Almost-Year-End Photography Business Checklist


Back-to-school is here for many.  

For parent/business owners we are sad to see them go but are heaving a sigh of secret relief that we can catch back up with our business affairs.

You are not alone, Forbes released a statistic this year that over 52% of small businesses are home-based. So that means there is a high probability that many of those owners had kids underfoot this summer as well.

Go ahead. You can sigh. Little sadness. Little relief.

Be comforted to know you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, while you now have a few more hours in the day to focus on business, so many are going to do just enough to get the “to-do” list done and will ignore two very important aspects of growth: planning and education.

 

We are winding down this year and starting to plan for next.

 

This means a few things:

*If you’ve been in business, it’s time to start reevaluating for the next year. Have you grown so much that your business needs a business structure change? Perhaps for tax benefits?

*If you have been thinking of going into business, perhaps first of the year is your time to do it. Have you done your plan? Do you know what you need to do?

 

To give you some context, here is a look inside my almost-year-end-checklist that I run through every year for business:

 

1. Tax benefits 
After tallying up my year-to-date monies, I ask myself: Have I grown over last year? Have I met my goal? If so, are there any tax benefits I’m missing out on? (Such as changing to an S Corp election for my LLC.)

 

2. Taxes
Are all my required taxes caught up? Check. Been paying enough into my pay-as-you-go based on my estimated earnings? Umm…perhaps I need to adjust my payments.

 

3. Insurance 
Have I grown so much that I may need to increase my policy limits? Or acquire another policy that I’ve been saving for?

 

4. Planning
Have I met my non-financial goals? If not, why not? If yes, what can I add to next year? Reevaluate (or start) next years plans.

 

5. Budget 
How is my profit margin looking? If too low of a margin, start looking at the costs that are leaking. For example, are there any subscriptions that I could cancel or suspend?

 

6. Collections
Have I sold more than XX of my highest collection? If so, make it my middle and create a larger package; if not, reevaluate why people may not be interested in my highest.

 

7. Evaluations
What is my client feedback like? Review the solicitation for feedback requests. (Hint: this is a permanent part of my business workflow so I always have them handy to review. If they aren’t a permanent part, reach out and ask for evaluations.) Take testimonials and use publicly on social media, website, and other marketing. Take feedback and use internally to against my business. (For example, the feedback may tell me why clients aren’t buying into my largest collection in #6, or will tell me which products they love most).

 

8. Retirement plan
How much have I contributed this year? How much more can I contribute for this calendar year? Am I on target to max out the contribution? If not, research the new year’s limits and adjust my monthly contribution now. (Note: Keeping in mind that you have to adjust your CODB as well)

 

9. Pricing

Have I met my goal each month? If yes, evaluate using the stair-step pricing increase method. For the months, I may not have, why? What external factors happened (time of year, holiday, economic, lack of marketing, etc.?)

 

10. Am I happy? 

If I’m not happy, then major changes need to be done overall. If I’m unhappy with a few things, add them to this checklist to fix.

 

Most of this checklist seems common-sense but sometimes just hearing it from someone else helps. Sure, these are just the highlights of my thought process, but I’m hoping it is enough to get you going as we stare into this almost-end-of-year season.

 

Almost-Year-End Photography Business Checklist







About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, photographer and business consultant for photographers. She is currently helping creative industry professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction. Disclaimer: I am a lawyer but I'm not your lawyer! View my entire disclaimer here

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