It´s not so difficult to start your own photography business if you follow several easy rules
Just as an image with an out-of-focus subject is not likely to be powerful, a photography company with an out-of-focus market is not likely to be powerful either. Some photographers have successfully established a businesses by carefully selecting a niche such as portraiture, event, wedding, advertising, industrial, travel or editorial. It might event be possible to build a business in a non-competitive place where the photographer becomes “the only game in town”. To be the “only game in town”, that is to focus on being the best in a narrow niche, is the goal of focus for all of us who happen to be in a more competitive business environment. Years ago I read one of the publications that former Chairman of General Electric, Jack Welch, wrote, “Straight from the Gut”.
Mr. Welch wrote that young managers would ask how to advance their careers to which he would tell them they have to figure out how to get on top of the heap, to be a standout. Well that is what market focus does. It gets us on top of the heap. There is a heap. Getting the right market focus has to consider several factors. The most important three are:
The skills & experience of the photographer, the type of photography we are passionate about, and the demand gap that the passion and skills can sell to.
Passion is the most important of the three, but this article is about finding the demand gap. Demand Gap is an excess of demand over supply. (It is not the most important of the three, passion is.) Getting to the demand gap happens when business people commit to finding some combination of a unique offering that stands out from the heap of competitors, and the cunning to craft a message with sufficient volume and appeal to be understood. A good first or early step that can lead to finding a demand gap is segmenting the market. Here´s an example: Start with the passion and skills that are luckily on the same page – still life. Is there a subject that is best? At this point, lets leave it at anything that fits on a table. Then, dissect the geographic coverage of the business. Is it a neighborhood, city, county, country, continent or the globe? If you live in the US, let´s call it Eastern US. Then is it retail (B2C) or commercial (B2B)? In the retail, still life could be fine art or advertising. In commercial it could be advertising, or paper goods like cards and calendars, or stock, and more. Let’s say advertising. Then, what about beverages? I am sure you have the point now. So you keep going until you have dissected and dissected until you get to a very narrow definition of the offering. Once you have that, want to assess the supply and demand and be sure that you have uncovered a niche that fit the skills and passion and that are not oversupplied with other photographers. The final questions are; is the market large enough to support your business? And, can you penetrate it quickly enough?
This is just a short introduction to the important questions you really ought to be asking yourself before you commit any money to starting a photography business. For more on this topic I highly recommend Amanda Stocks excellent book which you can get as a convenient e-book on Amazon by clicking on this link.