Anyone can tell you what works for them, but you have to know you business inside and out if you really want to grow and understand your business.
How well do you know your photography business? I mean really KNOW your business. It's easy to remember the big sales or get caught up in that one client who made a stink about your prices and make you rethink your entire pricing system. But do you have a system in place or better yet a software to actually track everything about your business?
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you know how much your cost of goods are for each product?
How much you make per hour?
How much your expenses are?
What your cost of sales percentage is?
How much you spend on marketing?
Do you know your average sale for each session and product line?
How much do you pay in taxes each quarter?
What is your best selling/most profitable product?
What is your best selling session?
What is your most profitable school?
Do you set goals for your business? Goals on how many sessions of each product line you offer combined with a goal for an average sale of each of those product lines.
Can you pull up a table or graph to compare and see your business history or sales averages?
If you said no to any of the questions above, then the harsh reality is that you don't really know your business. And this is only a short list of the things you should know. I don't want to come off harsh, but without knowing these things about your business, how do you expect to improve or grow your business?
How can you meet your goals if you don’t have this important info at your fingertips? If you don't know these numbers at a push of a button, how can you make changes during the year to save your business? Waiting until your taxes are done at the end of the year to know your numbers can be a big mistake.
The information above is invaluable to your business and the future of your business. I'm a numbers freak; I like to know everything about my business. By tracking my numbers, I knew that I was much more profitable photographing high school seniors instead of weddings. The dollar per hour I make on a senior session was much more so I scaled back shooting weddings and put more marketing and effort into booking more senior sessions. Because I analyzed my numbers, I don't shoot weddings anymore. I have a better focus on seniors, not to mention I don't work on the weekend anymore...Bonus!!
The good news is that their is software that can help you track your business. Some are even catered to the professional photographer. I personally use SuccessWare. I've used SuccessWare for many years and I love how powerful it is. I use it everyday to schedule, invoice, track, send auto emails reminders and much more. I also use it to track my expenses, balance my checking account, generate sales tax payments, set goals for each year, figure out my cost of goods, view profit and loss statements, compare past years sales and so much more. I also love how it integrates with ProSelect for my projection sales. I would be lost without it.
Now, this is not a blog post to promote SuccessWare. I don't get anything from them for writing this blog post. If you know me, you know that if I like a product and feel it will help a studio, I will pass on the info. I want to help you succeed.
Here is a very short list of some popular management software that you can look into. This list isn't definitive, much more exist. Some only do invoicing, and others only offer scheduling options.
So many to pick from!!! I know it can be overwhelming and this list doesn't even cover them all. Check out Capterra. It's a website that compares several software companies to help you decide on what company might work best for your needs. Here are some photography software programs compared: http://www.capterra.com/photography-studio-software/
Do your homework, talk to the companies listed above at a photography convention, ask other photographers what they use, do a test trial of the software. Look them over and pick one that can do the most for your studio.
Remember running a business is more than taking pretty pictures. Having a software that can take the pain out of running a business means more time to enjoy doing the things you enjoy in your business.
If you would like to be notified of my FREE upcoming webinars all about running a successful Photography business, sign up here: Seniors Unlocked
Also join the free Seniors Unlocked Facebook Group Page for daily info and inspiration. Make sure you have photography listed in your profile, or you won't be accepted into the group. This keeps weed out the spammers.