Let’s face it, most photographers didn’t get an MBA and decide that they wanted to open a photography business. In fact, it’s the opposite. We know little to nothing about business, but we forge ahead by attending the latest photography seminars, buying the newest gear, and continually trying to stay ahead of the curve in the photography world. However, thinking that improving photography skills alone will automatically improve your business is a fallacy.
School and sports portraits have long been a tradition, and high-volume photographers are fortunate to have a baked-in market where the demand stays fairly stable. A well-run, high-volume photography business has much more staying power than a traditional portrait studio. It’s much easier to skip on the family portrait during tough times, and contrary to what one would think, that makes the parents more inclined to purchase the more affordable school or sports portraits of their children.
Whether you’re looking to expand your current high-volume business or thinking of entering this very lucrative segment of the photography industry, you must ensure that you have processes, principles, and practices in place that optimize every part of your high-volume business.
You cannot build a great company on a flawed foundation. And if you’re losing a penny on every transaction, you can’t make it up with more volume.
Here is an excerpt from our Launch Announcement that exemplifies this approach:
“Our recent study revealed that it takes the average photographer 12 hours of labor to post an event for online sales that had 1,000 subjects, and resulted in 4,000 images to connect to their customers. The study also revealed the average photographer valued an hour of their time at $45. Resulting in a cost of $540 of post-production expenses.
How long would Snapizzi take to process and post the same amount of images? About 20 minutes! And the cost to use Snapizzi? Just $39 per month — a savings of $500 and 12 hours for just this one Project.”
The average Snapizzi user reclaims 25+ hours per month.
Without Snapizzi, high-volume photographers are faced with hours of tedious work that include:
- Manual process of recording image numbers
- Renaming image files
- Creating subject galleries
- Adding class photos to subject galleries
- Setting passwords for each gallery
- Getting login information to parents
- Manually assembling images and data for school service items
- Plus many other tasks depending on the photographer’s workflow
You’re doing a disservice to your business if you only look at the bottom line number and don’t have a deep understanding of how you arrived there. Think of your business as a race car, and your mission is to make it faster by shaving every possible thousandth of a second off of each lap. Focusing solely on your photography skills is like having a race car and only paying attention to the paint job. It may be a world-class paint job, but it won’t win if the engine is leaking oil and the tires are bald.
Using the results of the survey, we can calculate that the post-processing cost per image before using Snapizzi was $0.135 per image ($540/4000). Using Snapizzi reduced the cost per image to $0.001 per image ($39/4000). A staggering improvement of 13,400%!
“Validated learning” is a term widely used in the Startup community, but it can — and should be — applied to every business. Validated learning is simply the act of making decisions about your business based on data that you collect. By consistently monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in all areas of your business, you’ll be able to make informed decisions and accurately measure the impact of the changes you make. These metrics will allow you to identify inefficiencies in your business — and fix them. It’s a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop that allows you to continually improve. If you can measure it, you can improve it. And when you start tracking and seeing your progress, it becomes gamified. And that’s fun!
Do you know what your average sale price is per customer? Per league or sport? Do you know your profit margins? What about staffing costs? What is the most profitable product you sell? The least? Do you know where your customers are coming from? Do you know open rates on your marketing e-mails?
Decide what KPIs are important to you and start tracking your performance.
The most important thing to know is what is driving the numbers you see when you assess the health of your business. We use Geckoboard to aggregate all of our different data sources into one dashboard that allows us to constantly monitor our growth and performance. You can even start with just a simple spreadsheet — but the point is to start!
Nothing illustrates this principle better than the documentary, Hitting the Apex. Narrated by Brad Pitt, it’s a remarkable look into the world of MotoGP racing. A world which you don’t need to be a part of to appreciate — and be inspired by — the relentless pursuit of winning that these teams and riders possess. The relentless pursuit to be the BEST! Grand Prix motorcycles are purpose-built racing machines. Races are won (and records fall) by thousandths of a second! Everything matters.
How good do you want your business to be?
Software built to automate the workflow for high-volume photographers. Try it free!