In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2014. Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Shauck of Jane Shauck Photography who will be leading a session Tuesday afternoon called Year One of a Storefront Studio - The True Costs and Benefits
Using Technology for Business Planning
If you have been a photographer for very long you've probably heard of or are using a number of popular online tools to help you in your business...we use ShootQ for our database, invoicing, and our communications hub; Madmimi for our email blasts and promotions; Quickbooks for our bookkeeping and financial reporting; Hootsuite for social media. However, I'm always on the lookout for additional apps to help us with the other parts of our business.
I love the beginning of the year for business planning and this year we've added two new apps:
Enloop is a web software for making business plans...we use the free verison. What's nice is you can enter your average sale and how many sessions you are going to do for each category of your business...weddings, portraits, commercial...or as specific as newborns, seniors, etc. and it will automatically calculate your total sales...this is great for playing with the numbers. You also enter your expense budget to calculate the full picture. Then it guides you through all the non-financial parts of a business plan...your marketing plan, your labor plan, etc. Download a pdf of your report and you've got a complete business plan! We always do this every year in a word document, but now all the number crunching is automated.
Habit List is an iphone app I've added in the last few weeks. Put in things you should be doing every day or every few days and then check it every day or set alerts to keep you on it! I have trouble turning work off, so I have simple things in there like walk the dog and play with my kids, and some healthy things like stop eating sugar!!! :)
Some old favorites that really help are:
Things - This is our to-do list...it's $49.99 and we can organize all our tasks by project, due date, person working on it, etc. I found ShootQ didn't organize the task list in the same way my brain wants to look at it. I want to see everything that needs editing at once, everything that needs blogging, etc. I print this out to keep with me and cross off but I love that it syncs with my iphones and ipad. I've finally trained myself that if I have a thought that something needs to get done, I enter it in Things immediately vs. keeping it in my brain or writing it on a soon to be lost post-it.
Pulse - Following a bunch of photography, business, and fun blogs? This free app syncs it all in one place, has a mini thumbnail of each blog post, and is easy to see what posts you'd like to read. I've been using this for a few years and love it.
Evernote - We are still relative newbies to Evernote, a cloud-based software that is for storing and organizing anything you can think of. We've incorporated it into our business in several ways: we use a ScanSnap scanner to scan in our receipts...it simultaneously puts a copy on our hard drive and a copy in Evernote, then we can easily tag it and throw out the paper copy. We do the same thing with business cards. We upgraded from the free version to the $45/year version so that it scans faster and the physical document is searchable. We also have a "notebook" within Evernote for marketing ideas...see something cute on the internet, we can "clip it" and put it there. Pick up something...we can scan it in and store it there. Have a thought...we can write an online note and file it there. We've put our procedures manual in a notebook on Evernote.
We've also added Evernote Hello to our phones to easily capture business cards while on the road...you take a photo of the card and it automatically goes into our Evernote business card "notebook".
Mint - Mint is worth checking out for your personal finances...it's a free software that consolidates all your bank accounts, credit card accounts, loans, mortgages, and investments in one place. It sucks in the transactions from each site and automatically recognizes most transactions and categorizes it so you can create a budget and easily track it. For instance, if it sees "Whole Foods" it automatically categorizes it as groceries. You will still have to categorize some unknown entries each month but after you get it set, it works well. It also tracks your net worth so you can see how you are doing over all...and you've probably read that people who track their goals reach them faster and more often!!! Love it!
Really looking forward to seeing everyone at Inspire 2014!!!! We opened a studio in 2013 and I'll be talking about the realities of that first year!