Let Santa Put a Line of Credit in Your Stocking?
I used to occasionally write a photography business oriented posts for another blog and some of you seemed to enjoy reading them. So today, I’m starting a little experiment; let’s call it Business Fridays and I’ll provide a few tips that I’ve learned over the years on the business, not craft, of photographer. If you like this new addition let me know, if you hate it tell me that too because I’ll kill the feature. Reader request brought back Model Mondays after it went on hiatus so I listen to what this log’s readers have to say and adjust the content accordingly—JFF
Here it is with just fifteen (depending on your state’s “blue laws”) shopping days before Christmas and your balance sheet is pretty much set in rapidly hardening concrete. Let’s hope you’ve been nice and not naughty and didn’t overdo spending. I’m not talking about the blue Nintendo Wii you bought from the scalper over to the Wal-Mart parking lot last week. It’s too easy to get caught up in the trappings of success when you haven’t quite made it yet. Yeah, I know TurboTax told you if you bought that British Racing Green Land Rover Uncle Sam is gonna kick back two hundred bucks on each lease payment but it didn’t tell you who was going to send the $900 payment each month while you wait for the tax break to kick in.
If you don’t already know this, have a sign a placed it above your desk that reads: Nothing kills a photography operation faster than a high debt load. Yet there are times when you need to spend money and there’s no income. If you don’t already have a line of credit with your bank, now is the time to get one. You need to whip a Business Plan together before your banker looses the Christmas spirit and tightens credit on business loans.
Don’t blow that line of credit on goodies. I watched one talented photographer get a line of credit and spend it on non-essential items that made him look successful but he didn’t have anything left when the business hit a slack period. Later, I watched the Sheriff padlock his office doors and the IRS post notices for not paying his tax bills but boy his custom made furniture looked great through the glass doors covered with notices from his landlord shutting him down. Don’t let this happen to you.
Even the smallest line of credit the bank will grant is better than wondering how you’re going to meet expenses after the holidays. My original business line of credit was $5,000 and you would have thought it was $500,000 because of the effect it had on my business. A line of credit means you don’t have to put off paying bills to your vendors. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you start treating your vendors the way some of our clients treat us. Believe me, you don’t want to be that kind of photographer.
I’ll leave you with a Christmas thought that Ben Franklin should have said—“A penny spent is a penny that’s long gone.”