The business plan

I’m amazed by some of the conversations I have with other professional photographers. A lot of well accomplished photographers, people I look up to, don’t make money in “model photography” This has always amazed me as I was able to make money in it!  After talking to them and breaking through the unwritten rule of “Never discuss business” I found that none of them had a business plan!

I cannot began to tell you how important it is to have a business plan! Having a business plan is good for many reasons;

  • Everything is written down so you don’t have to try and remember
  • Sets goals for yourself immediately, short and long term
  • Keeps you focused
  • Keeps you honest

One of the biggest problems I have is I have a TON of ideas. I hardly ever write them down so as a result, they get forgotten about or done half assed. This is a problem because I usually have pretty awesome ideas ;) By having a business plan, I am able to write those ideas down and have them as goals to follow.

Having a goal is awesome as it keeps you target oriented. As we all know, photographers are a visual people and the more visual things are, the better it is for us. The goals we have, the business plan we have doesn’t have to be a 38 page business plan, it can be as simple as a reminder written down. How in-depth or informal your business plan is totally up to you. You can always Google business plans to help. I like using “Business Plan Pro” by Palo Alto as you can see sample business plans from real business.

By having the goal, it keeps us focused as we can look at our business plan and see where we REALLY are, vs where we predicted we should be. No one likes looking at something and being far behind. If we’re way beyond what we set our plan to start with, well we set too low. We should be not too far ahead and maybe even a little behind our business plan. I’d rather shoot high than low. I review my business plan every few months just to make sure everything is going according to plan. The beautiful thing about a business plan is it’s a living, breathing document. there aren’t any set in stone rules or goals.

We stay honest to ourselves and our business by having a business plan. One of the things I was guilty of was getting an idea and half ass doing it. I had many things like  Club SuperShoot, Colorado Supershoot and Jay Kilgore photographic workshops and other ideas. Being I never created a business plan for them, I was operating each business as it’s own entity, when in actuality, they were the same thing. The reason why I had three different ones is simple; Club Supershoot was a shootout club where people paid a yearly fee and got a certain number of free shoot outs. Colorado Supershoot was for when I had major models like Playboy model Carlotta Champagne out. The JK workshops came when I was thinking about the future of my workshops and wondered if I wanted to be known as a general name, or my own. I decided I wanted to be known by my name, so I rolled them all into Jay Kilgore photographic workshops and created a business plan for that. Having a business plan will take all of your ideas and help you find the best one for you.

Many photographers said there wasn’t money in model photography. I never disagreed with them. There isn’t money if you’re not out there making it. Do YOU have a business plan? Why or why not?


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