Juggling the day to day running of a photography business can take time & efforts on your part. This is the work which no one likes, paperwork, invoices, etc. Important thing is not to replicate and duplicate things, this takes up more time than we realise and lost time equals losing money. Every business (photography or not) needs to have a system in place. Keeping track of your contacts, equipment, jobs, sales, purchases, marketing, diary & products and a lot more.
Many photographers use a spreadsheet to run their business. Spreadsheets are fine if you want to crunch numbers and perform automatic calculations, create charts, ‘what if’ scenarios or keep track of simple list of data. However, you will end up entering the same values of information into multiple spreadsheets. This is not time efficient and you need to update different files if you are tracking related information in several spreadsheets. When you use a spreadsheet, viewing the set of data is not easy and quite often requires lots of scrolling to view it!!
Alternative to spreadsheets is a database management system which will simplify your work and allow you more time to do whatever you want, whether being behind the camera or with your family! A database will help you manage all your day to day business tasks with ease, answer questions and solve problems, link related data, view data in different ways and a lot lot more…
Here is what you need to do simplify your day to day tasks:
1. Keeping track of your contacts i.e leads, customers, suppliers,
2. Sending quotations and confirmations of bookings in a professionally laid out PDF format
3. Manage your work flow tasks / reminders for things to do on specific dates
4. Raising sales invoices / inputting purchase invoices
5. Linking expenses / purchases to jobs for precise cost analysis
6. Sending / creating delivery notes to clients
7. Sending remittance notes to suppliers for payment
8. Email marketing to get your message across
9. Keeping track of all your camera / lenses / software serial numbers
10. Mail merging and sending letters to clients & prospects
11. Creating reports to see your sales, purchases, expenses
12. Forecasting figures v actual figures
13. Keeping track of appointments with a diary
14. and a lot more…..
Can you imagine trying to do all the above with spreadsheets, you cannot. It is possible but you will end up replicating and duplicating things and is very time consuming. What you need is to get or create your own database which will speed up your administrative tasks. If you are good with programming, you can create simple databases, but this will be time-consuming for you or you can buy an off-the-shelf program which is made for photographers.
So if you are starting a new photography business or in need of getting organised. I recommend you get a database and see how it will transform your business.