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So You Want to Be a Photographer?
So you want to be a photographer? More to the point, you want turn your photography into a business. In a market that is saturated in would-be photographers, this is not an easy task. It is by no means impossible, however, and the trick to developing a successful photography business depends on something so simply that most people tend to overlook it: a practical business plan with a solid photography business mission statement.
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What exactly is a mission statement?
A mission statement is the key to the success of any business, photography or otherwise. It is your chance to tell your customers what you do, how you do it, and how your business will fulfill their desires. It's that simple. There are several things to consider while brainstorming for your mission statement. They are as follows:
- What is our purpose, as a business? What is it exactly that we do? What needs to we seek to satisfy?
- How do we satisfy those needs? How does our business operate? What do we /do/?
- What are our values, our passions, and our goals? Why did we get into this business in the first place?
Once you answer these basic questions, you can begin to form your mission statement. If you have a group of people, brainstorm! If you don't, brainstorm yourself and run your ideas by friends, family, or co-workers. Try to keep it simple, expressing yourself and your business in as few words as possible. This will make it easier to remember, easier to print, and, in general, more people will be willing to read it. It's also important to keep it open-ended. What does that mean? Keep your mission statement general and versatile, so that it is just as applicable five years down the road as it is today. Changing your mission statement will sometimes tell your potential customers that you are not sure of yourself, or where your business intends to go, and that can be detrimental.
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What do you do with a mission statement once you have decided on one?
What do you do with a mission statement once you have decided on one? That's easy. Frame it and hang it around your office, print it on flyers or business cards, ask your employees, including yourself, to memorize it. The more the mission statement is known, and committed to memory, the easy it is to live by the values that it expresses. Don't be afraid to share your mission statement with others, either. Oftentimes, you will get creative feedback which will allow you to fine-tune and improve your mission statement. The earlier you share with others, the earlier you can create the perfect mission statement.
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What does a mission statement accomplish?
A business mission statement accomplishes many things, including attracting the right customers for you, setting a goal for yourself, and giving your employees a focus statement to aspire to and believe in. You should memorize your mission statement, and have your employees, if you have them, memorize your business statement. It is, after all, what you are all about and what you strive for. Customers will be attracted to you via your mission statement, so if you have a statement that fits you perfectly, you will have customers that fit you perfectly, seeking the same values and ideals.
Like attracts like, as described in the law of attractions (LOA), and you will benefit from having a mission statement that is clear, decisive, and appealing to the group of customers you are looking to attract.
Not to mention that once you have a mission statement, you can draw new customers looking for certain values and goals.
In the photography business, this is especially important. There are thousands of photographers out there, so what makes a customer choose you over the other options? Your mission statement, which involves your values, your goals, and your personal care. Make it clear to your customers why you are in the business in the first place, what you are trying to do, and why they should be a part of it. If you do that, and do it clearly, you will find that people seekn you out. Never underestimate the power of a strong mission statement.
Remember that you are a photographer. You have your own ideas, perspectives, and visions. Include them in your mission statement and make yourself, and your business, stand out.
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A few more things to think about.
Although a mission statement is the most imporstant step in creating a business, there are a few other steps, outside of the typical business plan, that will lead you in the right direction. For example, the name you choose for your business can be almost as important as your mission statement. It separates you from the crown, gives your customers a personality to relate to, and will ultimately make or break you.
You might also want to consider possible problems with your mission statement. It is, after all, the most powerful aspect of your business plan. You should consider it from all angles, and all perspectives, and don't be afraid to modify it to fit your needs.
You should also never forget the technical aspect of your business. Business ideology and mission statements will drive your business, but legality will make your business solid. Always keep up to date on taxes, legal documents, and all other paperwork required to operate a prospering, growing business. Ideas are important, a mission statement is important, but in the end, the law is most important.
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Never be afraid to succeed!
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All images in this article fall under the creative commons attribution license agreement. For imformation on creative commons attribution laws, please see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/.
Ready to Take the Plunge into Photography Business? The image, tittled 'Jumping Off Mt. Evans' by krossbow is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/krossbow/3897879326/.
Mission statements are the key to good business. The image, titled 'The Key To Your Success' by Clearly Ambiguous is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/clearlyambiguous/96998932/.
Know where you want to go! The image, by Bios, is available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kompas_Sofia.JPG.
A good mission statement means success. The image, titled 'Climbing Journal Mount Rinjai package | 29th May 2010' by Bohari Adventures is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/trekkingrinjani/4930552641/.