets, cappuccino machine). This may be your dream, but the reality is often different if you aren't being financially savvy. The first time I read PPA's Financial Benchmark Survey, I was surprised to learn that participating retail studio owners didn't hit the important goals as often as the home studio owners.

While there are benefits to being a retail studio owner, if it's not helping you reach your financial goals, you've got some decisions to make. This week's Vital Signs can help you with those, including some ideas for keeping your head above water in a retail space. As for what kind of cappuccino maker to buy? Well, you're on your own there.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

If the stock market was a theme park, this week would be described as a haunted horror roller coaster. Stomachs across the world churned in unison with the dips and drops, and though I loathe saying it, it's not over. Please keep your seatbelts on, and your hands on the safety bar in front of you. It's going to be a long ride.

How will this tumultuous week impact the economy and our industry? More importantly, how will it impact you and your bottom line in the long run?

If you don't know what your true "bottom line" is, now is the time to find out.  In our continuing series on the PPA Benchmark Survey, this week we'll discuss how using the tools from said survey can help show you the real numbers and percentages of a profitable studio...and the goals you need to set for your own business.

While I love roller coasters in the real world, I'll stand in line for the kiddie choo-choo train when it comes to my own financial bottom line.  It's less scary on that ride (and you can eat cotton candy while you enjoy the scenery).

Cheers!
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!

Dear PPA Member,

Are you a control freak? It can be a good thing...for your business anyways. You don't need to oversee and manage every little detail (that's what outsourcing is for!), but if you can let just a little bit of your inner control freak out, aim it at your studio's numbers.

If you can learn where your money goes and why (and if it was necessary), you're one step closer to better profits. Controlling costs helps determine your profitability. That's what PPA's Benchmark Survey findings and case studies tell us. And who doesn't want to improve their profits? Our latest Vital Signs digs a little deeper into this topic, so read on.

Cheers!
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!

Last week we talked about how to start setting up a managerial accounting system to help you use PPA's Benchmark Survey results...and simply make your numbers make more sense. Here's the second step:

Step 2: Track your cost of sales
Cost of sales (COS) is made up of any expenses related to producing the goods you sell to clients, including labor! It's the materials and production costs that go into manufacturing what clients purchase (frames, albums, labs, printing, product freight, music licensing fees, out-of-town job travel, editing, retouching, and so on).

By listing these expenses and tracking them, you can better determine whether your pricing is profitable and your workflow is efficient.

Don't forget to stay tuned for Step 3 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.

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

With the changing economy, Sean McCarthy of Twisted River Productions felt that participating in the 2011 Benchmark Survey was especially important this year. And doing so already paid off for him--he won the July free iPad giveaway!

This Georgia-based photographer emphasizes the need for others to take part as well. "It's important. It's knowledge," Sean says about the Benchmark Survey, which analyzes real data from real studios, giving PPA members an honest look at where their studios fall in comparison to industry average and best-performing studios. "It can help make your company stronger and give you something to strive for," he adds.

And he's not just paying lip service.  Sean has used the previous Benchmark Survey findings in his own business. "We kind of view it as our New Year's resolution," he explains. "We are still working on how to make lasting changes in this economy, so it's nice to know where you need to improve...and that we aren't alone!"

So, what are you waiting for? With the Benchmark Survey findings, you'll discover not just where you should be, but where you could be (and start learning how to get there).  And if you participate in the survey itself by August 31, you are in the running to win the last free iPad!

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.

Cheers!
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!



About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Photography Finance category.

Photography Customer Service is the previous category.

Photography Legal is the next category.

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