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PPA Today: - Business Basics Workshop Archives

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By Megan Mitchell

It's never too late to strengthen the foundation of your business. Whether you're just getting started or have been working as a photographer for years, it's important to understand and implement proven strategies for a successful business. That's why PPA is hosting its Business Retreat August 29-30 at the PPA headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

PPA's Business Retreat is an educational workshop specifically designed for professional photographers. You'll learn how to build a strong foundation for your business so you can increase profitability and define your own success. Understanding those building blocks such as recommended benchmarks, strategic sales planning, profitable pricing and brand management are critical for you to move forward in your business. This isn't a cut-and-dry, one size fits all workshop. You'll do more than just learn the basics - you'll begin to put together a plan for YOUR studio by evaluating your studio, your strengths, your ideal clients and their needs and the competitive landscape. 

The workshop will be taught by PPA business mentors Kristin and Paul Privette, a wife and husband team who own their own wedding and portrait studio, Footstone Photography. They know what it takes to grow your business from the ground up and are super excited to share this knowledge with you!

Officially, class is held from 9am to 6pm both days, but Kristin and Paul want this to be a life changing event for you so they're making time in the evenings for getting together as a group, giving attendees the opportunity for some open and authentic conversation as well as personalized attention. This is a unique opportunity and PPA photographers who attend the workshop will also receive 2 service merits.

Register now (before July 29) to get the early bird rate of $199 (and bring someone else from your studio for FREE)! This workshop is only open to PPA members, so if you're not a member, you can sign up today!

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Chris Homer

If you're just starting a photography business, or have recently moved from part-time to full-time photographer, you probably feel a little bit overwhelmed by all the different things you must implement to have a successful business. Don't panic! PPA's Business Basics Workshop WILL help get you over the hump and set your studio up for success 

This workshop answers all those questions you might have - everything from legal and financial aspects of running a studio to picking a business model and developing a pricing strategy that works for you! Better yet, this Business Basics workshop utilizes PPA's Benchmark Survey results by directly comparing your studio's numbers with high-performing studios to help you identify real tangible areas of opportunities or needed changes. It's a 2 day business jolt that will empower you to make smarter business decisions.

You have to be with PPA to attend and there is a fee, but the knowledge and confidence to run your business successfully is such that almost all past attendees recognize it was a turning point for their studios and well worth the $199 cost. 

Emily Mulkey from Dallas, TX (who already attended this program) told us, "Doing the Business Basics Workshop was, by far, the best decision I made last year. The information and advice I received is still, to date, essential for taking my photography business from the hobby level to full time professional. The instructors are wonderful--they have incredible passion for the industry and have truly walked the walk. I only wish I had attended this workshop 2 or 3 years ago, as it would have saved me many tiresome nights of frustration!"

If you're looking for a photography business guide to avoid the frustration Emily mentioned, consider attending the next Business Basics Workshop at PPA headquarters in Atlanta, April 25-26. Those who register by March 25 will even get the early bird rate of $199! That'll be able to bring someone else from your studio for free! 

The April class will be taught by Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI,API,A-ASP, who's among the best in teaching photographers how to run a business. 

Past attendee Virginia L.S. Freire of Brooklyn, NY said, "The Business Basics Workshop was worth every penny and every minute of it. I was amazed - and thrilled - that Ann Monteith covered so much and answered all of my questions in such a short amount of time. The program was inspirational and energizing and armed me with the critical tools, perspective, and business savviness I needed to set my studio apart and start on the road to profitability immediately. Thank you PPA and Ann!"

So, if you want to Be More as a photography business owner, get over your fears and sign-up for this April 25-26 Business Basics Workshop today! The workshop is only for PPA members, so you'll need to join before you can register. See you in Atlanta! 

About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 

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 and also a CPA. She's helped hundreds of photography studios be more profitable and will address some common questions each month. Heed her advice folks--this lady knows her stuff!

7 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Business


Most people think that the barrier to entering the photography business is low. All you need is to buy a camera, create a Facebook page, and start taking pictures. But consider the odds: 25 percent of new business start-ups close in the first year, and another 25 percent fail in the next four years. How do you beat the odds? You have to set your business up to succeed by asking and answering the following critical questions:

1). What products and services will you provide?

Your business plan should clearly define what you are offering in terms of products and services and how that compares to competitors in your market. It is important for you to carve out a piece of the market to make a profitable and sustainable business.

2). Who is your target client and how will you reach them?

In other words, it's not only important to identify your target client, but you also need to reach them through different marketing mediums. Your integrated marketing strategy should include a blend of marketing mediums such as print, digital and interactive and social media. The results of these efforts should determine if you have an adequate population of potential customers to reach your sales goals.

3). How does your business stand out?

Your one unique selling proposition is YOU. It's who you are that makes all the difference. It's the reason that the one product or service you provide is different from and better than that of the competition. This is where you need to shine through your art, product offerings and customer service. You must be distinguishably different from your competition.

4). Where will business be conducted, and how many employees will you need to provide the level of customer service your ideal client will expect?

It's important for your physical presence, the way you present yourself, where you conduct business and how you conduct business to be an extension of your brand and should resonate with your ideal client. Initially, the number of employees you need to deliver the level of customer service you want to project might not be ideal, but don't compromise. Find ways to outsource workflow in seasonal times so customer service isn't neglected.

5). How much start-up money will it take to open the doors and keep them open until you turn a profit?

I mentioned the barrier to a photography business is relatively low; however, after answering the first four questions, I'm confident you have realized that the barrier is misleading. It requires an investment of money and time to set up a photography business to achieve profitability. Prepare a conservative five-year projection of income and expenses, and re-evaluate yearly to confirm you are on track as most businesses are to show a profit in the in the first year of business.

6). What will be the source of the funds needed for start-up and sustainability?

Consider how much you are willing to invest and potentially lose, how much is needed from outside sources and how much you can generate in profits to reinvest in the business. Clearly identify these sources and include in your five-year projection a plan to pay back yourself and anyone else.

7). What type of business structure will you choose?

What forms do you need to file, and which licenses do you need to obtain to assure compliance? The type of business structure you have will depend on two factors: liability and taxation. PPA recommends when you are just starting out and you have substantial personal assets to be a LLC.

Your business can also benefit from business advisors and mentors. You should develop relationships with a banker, an accountant and an attorney before you start. Additionally, as a PPA member, you can get malpractice insurance, up to $15,000 of free equipment insurance, free education, connections to industry mentors, certification and other vital resources to help you run a profitable business. The Benchmark Survey and its principles are also helpful when setting up prices and measuring your business' growth.

There are no assurances that a business will succeed, let alone be profitable, but setting yourself up for success through planning certainly can help.

It's a shameless plug, but after all, we're here to help: Join instructor Jen Basford, Cr.Photog., November 15-16 in Atlanta for PPA's Business Basics Workshop. You'll learn strong business principles that will help you create a solid foundation for your business. The class will give you the information and confidence you need as you plan for a profitable and sustainable business.

You want to improve your business, make more money, but work less, right? Well growing your operations can now be done from the comfort of your favorite set of pajamas and fuzzy slippers with a live streaming option of the PPA Business Basics March 29-30, 2014. Not only will you be able to participate from the comfort of your own home--you'll save time and money by skipping the trip to Atlanta (although we'd love to see you in person here!).

What's more, when you register you get an additional virtual seat to share with anyone in your studio. More learning, not more spending! And you'll get all of the downloadable materials and the bonus of being able to (re)play the workshop back to pick up on things you may have missed.  

This two day intensive business program will give you the tools you need to improve your business's bottom line. What can you expect to walk away with? Veteran instructor Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr, CPP explains:

"The top five things you'll walk away with are--(1) you never stop marketing yourself, (2) pricing is key, (3) bookkeeping is not optional, (4) your business is always ready for a change, and (5) marketing is more than having a twitter account."

Whether you've been in business for ten days or ten years, this class can help you turn over a new leaf.  

"Anyone who is in the business of photography, or considering it should think about taking this class. Whether you own your own studio, or thinking about making the leap, this class will help you get ready to be profitable from the start, or correct the course if you are not where you want to be. I think this class is important for any studio to take, because it allows you to focus on the systems and underlying issues that newer and seasoned studios either don't know, or got wrong when their studio was formed."

So what are you waiting for? Register today to be more in 2014! Your business and your bottom line with thank you. Seriously!

There's always plenty going on here at PPA. So how about a monthly blog to keep you up to date?

At the start of each month, we'll give you an update on what workshops and live webinars are coming up! There's no excuse to miss out now!

Without further ado, let's take a look.

PPAedu's live webinars are offered FREE to members and non-members alike, but only available on-demand to PPA professional active members and PPAedu subscribers.

Here are this month's live webinars:

November 12, 2 p.m. ET

Income Tax Strategies w/ Bridget Jackson, CPA & PPA's Studio Management Services Manager

Learn strategies that can potentially lower your taxes and more with THE expert--PPA's resident CPA, Bridget Jackson!


November 19, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Social for Photographers: A Match Made in Heaven

Don't miss part four of SEO expert Brett Snyder's series on... you guessed it... SEO! Read our blog post from last week for more info.


And look out for part 5 in early December!

December 3, 2 p.m. ET

SEO & Web Content Are Evolving, Even for Photographers: What to Expect in 2014 and Beyond

In this installment, Brett will cover web content--and goes in depth on the difference between fresh and static content and how both can boost your SEO!


And make arrangements for PPA's upcoming workshops!


PPA's Studio Management Services are hosting a few workshops at Imaging USA in Phoenix to help you be more in 2014. If you really want to get the most out of your Imaging experience, head out a few days early for these great pre-convention workshops!

Thursday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Business Breakthroughs

with Carrie Wildes, CPP & Allison Tyler Jones


Register for Business Breakthroughs and we'll throw in a FULL Imaging USA registration for free! Don't miss out on this exclusive deal to get a comprehensive and intimate workshop on your business followed by three days of Imaging USA to give you all the inspiration you need to put your new business plan to action!

And TWO Certification Prep Classes


Certification Prep Class A

With Gary Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, A- ASP, EA-ASP

& Kathy Meek, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API





Certification Prep Class B

with Al Audleman, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API 


Friday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

PPA is also offering two SMS Business Basics workshops in Phoenix.

$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Portrait Photographers

with Ann Monteith, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, ABI, API, A-ASP


$379 $279 (Save $100!)

Business Basics for Wedding Photographers

with Carrie Wildes, CPP


These experts and PPA's Benchmark Survey will help you understand your numbers and be more profitable in 2014!


 Make sure to follow PPA on Facebook and stay tuned into PPAedu's events calendar for the latest.




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