This is the eighth blog post from a new series to help you create a business plan in 2014 using our guide The 2014 Photo Business Plan Workbook. Download it here.
Step #8: Create an Advisory Group
Chances are, you’ve been hanging out with a lot of photographers in the past several years, and the result of those interactions is probably a narrow understanding of how other people in other industries build successful businesses. Creative consultant Luke Mysse suggests building an advisory board for your business composed of people you respect in other industries. Take them out to lunch once a quarter and solicit honest feedback about improving your business.
The advisory group might help you create milestones between each meeting, have you examine different aspects of the business that you never considered, or might even suggest non-work-related items (e.g. your health) to consider.
When it comes to self-evaluation, we’re often too my-opic to assess our own strengths and weaknesses. The same could be said of a small business. Larger businesses or investor-based businesses often have a Board which provides guidance and constructive criticism. There’s no reason why a small business or sole proprietor shouldn’t benefit from the same dynamics.
Example: Here are some people you might consider for your advisory group:
- Accountant/CFO: If you looked at your business strictly by the numbers, would you come up with different conclusions?
- Marketer: Marketing is fundamental to growing any business. A marketer can help you stay focused on growing your funnel and improving conversion.
- Sales Person: Sales people are a different breed. When you’re unafraid of the answer “no,” how will your business change?
- Graphic Designer: Get a second opinion on the design and flow of your site. Does it showcase your images front and center or is it cluttered with text?
- MBA: MBAs often learn through case studies from a variety of industries. Could your business benefit by cross fertilization?
- Internet entrepreneur: Rapid growth and product development provide a very different colored lens to view business.
It’s a common management philosophy to hire people smarter than you. Similarly, seek an advisory panel who can challenge and inspire you. You should never come away from an advisory meeting thinking that it was a waste of time because if you feel that way, then it most certainly was.
Want to know know more about creating an advisory group along with other steps you can take to build a better photo business this year? Download the Workbook today!