This past week I’ve answered a few business questions and I wondered if it might be useful to you if this week, I did a recap of some of the important areas to think about when starting out.
- Research. After the initial idea of your business do some research on all areas; suppliers, web design. Go to the library or buy some books on web design, understand what keywords and meta tags are. It’s like taking a car to a garage if you have basic understanding of what’s going on under the bonnet you can’t be easily fooled.
- Websites. When you look at website companies please make sure that on the admin side you will have boxes where you can add your keywords and meta titles for that page. If there aren’t any I’m sorry to say you’ll be wasting your money on their services, you need to be able to add and alter words, at will, to make your site as productive for search engines as possible. When you are up and running check your keywords are the best ones, monthly with Google’s free tool
- Chamber of Commerce. Go to your local chamber and fill your boots! They will give you free impartial advice on everything, from whether to be a sole trader or a registered company. You’ll be able to ask about your tax obligations, business plan advice – if you need one and copyright info though keep an eye on this one yourself too. In the UK the government is doing another review of online copyright laws www.bjp-online.com, a trade journal, is a good place to keep up to date with the news.
The Chamber will also give you help on data protection laws and how you correctly look after people’s information you collect in your company. Anything business related you can think of, ask these guys. Give them a call before you go so they can collect as much information together on your niche before you arrive.
- Website payments. I use Paypal, they provide a free account that does everything I need, they simply take a commission. By using Paypal all worries about protecting customer payment details is taken off your hands as Paypal look after all this for you.
- Suppliers. This might sound obvious, but get proofs from your suppliers, check out their service by buying your completed product from them. Does it meet the quality standards you require? Is their service prompt? And just as importantly, when you speak to their staff, how professional are they? Do they answer your questions with ease and get back to you when they say they will?
Some printers will send your work out ‘white label’ which means they will deliver direct to your customers without adding in any of their own merchandise or invoice.
- Costings. Work out your prices based on what it costs you to make the product and how much profit you would like to make.
- Social Media. Sign up for Twitter and Facebook accounts, be yourself and find groups who might be interested in your work. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you might find a wedding dress supplier an start following the people who are following the designer. Start conversations with them, but don’t immediately start to sell, build a rapport with your community.
- Accountants. Should you, shouldn’t you? It depends what you are comfortable with. If you use accountants meet with a few different companies first to get a feel for them. Most offer a free initial meeting,
- Insurance. There are many companies that solely cover photographers. Having someone that understands your business is a great idea. You can usually find some companies advertising in photography magazines.
I realise that every niche is different, and probably many more questions will crop up as you start to go through the process of setting your business up, however I hope I’ve covered many of the basics of things to think about when getting started.
*The Current Photographer website contains links to our affiliate partners. Purchasing products and services through these links helps support our efforts to bring you the quality information you love and there’s no additional cost to you.