Maybe you’ve been making some videos on the side for a while, but now you’re ready to dive in and make what you do official by starting a video production company. There are some definite advantages to making what you do the function of a legally recognized entity. You may gain tax advantages to offset the purchases and depreciation of equipment, and as time goes on you may be able to find new sources of financing for your projects as well.
But there are a lot of details that go into starting a video production company that you’ll need to consider before you hang out your shingle. Research these and you’ll have a much better chance of getting off on the right foot. Then it’s just a matter of you putting your nose to grindstone and making your dreams a reality.
Determine Your Goals
This is a vital step in the process of putting together your company. While versatility is important, being a ‘jack of all trades, master of none” won’t allow you to develop the skills and repertoire necessary to stand out in a crowded field. Think about the video work you’ve done in the past and what appealed to you – have you done weddings and enjoyed the experience? How about films for businesses or commercials? Also think about what you do well, and honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
This is also a good time to think about and write down your short term and long term goals. Think of them as a roadmap to plan the growth of your business. Without a plan you can’t realistically think about how you’ll handle growth (or setbacks) with your fledgling concern.
One excellent way to establish and refine your goals is to place them in the context of a business plan. Plan what the focus of your company will be and map out your growth for a long term period, say three to five years. Be sure to include a detailed description of the emphasis your production company will have.
Do Your Research
Researching and knowing your market is a key element in determining your success. Examine your area and search for the other professionals and companies that are doing the kind of work you’re looking to do. Scrutinize the services they provide and the fees they charge. This information can help you tailor your appeal to the portions of the market you can serve and set fees accordingly.
Your Company Structure
The legal underpinnings of your business are the foundation it rests upon. The first order of business is determining what kind of company you want to be. If you’re unfamiliar with legal company structures this can be a bit daunting. Companies can run the gamut from simple, like a sole proprietorship, to complex, such as a C Corp. The Small Business Administration provides valuable information to help understand these structures and which may be best for you. Do some research and you’ll be better prepared to decide which way to go.
What’s in a Name?
One important aspect of your legal identity is the name you choose for your production company. A well-chosen name will catch the attention of potential clients and stick with those you’ve worked with. Don’t be content with something generic – make it particular and relevant to you. That’ll ensure that it stands out.
To protect your rights and to avoid future conflicts you’ll eventually want to trademark your name. This doesn’t have to be a first step but it will prove of vital importance in protecting your brand in the future. So before you name your production company, search trademark databases and the internet for other uses of the name you want. You don’t want to be stuck having to rename your company once you’ve started to get a foothold in the video production market.
Taking Care of (Legal) Business
As your business grows, so grows the possibility that at some point you’ll need legal representation. Waiting until that moment comes may leave you with limited options and could create a lot of stress that you don’t need. Take the time early in the process to talk to others in your industry for leads on good attorneys. Then contact them to find out the particulars of what’s involved in having them available for representation when you do need it.
Accounting Is Essential
Making money is your first priority as a business person. The second and probably just as important priority is keeping track of the money after you make it. That’s where a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) comes into the picture. A good CPA won’t just figure out your taxes, they’ll be available to help you craft a strategy that minimizes your potential tax bill. As with legal representation, talk to others for advice on good CPAs. Then sit down and talk with them to make sure that they’re a good fit for you and your budding company. You want to be sure you can rely on them to give you the best advice.
Consider Your Funding
Do you have enough money socked away – or good enough credit – to finance the roll out of your video production company? If you do, great! But if you don’t, you need to secure start-up money. Work with local banks and other lenders to explain your plans (this is a time when your business plan can be put to good use).
Never Stop Hustling
Owning your own business can be exhilarating and exhausting. And the success (or failure) of your company is almost totally dependent upon your efforts. Maximize all the avenues you have to create visibility. Develop a website, and also build an online presence with social media sources like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
If your video production company specializes in certain types of videos – weddings or real estate, for example – go to local trade shows, conferences, or exhibitions. No one’s going to come knocking on your door, so don’t be afraid to do the knocking yourself. Persist and your patience and determination will pay off.
– Video Caddy