4. Consider a Franchise
Running a good franchise is a lot less work than starting completely from scratch. There are a number of photo booth operators who have different franchise models which can help you immensely. A good franchisor will have successful run their own business and have taken those learnings and systems and written them all down so you only have to follow their lead. It's generally a little more expensive than doing it all yourself but the time and mistakes that are saved by going this route make it an extremely attractive option to consider. Doing it this way means you wont have to worry about coming up with a lot of the intellectual property yourself and can piggy back off the franchisors ongoing success and marketing. As per the market research you have already done only consider aligning yourself with a franchise that allows you to offer something new to your local photo booth market.
In researching this avenue you will additionally need to consider commission and marketing costs involved.
Unless you have gone the franchise route you now need to align your branding so as to paint a clear picture to the market place of who you are and what you do. There are a number of facets to consider:
- Business Name
- Website Address
- Website Design
- Promotional Materials
If you are creative or budget conscious you can likely come up with solutions to most of the above yourself. I would however suggest you if you can that you employ the services of experts to help you where ever you can. A really great business name, website and marketing strategy can set up a business for immediate and continued success. Choose poorly and you can put yourself at a disadvantage before you've even started. Re-branding is possible but very costly if you realise too late that what you came up with is not working.
Once you have chosen a business name the next step is to check no other photo booth rental business (or anyone else) is already using it or something too similar which is going to cause adverse confusion or problems. The Australian Business Register has an online search so you can check. Once you've settled on one you can use the same service to register it or you can get your accountant to help you.
You will also need to register a domain name for your website. There are a number of reputable Australian domain name service providers online. Be sure to shop around as the same domain name can be cheaper from one provider to to the next.
Of all the experts you can engage to help you set up your business a good web developer is probably the most valuable. It's also going to be one of the biggest expenses other than the purchasing of the photo booths or any vehicles. Having a professional slick website is going to attract a lot more business than taking the cheap option which is a common mistake many new to business make. As a photo booth operator you generally don't have a traditional bricks and mortar shop front so the website fills this role for you. Imagine walking in to a retail store which was messy, hard to find things and didn't put any effort to displaying the products they had. You're unlikely to want to buy anything from them and you certainly wouldn't tell anyone else to but you might tell people how bad they were. That's exactly what it's like when you set up a cheap or poorly thought out website to save a few dollars. You could be offering the best product and service in the world but if your website doesn't give that impression then you're setting your business up for failure.
The text for your website will likely need to be thought up by yourself but be sure to pay a copywriter or proof reader to check/improve upon what you come up with. There is nothing more unprofessional than badly worded text with spelling and grammar mistakes and whilst you may believe yourself to be a good writer it's best not to take any chances.
Keep in mind it can take months for web developers to build your website depending on how involved it is so be sure to start this process early.
If you have chosen a full service web development company they will also be able to help design your logo and print materials (business cards, flyers, brochures etc.). Unless you're skilled in graphic design it's best to leave it to the professionals.
6. Customer Relationship Management /Accounting
This is often overlooked but it's something that needs to be given consideration as good systems ensure you run a good business and keeps mistakes to a minimum.
A CRM (Customer Relations Management) system is any software or application used to organise all your interactions with your customers and their booking. Accounting software allows you to manage all financial transactions to do with your business and make life much easier come tax time.
If you only have one or two photo booths you can probably get away with a custom spreadsheet and a calendar to keep track of bookings and payments. However as soon as you start to grow or if you're starting off with a number of machines you will quickly realise you're going to need something a little more sophisticated. Talk to your accountant and research options. Some photo booth manufacturers and franchise models even offer custom software to do this.
Whatever system you use its definitely very helpful to be able to store it in the cloud so that you can access information from anywhere any time on any device. The last thing you need is having it all on your hard drive and encountering a computer malfunction.
By now you should pretty much know all the costs involved and can do up another spreadsheet to work out how much this new photo booth rental business is going to cost. It's so important to have a budget set and finalised as much as you can to avoid hidden costs. This can only be achieved if you have thoroughly researched everything involved in setting up your photo booth hire business.
Now you've just got to pay for it all. Get as much advice from your accountant or financial services institution about the best way to fund your new business.
Many photo booth manufacturers and some franchise arrangements will offer you financing on some of your set up costs.
9. Get Boothing!
You're up and running so all that's left to do is to have fun running your photo booth hire / photo booth rental business and get boothing!
Good luck and dont forget to join Photobooth Finder to ensure you get found more often.
Disclaimer: While every caution has been taken to provide readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.
(Photo Booth Blogger: Justin Jowett)
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