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The Gypsy Photographer: Business Plans and Financial Planning oh my!

Erin Schwamb is writing a series for The Business of Boudoir about how she has successfully moved her photography studio as a military wife. Installment No. 1 is here,  Installment No. 2 is here and Installment No. 3 is here.

As if you couldn’t tell based on the title, for this installment of The Gypsy Photographer, we are going to discuss two insanely important, and often overlooked aspects that need to be addressed every time you move. It’s time to attack your business plan and realistically plan for financial success.

One of the main reasons business moves fail is not because there aren’t any clients to be had at the new location. They fail because the business owner didn’t educate themselves appropriately about their new target market and demographics. Just because your business plan worked wonders where you were before doesn’t guarantee it will work for your new location.

Write a business plan (no, really, write one)

If you haven’t taken the time to write a business plan yet, do it. Take the time to sit down and write it out. One of the best resources I had when I was first starting my business was visiting my local SCORE office. They talked to me about everything I would need to do in my local area from financing to marketing. They even provide templates and guides to help you fill out your own business plan if you need it. You can find business plans for the following:

You may be asking yourself,  “Why do I need a business plan? How is that going to help me?”  Well, lemme ‘splain something to you (in my best Ricky Ricardo voice):

Without creating a solid plan for your business, you are leaving everything you do up to chance. You are not effectively using your time or energy to target the specific market you wish to be working with.

These plans outline everything that has to do with your business. Whether you want to be a high volume or boutique style studio, what your short and long term financial goals are, your target market and where they are, and the ability to identify and analyze trends in your market. Each and every aspect works together in order for you to know exactly whats happening around you and with your clients as far as your business is concerned. When writing or rewriting your business plan keep these things in mind:

  • It should be simple — which means easy to understand.
  • It should be detailed and specific.
  • Be specific about what actions the business will take, with specific completion dates, who is responsible, and budgets.
  • Your business plan should be realistic, including your sales goals, expense estimates, market size projections and milestone dates.

And write a financial plan (yeah, I know … just do it)

Along with every good business plan is a solid financial plan. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine what your next step is.

  1. Do you have the money saved to start over in your new location?
  2. How are you going to use that money to your best advantage?
  3. Do you have enough marketing materials already printed and ready to go?
  4. What are you long/short term financial goals for success?

Just like when you were first starting out with your business, each one of these questions needs to be addressed. Success is all about planning and anticipating your next move.

During a move, spending money on frivolous items is not okay. There are tons of unexpected expenses that may come up that you probably haven’t considered. With our last move, my business insurance almost doubled in price simply because of my proximity of location to an ocean and an earthquake fault line. I also found out shooting on the beach required special licenses and permits that I didn’t have to have in my last location. Outfitting a new studio space to fit my brand was costly as well.

We’ve all heard the adage you have to spend money to make money. While I consider that to be true to an extent—there is a smart way to go about it.

When buying an item ask yourself ,”Will this make me money?”  If it won’t, don’t buy it. If you believe it will, figure out how many sessions it will take before you earn back what you spent on it.  If you keep a logical mind, set your goals, and stay smart with your money, you’ll end up keeping a lot more of it in the long run and continue in the right direction for business success!

Read other posts in The Gypsy Photographer series about moving your boudoir business

Erin Schwamb

I am an always on the move, wandering Gypsy of a Navy wife. I have an amazing and supportive husband and son who I adore. I love fiercely and freely. As the owner of Gypsy Boudoir in Charleston, South Carolina, I am working with women to realize that beauty has no boundaries or reservations.

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