Do you wake up knowing what you’re going to do for your small business everyday? If you’re getting your day started without a clear plan of things to do, then you might not have a clear enough vision for your business. Having clarity to see the future of your business will give you a road map of things to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
After planning and executing a ton of goals in the last few months while launch my business, it’s become pretty clear to me that in order to have a successful business, a vision of the future and a long term plan are key.
The are a few things that have worked for me a long the way and I noticed how the steps to creating a vision can be used for nearly any goal. So, I thought it would be fun to show how planning and styling a photo shoot is just like creating a vision for your business. Here are the steps to creating a vision for your business:
Plan ahead / gather inspiration
There’s one thing I’ve learned in my business and trade, its that you plan ahead for success. When planning a styled photo shoot for the Ivorymix [Shop] or the monthly Free stock photo packs, I always know what I will be creating before I even take my camera out. I can see it in my mind before hand because I’ve planned every detail.
The color palette, the props, the background, how many final shots I want, etc.
Just like a styled photoshoot, planning your business requires inspiration and understanding what it is you want from it. Do you want to help people? who are those people? Who is doing what you want to do and are they doing it well?
Creating a vision for your business requires planning ahead and seeing the bigger picture. In order to plan ahead, you should be asking yourself the following questions
What service or product does my business provide and what needs does it fill?
Who are the potential customers for my product or service and why will they purchase it from me?
How will I reach your potential customers? And,
Where will I get the financial resources to start your business?
Choose a time frame
Every time I plan a photo shoot, I have a good idea of exactly how many final looks and photos I want to create. This helps me understand how long it’s going to take to edit them, launch them in the shop, and etc. Since I mostly use natural light, I also know what time of day I will be setting up, how long it will take me to set up and how long the photo shoot will last.
So, when creating a vision for your business, you should understand how long it’s going to take to make your vision a reality and far out you should be planning.
There’s nothing like starting a seasonal business in the wrong season. or planning everything just to launch your products at the wrong time.
Do only & repeat only what you do best
You probably have many skills and when starting a business, it can be difficult to choose just one thing to focus on, but it’s imperative that whatever you focus on, you can and will do it well. You’re not doing anyone favors if you offer 100 different products or services, but their all just so-so. Hone in on something you do well and be amazing at that. You will be amazed at how focused and successful you become when you end up being the go-to business for that one thing.
I started photography as a hobby. My career since college in 2000 has been as an Interior Designer. These two things (photography and interior design)are related, but I don’t do both in my small business. I didn’t choose to create a design business because I’ve done it for years.
Photography is something that I honestly do for myself. As a kid, I wanted to be an artist, and today I feel that photography is my art. I may have always been in a creative field, but working for clients all the time makes it less than enjoyable every time. There’s a good balance and it’s my goal to improve my art (photography), but ultimately create it for myself first and then do some commissioned work through custom branding packages. However, that’s really it. Besides occasionally teaching tips and tricks for online small businesses, these two items (photos for me and photos for you) is my business.
So, when creating a vision for your business and listing all the things you do. Keep it simple!
Mock it up / Write a draft / Review and edit
Creating a vision for your business is challenging and rewarding work, but it takes a few drafts. You won’t get it right the first time and that goes for styling a photo shoot. Often times, I’ll take a photo 3 or 4 times, all while adjusting and shifting one or two things. Because I use natural light most of the time, I pay close attention to shadows and glare. Then, once the photo shoot is over, I upload everything into photo shop and light room and begin the edits.
It’s rare when a plan is perfectly executed the first time and that’s why you should plan for drafts and edits of your business plan and vision.
These are the same reasons why you shouldn’t just sit down and create a vision for your business once. In fact, plan on doing it at least 3 times a year. This will ensure that you’re adjusting your vision as you grow and learn, but don’t completely start over every time (this is key). Plan to make small adjustments.
Get input and feedback
Share your ideas with friends and family (maybe even a few strangers) before letting your plan take motion. This is something I struggle with because I dislike criticism .. a lot! But, it truly helps to receive feedback before your spend a lot of time doing anything.
People who are closest to you can sometimes say and do things simply because they want to spare your feelings. Don’t share your business vision with those people, if they can’t provide honest feedback.
You are looking for and need the truth! So, seek people out who will give it to you.
That’s why I suggest sharing your vision with strangers. Online Facebook groups for small businesses and bloggers is a good place to start. Before I spend a lot of time doing anything, I tend to let sneak peaks out in our facebook group or others before I launch a new product. I am also known to send out surveys to get a better understanding of everyone’s needs.
If you aren’t a member of our Ivorymix Club on facebook, you can join here.
Once you’ve done everything you can in planning your business vision, it will finally be time to share it with the world. If you’ve done your work, you’ll be ready. I share the free stock photo packs once a month, and load up the shop with fresh new styled photos about every two weeks. It’s all part of the business vision and the future.