No matter where you are in your photography business (whether you are at the beginning or you are a seasoned professional wedding photographer), planning for your success is key. With a wedding photography business plan, you ensure that you are ready to handle the challenges that come as you grow your photography business. Starting a photography business is fun and exciting, but as you book more weddings and fill your calendar, what once was your dream job can turn stressful and unmanageable. Having a photography business plan will ensure you can handle your growth and scale.
When you first thought about how to get into photography, and then how to start a photography business, you may have considered hiring an assistant. Once you attempt hiring one, you may realize it is time-consuming to try and teach someone all of the knowledge you have about your business, and your stress is still at a high. So how do you find a way to make your business scalable where you can work ON your business rather than IN it?
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn how to delegate.” – John. C Maxwell
In order to run a successful and thriving wedding photography business, it is essential to have a plan. Without one, you may find yourself working on your own in your business until you’re tired and overwhelmed. Being scalable and creating a plan allows you to implement proper systems that give you more time to take pictures and require less time working on other tasks. This results in you saving time, energy, and greatly reducing stress. Here are some tips on how to become scalable for your business and create an effective plan.
Determine the Tasks Only You Can Do
Just like you have a wedding photography checklist to ensure you know all your responsibilities for the wedding day, create a list of all your tasks. Make sure to take some time with this and write out everything that you do. This list should be as detailed as possible to be effective. Planning for growth involves creating the systems ahead of time to sustain the growth. Document every step that is involved in each process so you have a thorough list of everything that goes into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine. This includes small tasks you work on and the large projects that take more of your time.
By being as detailed as possible, it gives you the opportunity to determine what steps are actually necessary to complete certain tasks, and which steps can be eliminated. Try to make each task as streamlined as possible – remember, wedding photographers who spend less time working on tasks can dedicate that time to shooting!
“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton
Once you have refined and simplified your process, it is essential to determine which tasks require you to complete, and which can be delegated to others. If every step requires you, your wedding photography business cannot easily grow. As you work through this process, try to make the list of things that only you can do in your business as minimal as possible. These are the items that take your priority.
In our guide that focuses on how to succeed in your photography business, we discuss a method famed investor, Warren Buffett, used with a former employee to help him narrow down what he should work on for success. He told the employee that,
“Dreams become reality as a result of three components,
- Knowing what you want.
- Learning the tools to get you there.
- Having the insane focus to combine the two.”
Warren then shared a few steps for his employee to take to find out what the most important items are and how they should be prioritized. For your wedding photography business, your steps would be to:
- List the 25 most important things for you to do for your business to succeed.
- Review each item and circle the top 5 that are most important to achieve your goal.
- Avoid everything else that is not on your 5 most important list.
The overall point from Warren’s example is that there is always something you can do for your business, but if it is not the most important, it does not need your attention. His final piece of advice was that once you master the 5 items on your list, you can then go back and choose 5 more. This is advice that works perfectly for wedding photographers, as well.
Bring in Help
To prevent feeling over-worked and stressed, you must have a plan for your wedding photography business, especially when it comes to hiring people. As your plan is developed and you have identified the tasks that only you can do, you also have a list of items that can be done by others.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
While it can be hard to let go of tasks and trust someone else to do them, this is a crucial part of your business plan in order to grow. Whether it be an in-house assistant or an external partner, you must delegate tasks that are not worth your time doing. The key to this step is bringing in the RIGHT help.
As you grow, and the demands for your time also increase, a specialist will help you deliver the best results to your clients while helping you stay creative. You specialize in wedding photography; you have a niche, vision, and brand built around your passions. Remember that, just like wedding photographers, companies and people that have chosen a specialty have that same level of passion and expertise in their chosen field.
They have spent time training in these specialties, and chances are, they are better at it than you are. More importantly, they can partner with you to make your business faster and more efficient, which leads to growth. For example, by using photo editing company, ShootDotEdit, for your wedding photography post production, you will optimize the speed of your post-shoot workflow. It can be hard to let go, but give yourself permission to trust others with your business.
“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.” – David Ogilvy
Decide Which Tasks to Delegate
Bringing outside specialists into your wedding photography business to help you execute your growing list of tasks can save you time, headaches, and even improve the areas where your output isn’t the best you know it could be. So now your question becomes, “What do I outsource?” The answer for many wedding photographers is:
- Outsource the things you can’t do yourself
- Outsource the things you don’t enjoy to do
- Outsource the things that others can do for less than it costs you to do
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley
Things you cannot do yourself could be tasks such as accounting or bookkeeping. Certain tasks that you do not enjoy could be editing wedding photos, designing albums, blogging, or selling prints. As a wedding photographer, some of those items are just not your favorite – and that’s okay! Not all wedding photography business owners have to enjoy those tasks. Additionally, those are also items on your plate that others can do for less than it costs you to do. In the end, you have to think about how much it costs you in money and in time. Your time is valuable and needs to be split properly to ensure you achieve the goals you set.
The post production portion of your post-wedding workflow takes an enormous amount of time (and money). When photographers edit, it means there is less time to learn how to market your photography business to ideal clients or find out how to start a photography blog, where you can share more about yourself and your images. With wedding photography editing on your plate, there is also less time to absorb knowledge for how to become a good photographer through advancing your skills. Other things that fall off your radar when you are sitting in front of the computer are posting on social media, meeting clients, or networking with vendors.
A specialist who can take wedding photo editing off your plate can eliminate hours from your workflow (and ultimately, lower your headaches and stress). Not only is there a professional editing service, like ShootDotEdit, available, but there are other specialists for tasks like album and website design, and blogging. Trusting others with your tasks doesn’t have to be limited to your business tasks, you can also reach out for help with your household tasks. Any tasks you can take off your plate by trusting a specialist is one less thing you have to worry about.
When you eliminate the tasks on your plate that take too much of your time, make you unhappy, or cost you, you can then focus on the tasks you are good at and you LOVE. These are tasks like taking pictures, meeting with clients, building your brand, or networking with vendors. Not only are these tasks you enjoy, but they are also valuable and can help you increase your income.
With increased income, you can work toward new goals and desires you have. You can start thinking about the things you’ve always wanted to for your business, but haven’t had the time for, including updating your website, adding to your wedding photography contracts, creating photography business cards, or even building a photography business plan template to use annually (that way, you can save time each year and only make necessary adjustments).
You can also work toward a plan to expand your business. Whether you add associate photographers or provide wedding photography tips for photographers through photography articles, webinars, or workshops, an increase in profit (and time) allows you to think about other projects outside of the time-consuming, monotonous ones.
The main point here is you will have less on your plate once you delegate your tasks. With fewer tasks to distract you, you can focus on what you get paid do to – be a photographer – without other obligations getting in the way. Focusing on your role as a photographer (rather than spending all your time on bookkeeping, wedding photo edits, or album design), as well as the tasks that require you, is a quick way to increase demand for your business. With growth, you can raise your wedding photography prices, bring in more income, and expand as you desire (as mentioned above).
The other tasks on your plate that do not need your attention can be assigned to an employee or outsourced to an expert. You can work with them to establish a healthy rapport as they work effectively toward your business’s progression. Keep in mind, when you plan for growth, you plan for your wedding photography business’s sustainability. Have direction and strategically plan the steps to reach your business goals.
It really is no secret that success takes a lot of hard work. When you master your systems and take the steps to work on your business instead of in it, you will find that your business can grow faster than you ever imagined. To learn more about creating an effective wedding photography business plan that helps you maintain your longevity, check out our free guide, How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business. Throughout the guide, we share over 50 pages of tips, tricks, and advice pulled from over 20 successful professional photographers. With over 60 helpful articles that specifically address an area of business opportunity, you can continue to build on your plan and grow your business. Click on the banner to download your copy today!