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Do the Work... - PPA Today

Do the Work...

Here's your latest guest column from none other than Bridget Jackson, resident guru for all things numbers and profitability. Bridget is the manager of PPA Business (formerly known as SMS) and also a CPA. She's helped hundreds of photography studios owners be more profitable and will address some common questions each month. Heed her advice folks--this lady knows her stuff!

Do the Work...
By Bridget Jackson

Educating yourself is only half the battle. You have to actually roll up your sleeves and do the work. 

I'm not talking about taking pictures (although you have to do that too). I'm talking about coming up with the elements of a marketing plan, a sales strategy, a documented workflow and a financial management plan. 

That's right. It's not enough for you to just understand what they are. You need to have them well documented so you not only have a strategy to guide you, but so you can update those strategies based on your strengths and weaknesses. Successful studios assess what worked, what didn't work and what needs to be changed so they can continue to stay on a path to reach their goals. 
Your studio's marketing plan should consist of different ways to connect with your ideal client. Only you can truly identify your ideal client. No one can do it for you. You can get help and even some coaching, but only you will be able to determine the profile of the ideal client. And oftentimes, we won't even attract our ideal client right out of the gate. That part requires some work.

This is where PPA's assessment tool comes in. If you're not attracting your ideal client, yourdowork_photographybusinessguide.jpg marketing plan needs to be tweaked, otherwise you're working for the wrong type of clients! Similarly, your sales strategy should be structured as to help you reach your overall financial goals. In order to assess this, you need to track those sales figures! PPA has resources to help you track both, your sales averages and session counts. At a minimum, you should be using these resources, as they'll help you see where the counterproductive actions are.

As a studio owner, you should (1) know your average sale and how many sessions you need; and (2) compare it to what you are actually doing and making. If you are not reaching your financial goals, there's no way around it: (re)assess your sales strategy. That includes but it's not limited to your price list. Identify how much you need to sell and set up a pricing list that will allow you to achieve your goals. That might include chancing your average sale or even your monthly session count!

A documented workflow consists of working both IN the business and ON the business. Problem is, working on the business is often overlooked. That's why it is imperative for a studio owner to build in to the workflow time to work on the business so you can assess how the marketing, selling and production are working toward reaching your overall studio goals. It also helps identify areas where you might need help either by outsourcing or hiring. 

Last but not least, set yourself up for success by creating a financial management plan. Your plan should include how many sessions, at a given sales average you need to do to make sure you reach your financial goal. It also includes how much it is going to cost you to produce the products associated with the sessions, we call this cost of sales or cost of goods sold. Finally, you should know how much you need, by month, to cover your fixed expenses. Once you have determined these components, you'll need to track how you are actually doing against the plan, and that will be for an entirely new post. 

Luckily, as a PPA photographer, you have plenty of resources to help you build your marketing plan, understand your numbers and work ON your business. It's not for the weak; it's for the committed professional photographers who understand there's more to the business than just being a wonderful photographer. But you're not alone: there's plenty of help within reach, so check out PPA's business consultations with yours truly and some other talented, successful pros who are here to help you be more. 

That's right, at PPA we're all here for the same reason: To help you be more profitable

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on October 21, 2014 10:48 PM.

The Value of an Album was the previous entry in this blog.

Ask Ana Brandt Anything! is the next entry in this blog.

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