Do you want to start a videography business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a videography business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample videography business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample videography business marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for videography companies. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a videography business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Videography Business?
If you have always had a thing for recording events either for family or friends and enjoyed doing it, then you might need to turn that hobby of yours into a money making machine by making it a full blown business. One thing with starting a videography business is that you need to acquire several technical skills apart from merely knowing how to record events, while also expressing the creative side of your craft.
However, like any other business, there are different sides to videography and you must first understand them as it will help you know which ones you want to do. Conducting a thorough research into videography as a business is very important. A market research not only allows you to study the business, industry, target market and competitors; it also allows you to identify the type of videography business you intend going into.
Knowing the niche you intend going into will allow you to focus better on delivering the best and standing out from others in your niche. It will also allow you to know how to competitively set your rates in order not to be too expensive or cheap to your target market. You should note that each niche has different technical requirements and so you might likely need to acquire new skills or hone existing ones.
While you might think that you have the basic skills required to start this business, taking practical classes and attending workshops that are related to videography as well as business management and script writing is very important as this will help you to understand what will be demanded of you when you start the business on your own. You might also need to constantly seek advice from other videographers who do not regard you as competition and visit several videography-related blogs and forums in order to be in line with industry trends.
Starting a Videography Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
There has been a dramatic effect on the videographer industry by the technology industry within the five year period of 2006 to 2011. Prior to these five years, video production had been a highly specialized craft that required very expensive equipment but all that has changed as anyone can get the equipment cheap.
However as more businesses are using videos especially on web as a means of reaching out to and engaging their audience, more videographers have started using this as the perfect opportunity to switch their niche and go more into making corporate videos.
Experienced videographers have started increasing in their capabilities as most now shoot videos for their clients while also doing freelance work for large video production companies. This therefore means that videographers of today are doing more in order to remain relevant in the industry and be able to gain more clients.
The way to remain relevant has mostly been via promoting themselves in different ways especially as most have had to compete with large video production companies. Also, initially many videographers used to be just shooters and leave editing for large production companies but nowadays almost all videographers have all gone into video editing.
According to Cisco, more than 80 percent of all traffic on the internet will by 2019 be comprised of video, which is why many industries even those that are non-profit oriented are making use of videos in order to reach more of their customers. Another reason why video consumption has been on an increase is due to the fact that social media platforms and video sharing sites such as Facebook and YouTube have made video consumption increase to 94 percent in 2014.
The videography industry which consists also of post production services has seen its revenue increase tremendously. Revenue that is generated by the video post production services is valued at $6 billion and has been estimated to grow at 3.8 percent between a five year period (2012 to 2017).
There are more than 2,500 video post production businesses in the United States of America employing more than 26,500 people. However, the revenue growth of this industry will be hampered mostly by industries where most organizations have chosen to perform some of the basic post production services internally.
Most consumers are no longer interested in 3D film and as a result have shifted their interest from TV to online content. This has caused many studios to also reposition their client base in order to be able to increase the number of streaming services online.
Also, many advertisers are also requiring editing services for the video they have shot and all these have served to increase the revenue of the video post production industry. The new trend in digital post production services have also caused a need for post production teams that possess high skills and are familiar with new trends.
Entry barriers into this industry has greatly declined especially in recent years and this is due to the increase in affordable and yet highly powerful editing software and hardware. This has allowed most movie and TV producers and basically anyone that can shoot a video to be able to get access to and purchase their own editing software and hardware making them carry out postproduction internally instead of outsourcing or hiring those with these skills. This does not mean all doom and gloom for the industry as there are still some barriers that exist in the industry especially with regards to increasing technical expertise.
Overall, the video production industry is one that allows for moderate capital intensity level especially as there are significant costs that are associated with getting production gear, getting equipment that is suitable for location shots, and also purchasing professional video editing software. However, massive capital expenditures in this industry have been limited as most videographers have resorted to renting the equipment required for shoots for a fraction of its cost.
Starting a Videography Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a videographer cannot be limited to those that throw events or parties and corporate organizations but it can also be expanded to include individuals and nonprofit oriented organizations.
Therefore if you are looking to define the demographics for your videography business, it shouldn’t be limited to just weddings or videos for corporate organizations as advertising has made it possible for videography to be effective in helping individuals, brands and government agencies to be known.
List of Niche ideas Within the Videography Business That You Can Specialize in
The videography industry is not what it used to be and this is due to changing trends in technology and in the tastes of consumers, which is why videographers are seemingly competing with owners of smartphones who are also creative and have little technical skills as well.
Also, the fact that most editing software are largely free or cost next to nothing has had a huge impact on the industry, which is why entrepreneurs in this industry who intend to have an edge have researched on niches that will not only be profitable but that will also make them stand out from the regulars in the industry. It should be noted however that not all niches are profitable.
Therefore, some of the niche areas that you should consider exploring if you intend starting a videography business include;
- Wedding videos
- School events
- Corporate training materials
- Video duplication and or conversion service
- Sports clinics
- Modeling and acting videos
- Musical videos
- Advertisements and promotional videos
The Level of Competition in the Videography Industry
It used to be initially that one’s location was dependent on how one could compete with others and it is still so to a large extent; however, the advent of technology has also made it possible for one to start his or her videography business anywhere and still be able to compete.
Companies have taken to running their videography services in house and those who haven’t have outsourced their video needs to freelancers and no more videography companies. The internet has largely made it possible for more people to pick up the videography skills and compete with videographers that took classes and studied their craft intensely. These new entrants who are mostly freelancers have also crashed rates which customers can be charged. Most of these freelancers work on their own or join online freelancing sites making competition even stiffer.
Therefore, if you are looking to start your own videography business in the United States of America, you should know that you will be facing a lot of stiff competition not only from those offline but majorly from those online as the latter are mostly from other countries.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Videography Industry
In every industry, there are brands that are well known for various reasons ranging from popularity, quality of service, rates and prices, their marketing strategy or how long they have existed in the industry and the videography business is no different even as there is a lot of fragmentation in the industry.
Below are some of the well-known videography brands in the industry especially here in the United States of America;
- Technicolor SA
- Viral Thread
- The LAD Bible
- BuzzFeed’s Tasty
The videography business is no longer seen as one very mysterious business as anyone with a bit of creativity and technical know-how, even children, can learn and start this business. This has therefore made the industry to be in transition as the industry is evolving in order to compete with other industries such as the telecommunication industry where the emergence of smart phones has become a threat to videographers especially those in niches that are not so professional.
Producing videos after making them is also no more as herculean as before as even the editing software is either free or very cheap. This has also made the hardware to become irrelevant as smart phones are not only doing all a camcorder can do and more, they are also becoming more acceptable as most of the viewing public are finding it more difficult to differentiate between the product from a smart phone and that of a camcorder due to the quality of output. Technology has had a negative impact on the industry.
Freelance services have also had a negative impact on the industry as not only are there more freelancers willing to reduce the amount which they want for a job but there are now more freelance websites where freelancers can offer their videography services from anywhere, thereby globalizing competition for traditional videographers, most of which have had to reduce their rates or go into other niches.
However, videos still have an importance as they are being integrated into all marketing activities. Videos are now being used by SEO consultants in order to properly optimize their businesses, which is why videographers are now specializing in corporate videos and adding other services to their businesses, such as how the videos they create can become viral to the benefit of the company. Asides from corporate videos, documentaries are also niches that videographers are going into in order to still remain in business.
Starting Your Videography Company from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
Starting a business from scratch or buying a franchise is the prerogative of the entrepreneur who must make a decision depending on the set goals and objectives of the business. If the aim of the entrepreneur is to get as much knowledge and direction for the business without having to go through many challenges, then buying a franchise might be very beneficial for the business.
If however the intention is to start from the scratch and learn about the business as it grows, then starting from scratch isn’t a bad idea. In buying a franchise, you will need to conduct a research on the franchises available and see which is likely to meet more of your goals and objectives. The videography business is mostly a creative one and is not one that has franchises.
Starting a business from scratch on the other hand can be very time consuming especially if you have no idea about running a business. You might find yourself trying to focus on too many things at once and then losing the plot. If you intend to start your videography business and have no idea about the business, it would be best to attend few classes on business management, marketing and basic book keeping so as to have the basic knowledge required to run your business.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Videography Company
As an entrepreneur, you should know that there are several threats and challenges that your business is going to face either when starting or whilst running the business. If you start your business and aren’t prepared for any likely challenges, then you are bound to fail at the business.
Some threats are external factors that cannot be controlled, the best you can do is try to be proactive or remain optimistic. Some can however be handled and it is for these ones that you must be adequately prepared for.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to encounter during the course of starting or running your videography business include; threats from new entrants and freelancers, having to deal with already existing and successful competitors, new trends in the technology and telecommunications sector such as the emergence of other smartphones, equipment and software, as well as evolving trends from the internet.
Starting a Videography Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
If you are therefore confused about what legal entity you should use for your videography business, you should consider engaging the services of a lawyer or an attorney. However the basic elements you should consider are taxation, liability, ease of set up and control.
Therefore the four basic legal entities that are available for a videographer looking to start their business in the United States of America are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
The sole proprietorship kind of legal entity is one where one person is in charge of all the decisions and actions concerning the business. The partnership kind of legal entity is one where two or more people come together to start a business based on an agreement.
In the corporation kind of legal entity, owners are regarded as shareholders and this kind of legal entity usually involves several procedures which is why it is usually good to have a lawyer handle this. One thing with a corporation is that it is regarded as a separate entity from the owners. The LLC kind of legal is one that is similar to that of the corporation; the only difference is that owners get benefits from their taxation.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Videography Company
In starting a business, it is important that you decide on a business name that is catchy, memorable and indicative of the industry you are in. The name must also be pronounceable and easily spelt especially if that is what you are going to be using for your website. You might need to have more than one name in mind so that should your proposed name be taken, you would have other names you can use.
Below are some catchy business names that are suitable for your videography business;
- Masterkraft Videography
- Tekno Look Videography
- Tony Pictures and Motions Inc.
- Pronto Videography Inc
- Badass Motions Corporation
- Flickr Motion Pictures
The videography business is not one you go into without considering the risks inherent in the business. You might break or damage your equipment while shooting, have a problem with your vehicle or have an employee or client injured during a shoot whether it is your fault or not.
Now, if all these things occur and you don’t have an insurance, you will be required to pay from your pocket and this might not only be inconvenient but it is bound to drain you personally. If you are therefore not sure of what insurance policies to pick for your business, consult an insurance agent or broker to help you with the right insurance policies for your videography business.
Therefore, the basic insurance policies that you are required to purchase when starting your videography business are;
- General Liability Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Homeowner’s Insurance
- Business Owner Policy (BOP)
- Liability Video and Film Production Insurance
- Errors and Omissions Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
The videography industry is one that is protected by a lot of copyrights and except you are shooting for personal consumption or a light hearted event, you cannot use the shots of another videographer for your own shots except express permission has been granted.
If you therefore are looking to start your videography business, you must consult with a lawyer that is well versed in copyrights to advice you on how to protect your business. You must also know the law as regards what happens to your materials once it has been turned over to a client. Other things that you can apply for intellectual property protection for are the name of your company, logo, slogan and any other production materials.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Videography Business?
Even though there are more people without certifications becoming videographers in this era, those who take the business and industry seriously try to get the necessary certifications that will make them stand apart not only from their counterparts but from amateurs as well.
Below are some professional certifications that you can take to boost your videography business;
- Digital Video Engineering Professional (DVEP)
- Associate Certification in Video Production and Editing
It is important to note that while these professional certifications might not be compulsory, they help bolster the confidence of the clients generally.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Videography Company
In order to run your videography business in the United States of America, you will need to ensure that you get the proper documentations required. The authorities take it very seriously if you don’t have the proper documentations required for your business and not only might you be banned from running the business, you can also be fined which is why to avoid all these challenges, you try and do the right thing.
If you aren’t sure what legal documentations you need, you might need to consult an attorney or accountant to help you with what legal documents you would need to operate your videography business legally. Some of the legal documents you would need to run your videography business include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Insurance Policies
- Business Plan
- Business License and Permit
- Contract Documents
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Federal Tax Identification Number
Financing Your Videography Company
Before starting any business, it is important that you have the ability to finance the business to the point where it can generate the required revenue that will sustain and grow the business. Now, while not all entrepreneurs have the required capital with which to start their business, they usually seek for funds from third parties and the best way this can be done is via a business plan.
A business plan is a document that shows how you intend to run your business and generate revenue that will result in profit, and this is what an investor or financial institution needs to see before they can lend you the money you need.
Below therefore are some of the financing options that you can explore in order to get the required capital for your own videography business;
- Using your personal funds derived from your personal savings and sale of stock or properties
- Sourcing for soft loan from family members and friends
- Applying for loan from the bank
- Seeking for loan from private investors in exchange for equity
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Videography Business
The place where you intend to locate your videography business is very important especially if you have a niche you are focusing on. It will make no sense for instance, if you are doing corporate videos for your business to be located in an area that is far from a corporate hub as you might have few customers than you should have if you were located in a business district.
With the way the videography business is going, a videographer can start his or her business from home especially if you are running your business on a small scale. In running your business from home, you should ensure that your equipment is kept far away from where it might fall or have any other person in your household play with it. If inside your home won’t be too comfortable for you, then you can use your den or the garage to set up your business.
If however you intend to run a sizeable business that would require you employing others to work with you, renting or leasing an official facility would be very necessary as you might have clients come in to make inquiries and to book for your services.
Make sure that you engage the services of a real estate agent or broker to help you determine where would be right for you to locate your office. The place chosen must not only be appropriate, it must also be within your budget as well. If you spend outside your budget, it might cause an overall strain on your budget.
Regardless of where you intend to operate from, having a website where you can show off your works in order to get more customers is very important. A website is a virtual address and because there are many other businesses such as yours on the internet, you will have to do your best to promote your business and make it visible to your intended clients.
Starting a Videography Business – Technical & Manpower Details
While you can most definitely start your videography business on a low budget, you should be aware that you will definitely need to splurge on the equipment you would need if you intend to run your business efficiently. Also, some of the events that you will be shooting will definitely need more tools than others. Before buying any brand of equipment, ensure that you compare them with other brands by reading their reviews online and also getting advice from those who are already in the business.
Most of the equipment you will need to run a successful videography business are ones that can be gotten as fairly used especially if you are starting the business on a strained budget. You should consider getting any fairly used equipment from sellers that have an excellent reputation and if you prefer brand new instead but do not have the money, you can lease the equipment you need under financing terms especially if you will be shooting events that will require different equipment all the time.
If you are however going to be getting important equipment such as your video camera for fairly used, make sure that it is in a very good condition so that it does not end up getting spoilt after using it for few jobs. Therefore some of the equipment that you will need in order to run your videography business successfully are video camera of high definition, CDs, microphones, computer, phones, editing software, tripod, lighting, business cards and a website.
If you are starting the business on a small scale, you might not need to employ as much people to help run your business, but if you are going to be running a sizeable operation, then you need to employ people to handle different aspects of your business so as to allow you concentrate on what is important, which is ensuring that the business attains all its goals and objectives. Some of those you might need to consider employing include; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), office manager, business development and marketing executives, front desk officer, accountant, cleaner and videographers.
From the above breakdown, you will need at least 7 key staff if you intend to run your videography business successfully.
The Service Delivery Process of a Videography Company
The videography business is one that involves creativity and technicality in order to meet all the goals and expectations of your clients. Therefore the process involves promoting yourself in order to get the attention of your target market and attract the clients you want for your business.
Once you have gained a client, you will need to outline what it is they need and breakdown how you intend to shoot all the scenes in order to meet the expectations of your clients. Since all jobs aren’t the same, the processes might vary depending on the job.
After shooting a video for your client, it is expected that you edit the video according to industry standards, in line with your customers’ expectations and current trends. Once you have gained a satisfied customer, you can ask for a testimonial and boost your profile from there.
Starting a Videography Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Marketing is a very important part of any business and any entrepreneur that doesn’t know this shouldn’t be starting a business. Even though marketing helps generate revenue for a company, it also helps create the right awareness for a business.
However, before any marketing ideas and strategies can be crafted, the entrepreneur must first conduct a market research that will enable him or her have a better understanding of the market and other factors such as the target market, rates and competitors so as to be able to better penetrate the market.
Most entrepreneurs starting from the scratch usually seek the services of a marketing consultant who understands the industry and will therefore craft the right marketing strategies that will grow the business to the extent that it requires.
Alternatively, you can employ marketing executives that will help push your business to your target market. This is a better alternative as they can not only create marketing strategies but can modify or remove them should they be found to be ineffective.
Below therefore are some of the marketing ideas and strategies you can use for your videography business;
- Empower your marketing executives to market your business using various strategies
- Place adverts about your videography business in local newspapers and related magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Introduce your videography business to potential clients by sending cold mails and handing out fliers at strategic locations
- Ensure that your videography business is listed in yellow pages as well as online directories
- Install flexi banners in strategic locations in the city where you are operating your videography business from
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Instagram to promote and advertise your business
Strategies to Boost Your Videography Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
As an entrepreneur, boosting the brand of your business is very necessary because not only do you create and gain the awareness you need, it also helps you to generate revenue for your business, which is why you would need to take this aspect of the business very seriously. Nowadays, due to the stiff competition in the industry, videographers know they must do all they can to create attention for their business.
The benefits derived from promoting and publicizing one’s business is why large scale companies do not mind setting aside a huge sum of money to promote their businesses no matter how popular they are within the industry and how many customers they have.
If your aim therefore is to become a business that is well known and reckoned with even outside of the area you are operating from, then you need to take publicity very seriously. Although, starting out might lead to you handling so many aspects, you can choose to get a publicity consultant who is well experienced in your kind of business to help you craft publicity strategy that would help you achieve your intended goals and objectives.
The internet has also made it easier for companies to be able to promote their businesses easily and cheaply too. Therefore, try incorporating the internet to any publicity strategies you might have for your videography business.
Below therefore are some of the publicity and advertising strategies you can use in order to achieve your goals and objectives;
- Create a website for your videography business and include all your works, rate sheets as well as testimonials from your satisfied clients
- Design an eye catching but simple handbills and business cards and distribute them in strategic places
- Attend events and your local association in order to network and promote your videography business
- Go on popular blogs and forums and put up articles that will help promote your business to your clients
- Stay abreast of trends regarding techniques and equipment in your industry by subscribing to industry trade publications
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube to promote your videography business