According to Forbes, 80 percent of businesses fail.
There's plenty of reasons why businesses fail - the timing, the location, the owner, and so forth.
But rather than worrying about what makes businesses fail, why not concentrate on what the 20 percent of successful businesses do?
As a photographer, you have a lot on your plate.
You're a photographer, a receptionist, a website designer, a marketing guru, and so on...
With so much to worry about, the question is, what business decisions can you make - should you make - that you won't regret?
Let's have a look at a few tried-and-true decisions that will help you help your business grow and prosper.
Give Clients an Experience
Is it easier to shuffle your clients through your studio in a machine-like fashion?
Will you be able to cram more people into your schedule if you work precisely and efficiently?
But is building a client experience that's focused on "let's hurry and get this done" going to win over the hearts and minds of consumers?
Photography, as you no doubt already know, isn't just about creating a beautiful photo.
It's also about creating an experience that your clients enjoy, that they appreciate, and that they tell their friends and family about when it's all said and done.
When thinking about creating a good experience for your clients, how you deliver their photos should come immediately to mind.
There's something to be said for the way Apple packages their products. It's really like a personal unveiling, with the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey the only thing missing as you open the box to your new iPhone or MacBook.
That's the sort of experience customers like - and one of the reasons why Apple products are so popular.
It's something so small, yet something that your clients will appreciate. The packaging counts!
That's why a smart business decision is to partner with a company like Hanging Branch that helps you deliver those WOW moments to your clients.
Instead of emailing them a link to an online gallery, send them a few prints inside one of Hanging Branch's beautiful, hand-made wooden photo boxes.
You'll give your customers a real unveiling as they feel the craftsmanship of their custom photo box.
You can have your client's name engraved on the box too, making it a gift for generations to enjoy.
What's more, you can add a wood USB to the mix, pre-loaded with your client's images. You can even engrave the USB too!
Think about it - you finish a job, put a few prints into a finely-made wood box with your client's name on it, and add an engraved USB inside with a few hundred photos on it for your clients to enjoy.
They get the box with the goodies inside and are blown away by such a thoughtful gift.
Now that's an experience, right?
Don't leave your clients unimpressed. Wrap up each gig with a tasteful, beautifully made wooden photo box from Hanging Branch.
Separate Your Personal and Business Bank Accounts
I hate to say it, but if you mix your personal and business money in a single bank account, you're doing it wrong.
Sure, it might seem easiest at this point to have a single bank account. It might even seem like it makes sense - perhaps you aren't making much money, and you feel like a separate account isn't needed.
Even if you're in the red and not making any money at all, you still need to separate your personal and business finances. But why?
For starters, it's a way to protect your personal assets. If something goes awry with your business - which, as I mentioned in the introduction - is a common occurrence, you don't want your personal money to be taken to settle your business debts.
Secondly, once your business is going strong, just think of the nightmare it would be to try and separate your personal and business transactions from a single account - something that you'd have to do come tax time each year.
Separating your accounts would resolve that issue. Get more great advice on your business finances (and other success tips) in the video below from Kristy Dickerson:
Also speaking of taxes, by mixing your personal and business interests into a single bank account, you run the risk of not being able to make certain deductions.
That is, only a business can deduct business expenses. That means that if you use your personal bank account for your business transactions, you might have a tough time convincing the IRS that you run a legitimate business that's eligible for all the business-related deductions you think you should get.
Again, separating your accounts takes care of that problem.
Lastly, having your personal bank account serve as your business bank account just looks a little on the unprofessional side, don't you think?
I mean, imagine a vendor pays you with a personal check. Might that leave you wondering if they run a legitimate business?
People will wonder the same thing about you if you're paying bills with personal checks.
So, to protect your assets, to make your tax situation more clear, and to save a little face while you're at it, separate those bank accounts!
Be Wary of Whose Advice You Seek
Both the photography and business worlds have changed a lot in recent years.
In fact, I'd say that the advice photographers got when they started a business ten years ago is probably a lot different than what a photographer starting a business today would hear from their advisors.
In the business world, things like demand for products and services is constantly changing. A decade ago, perhaps wedding photography was the best genre to dive into due to demand.
But now, that might not be the case since people are waiting longer and longer to get married - if they get married at all.
Ten years ago, there wasn't Twitter or Instagram. Social media marketing wasn't nearly as big a thing as it is today.
What's more, though photographers certainly had websites a decade ago, today, the way websites are built and maintained is a completely different game. See how to tackle social media marketing in today's world in the video below from B&H:
Because of the roller coaster-like ride that photography and business are often on, it's important to be careful whose advice you seek.
Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't seek the advice of established photographers...
I'm just saying that some will have better insights than others.
For example, I probably wouldn't recommend pinning your hopes on the advice of someone that had a successful career in the 1980s but retired in the mid-90s before the digital photography revolution.
Not only might that person have a distinctly different take on photography itself, but they are bound to have a completely different opinion of how to run a successful business or tackle marketing.
Instead, I'd recommend talking to other photographers that have been in the game for 5-7 years.
At that point, they've done something right to still be in business, but they haven't been in business so long that they no longer have their finger on the pulse of what photography customers are looking for and what it takes to build and sustain a business in the modern world.
Advice is great, and so is the guidance of a more experienced photographer - just be sure you get your pointers from someone that knows what it's like doing business in today's world!