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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:09 PM   #1
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Did you make a business plan?

Hey there,
I've been looking into starting a wedding/event videography business and have been working on a business plan to take to the bank for quite a while now. I was wondering if any of you may have also made a plan that was successful for you and that you might be willing to share. I do not intend to plagiarize it, I'd just like to get a general sense of the layout you used and make sure I'm not missing part of the plan or the business itself that I will need. Exact numbers and anything you don't want to share doesn't need to be included. It would be greatly appreciated, and I'd be happy to share my plan with you when it's completed. So let me know if you can help me out, you can e-mail the plan to black_ice044@hotmail.com - Also, if you have any advice to someone new to the business let me know!
Thanks,
Matt
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:40 PM   #2
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I wrote a business plan but never took it to the bank. I believe the whole process is valuable rather or not the main purpose is financing. Anything that forces you to answer questions about where you see your business going is valuable.

When I wrote mine I used this as a model: http://www.bplans.com/sample_busines...summary_fc.cfm

It's photography, not videography, but of the free samples on the site I believe that one fits the best.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:52 PM   #3
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you might want to read this thread.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=115524
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Old March 19th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #4
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I posted a link and instructions for a profit optimization tool you might find useful for validating some of your assumptions re resources and pricing. It's at http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=111473

Even if you don't go to the bank for a loan the BP is a good idea. Lots of businesses are slow to get off the ground because the management starts birddogging everything that looks like an opportunity rather than executing a well thought out plan.

Good luck with your venture.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 08:52 AM   #5
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I know I sound like a broken record, but PLEASE don't go into debt to start a business. Use the bank for its original purpose, to hold your money for you. That's all. Now, the business plan is a great idea. I really should get to that as soon as I can stop all of this editing :) PLEASE don't get a loan PLEASE. Do it with cash or its a bad idea...
Bill
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Old March 20th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #6
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Check out www.score.org , it is an organization of retired executives who help people start businesses the right way. There is probably a chapter near you. The service is free or very low cost.

While it is smart to create a business plan as you getting started, I'll second what Bill said, it is a bad idea to go to the bank and get a loan. Start small, pay cash upfront, and reinvest your profits in better equipment as you grow.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 09:48 AM   #7
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I disagree to some extent on going into debt for a business. There are varying extremes of loans for businesses and many factors to take into consideration. If you are starting out, I agree with Bill in that you should not go to a bank and obtain a huge loan in order to by the latest and greatest in equipment. In order for a business to start and or grow, you need capital. If you have another job, you will most likely use some of that income to support your venture. Do plenty of market research and keep in mind that some of your own money or the banks money should be spent on marketing. Debt can be a huge burden if you don't select it wisely. It's best to have an accountant tell you what your best options are in terms of short term loans or whether a lease is a better option. Most of the time, paying cash for something is usually better. An example of good use of debt is if for instance you have booked future weddings and lets say that number is 20. Your first wedding is approaching and you need 2 new cameras. You may not have the cash now to purchase those. In my opinion this is a case where you would want to evaluate the need to get a short term BANK loan or lease....Stay away from credit card debt!

As far as a business plan....I think it is a good idea to have some type of plan. Most entrepreneurs have their plan written down in some notebook and most hate the formal structure of doing a business plan. These primarily are done to obtain large amounts of financing. We sat down and did a skeleton model of a business plan....in pencil...and made changes as we moved through the business cycle and we are still making changes.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #8
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I might be the worst business guy in this forum. I don't even really know what a business plan is or how to write one out. All I know is that I completely agree with John Moon about debt. The guy I worked for before going full time with weddings ran a very successful production company shooting with Varicams and doing 6 figure jobs and that was his one piece of advice for me when I told him I was leaving, "stay out of debt at the beginning if at all possible".

I went full time with weddings about 6 months back, but I had built my gear up over the previous 4 or 5 years while working full time. You don't need the latest and greatest in our line of work, be careful about being sucked into that trap. Having a $7000 camera system won't make you a better story teller or shooter, and having a loaded 8 core Mac with FCP studio won't make you a better editor.

I like to think we do pretty decent work and I'm shooting with an FX7, VX2000 and HV20, editing on an ancient dual 867 mac running FCP5. On this level of production work guys, it's NOT the tools, it's the other stuff.

Advertise, go shake hands, do as good of work as you possibly can when starting out and avoid burdening yourself with loads of debt that will be paid off right about when your gear is old and useless. That's my advice.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #9
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John,
In my opinion, you should try to shoot with what you have, and don't book unless you have something. Debt always means risk, and risk and business don't mix. We should always try to seperate need from want. Want will bankrupt you if it is not kept in check.
Bill
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #10
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I understand your concerns about going into debt as a young business, but I disagree that business and risk don't mix. In my opinion and many others, business is risk. A young business can also fail by being short-handed a few thousand dollars, it's all relative. It takes a certain amount of capital for a business to make a sufficient income, and if you balance it right it can be very successful.

In my case it would be impossible to begin operating as a "business" without this extra capital for many many years. I'm very confident in my skill in filming, editing, and management. I've gone through the numbers over and over, at the very worst I hit my back-out point, sell my equipment for much less than it's worth, and am out somewhere between three to four thousand dollars. I will not have to file bankruptcy nor will I be ruined with debt for years to come. I would still be able to afford the payments with my other job, it would just lower my standard of living for a year or so. At this point I am prepared to take this risk and am more concerned with receiving the necessary funding than losing it.

Aside from this, I appreciate the given examples of plans and input. I still have yet to see an actual event videography plan though. If anyone has or knows of one I would be very grateful if you shared it
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Old March 20th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
I know I sound like a broken record, but PLEASE don't go into debt to start a business. Use the bank for its original purpose, to hold your money for you. That's all. Now, the business plan is a great idea. I really should get to that as soon as I can stop all of this editing :) PLEASE don't get a loan PLEASE. Do it with cash or its a bad idea...
Bill
For some of us a loan is the only way. I am starting a "weekend" Wedding Videography business to take advantage of my years experience in production to make money to get OUT of debt.

For me the math was simple. I just took out an $11,000 loan at 7% interest for 60 months with a payment of $218 per month.

With than money I am getting two Sony V1U's, tripods, etc, etc. It will not take much "success" as I build my business to make that payment. The only other expenses are my time as my editing suite is in my home office.

If nothing else I can rent a Sony V1 for $200-250 per day based on my research. So one day's rental per month duing the week days when I am not using it would make my monthly note. Of course I would rather not rent out the cameras and hope I will not need to take that route. It is a backup plan though!
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Old March 20th, 2008, 07:53 PM   #12
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What I meant by my statement is that business includes enough natural risk. We don't need to add any additional risk because we want it now. I still maintain that the focus on "payment" instead of principle will find you a way out of that plan. Believe me, I had very little capital when I started. I worked enough weddings to buy my VX2100 while borrowing equipment from my competitors, and people I had met in this business. I worked with a local company here for about 2 years before I started. I am now full time in video and have never carried debt as part of my business. In fact, one of the reasons why a recession coming doesn't bother me is that I have no debt but my mortgage, and can survive on very little per month. Before I got into business, I had all of my awesome used equipment bought and paid for, and before I quit my day job, I had paid off 43k of personal debt in 2 years without touching my business revenue. The secret was I stopped focussing so much on payments & interest rates, and started focussing on getting where I wanted to be slowly and deliberately. Today I have money in the bank, no debt, and enough business booked to carry me through the rest of the year. This is just to say that this is what I want for all of you becuase I know it can be done.
Bill
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