Working on your own keeps your fixed costs low and in turn, increases your profit margins but it’s not really a business. At some point as you expand you will find yourself struggling to reach the expectations of your customers. Once you don’t have the capacity to take on any new clients without dropping the ball it is time to retool your setup. The following steps will help you retool your business strategy and make your photography business scalable. This will allow you to make more money and give you more of your time back.
Step 1: Reduce your inventory to the core products
Decide what core products actually sell and make you money. To do this create a complete list of the Cost of Goods Sold for each product. You will then want to Calculate the net revenue on each product by subtracting the COGS from the gross revenue on that product. This will give you a gross profit amount. This is the number you have to play with. If this number is too low then either raise the price or discontinue the product. Cut out the stuff that takes up all your time and is a hassle to deliver to your clients. Focus on what you do well and if you really want to offer that product then after you get your business streamlined you will have the time you need to work out how to make it efficient.
Step 2: Create an easily repeatable on-site process
If your photography business and brand are centered on you and your skills, then you must recognize that there is a limit to how much you can expand. This can be a blessing if you are looking to create a boutique business as this creates scarcity and thus drives up the value of your service. The challenge is that it limits your ability to scale. You have a limited amount of work you can do, which means you need systems and people to create scale. After photographing over 100,000 homes Phixer has figured out the on-site process to create consistent products. Phixer videos can show you how here: Phixer Youtube Channel
Step 3: Outsource your post-production processing
Professional real estate photo editing companies like Phixer have a team of experts who are skilled in photo editing. Instead of spending hours worrying about how to edit and make your photos look good, outsourcing this work will let you focus on money making activities. Ask yourself how many hours you spend in post-production and how that affects your ability to secure more work. Spend more time meeting with potential clients and open up your schedule to accept more projects. Outsourcing will save money versus of hiring a full-time expert photo editor in-house. This allows you to increase the number of projects you can take on while keeping fixed costs down.
Step 4: Hire Expert Vendors
Your business needs systems in place that allow you to focus on your real role – growing your business. This means that your workflow, your accounting systems, your lead management, and customer experience systems must all be dialed-in and functioning. Don’t try and recreate the wheel. Instead of investing a lot of time into learning and creating systems in these different areas spend some time investigating the different options from experts in these respective fields Over time you can determine if you want to hire a person to do these things in-house to reduce your costs. Another bonus is that you have a chance to see how these expert companies handle your needs and you can then replicate and tweak these processes as you bring in your own employee to take over these areas.
Step 5: Hire Employees
There are 168 hours in a week. The only difference between you and your competitors is how you choose to spend them. There will never be more time and you can’t save any for later. Any service business is therefore limited by human capital. Part of the solution is delegating key tasks to team members.