I love fall. Not only because the leaves are changing, and we generally have a super busy wedding season, but because towards the end of fall, as our wedding season winds down, we get to take some time, and think about next year and work out a business plan.
Business planning is just fun for me. Ever since I started doing my first business plan, I got so excited and couldn’t stop. I have found, though, that when I sit down to think about what I’m doing, it is very helpful to have an outline to help me not only stay on track, but to help me figure out my goals and objectives first, then start figuring out how to get there. If you can set aside a few hours each week for 2 or 3 weeks to work on this, you should be able to come out with a wonderful plan that will start you on a great year in 2013.
Plan for Where You Want to Be, Not Where You Are Now
I heard a quote the other day that “decisions you make today set the direction for where you’ll be several years from now.” It’s helpful to think about, “where DO I want to be in a few years, and what are the choices I need to make now so I can be there?”
What I hope to do in the next few articles is to give you a little bit of an outline and some practical tips to help you create a business plan that will get you where you want to go.
Owning your own business is tough. It often means working hard, working long hours and giving up a lot that we could be doing because we have to keep working. As a photography business owner, we are often the ones doing everything: marketing, office work, shooting, editing, client communications, blogging, social media and the many, many other things that it takes to keep a business running. It’s easy for us to get so caught up in the work, we forget the “why?” Why are we doing what we’re doing? Why don’t we have a 9-5 job? Why do we work almost every weekend in the Spring and Fall and a lot of weekends in between? It’s a big sacrifice, and if we don’t figure out our “why,” we run the risk of letting our business run our lives, instead of having us run our business.
Can You Afford That New Lens? With a Plan, You Will Know
Having a business plan is just so critical to make sure that we stay on track during the year. For me, too often, there’s something new and exciting that comes out, whether it be a workshop, training video, camera, or new lens, and my first impulse is “I need that!” If you can sit down before the year even starts and plan out how much you want to bring in, and base what you buy off of those calculations, it can make the purchase decisions much easier. Taking the emotion out of your purchasing decisions is absolutely critical if you want to run a business and make a profit. Otherwise we’ll keep buying and buying and not make calculated decisions about those products.
So again, why do you need a plan? A plan will help you not only strategize and think about what you want from life, it will help you figure out what you want from your business. Only when you know what you want can you figure out how to get there. Having something in writing also gives you something to measure how you’re doing. Reviewing your plan each quarter of the year lets you know where you are in relation to where you’d like to be. A written plan is super helpful on a business level – and even more on a personal level.