Write a Business Model. You need it!

 In For Photographers

The definition of business model is not very simple: A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value, in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. In simpler word, a business model describe why and how a business generates value (not just money). Every business should have one, and this includes photographers; however, having met some many up and coming photographers is making me view the definitions of “professional” or “amateur” in a different way. If before this revelation I had always assumed that a professional photographer is a person who makes a living out of a photographic business, now my idea shifted. Now I believe that a professional photographer is one who takes his profession seriously, doing everything it can to make a business flourish.
What has a “business model” in common with this definition? Everything, let me explain.

Business model is a complex word

…but it is a simple idea. It is the model with which you plan to bring money in your business. Everyone has a business model, but only few photographers have their own clearly written down. From one perspective, I may say that those who have this Business Model written down are the professionals.
In every field, the professionals are those who plan their growth in advance. She tries to understand where her customers are and how she can provide them her services.
While the idea of the business model is simple, the creation of a proper business model is less so.

Professional VS Amateurs

My idea of professionals VS amateurs is certainly a provocation. I don’t want to remove anything from amazing professional photographers who do not even know what a Business Model is; however, to start with the right foot in a very difficult industry, we should try to have any advantage possible.
Not having a business model clearly written down does not make you less of a professional, but it lowers your chances of success. It is like writing a business plan: every business should have one, not because it is imperative, but because it helps understanding your business better.
Having a Business Model means having clarity in what you provide to whom.

Business model for dummies

The creation of a proper business model can take time and knowledge, and we can help you should you like. We will underline the few key elements of a Business Model, in a simple and easy to understand way. What are the things you need to know and write down to create your business model?

  1. who are your customers?
    For whom are you creating value. Are you creating value for mothers who want photos of their family or for women in their twenty who wants to see themselves beautiful? Be specific!
  2. what is the value you provide?
    Saying “photographs” won’t do any good. What are the customers’ problem your values solve? Which products you sell that are valuable to them and why?
  3. how do you reach your customers?
    do they see their photographs online, or do you prefer a direct, personal contact? Is your business mainly face-to-face or not?
  4. what relations you want with your customers?
    how do you want to maintain the rapport with every type of customer you have? how much time and money you want to invest in making sure they remain loyal customers?
  5. what is your revenue stream?
    You may be focusing on selling digital images, or maybe you specialise in selling big canvases. This is where you decide for what your customers pay.
  6. what do you need to make your business run?
    You should focus on the activities and the resources you need to implement to provide the value to your customers. It can be marketing, photographing, post processing, computers… everything you need, material or not, to make this happen
  7. who are your suppliers and partners?
    do you need someone to print your photographs, or do you print them on your own? Who is doing the retouching?
  8. what are your costs?
    everything goes down to how much you spend to keep your business afloat. Do the math!


Why should you write the business model down?

Latin said “Verba Volant, Scripta Manent“, which means “spoken words are forgotten, written words remain“. Putting all your ideas black on white will create clarity, will create a (hopefully well thought) canvas you can look at every time you need to refresh your mind. There will be moments or customers that will bring you to the verge of bending your model, which may be a mistake for your business. Stop and look at your customers, your values, your propositions and costs: that is your business,and having everything black on white is simple and long lasting! Moreover, writing it will dispel some fears, will cast lights in parts of the business you may not have seen before.
Yes, a business model will help you to reach the customers you want better.

Looking for someone to help writing your Business Model or Business Plan? Get in touch for a one2one online course. We can help you putting the first steps right!

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