Tips to Grow Your Video Production Company
Whether you’re just starting out as a filmmaker or already have some recurrent clients, you may be asking yourself how to take your video production business to the next level.
Here are a few tips that I believe will help your Video Production Company grow.
1. Set up a legitimate business
A well-oiled machine is more likely to keep running under stress, so build a business that lasts and that is designed to grow with you.
Find a catchy name, register it with your local government or state. Set up a website with a cool design and some nice business cards. If you already have clients, think about incorporating, whether as an LLC or a corporation. Get insurance both for your business and for your equipment.
The reason for setting up a legitimate business is two fold:
1. Getting clients for video production is all about trust. If your clients automatically see you as a one-man band with no professional structure, it may be a red flag.
Sure, you’ll get some clients, but probably none of the bigger ones, who will want to work with more legitimate entities.
2. A lot of harm can happen on a shoot. Hot lights fall, a backing DP breaks an expensive vase, etc….
Hopefully this never happens to you, but if it ever does, you want to be covered. An LLC or Corporation will shield your personal assets from most lawsuits, and a good insurance will ensure that you don’t go bankrupt paying for that broken camera.
2. Get your finances in order
Doing business in any industry requires that you get paid, and that you make a profit. That’s why you absolutely need to get your finance in order.
What does that mean?
Automate your quotes, invoices and expenses either with an accounting software like Quickbooks.
Make sure you have some cash saved up to go through the slow season, or to front some of the cost of bigger productions.
That being said, always ask for 50% down on any projects. Sign contracts with your clients, and most of all, pay your taxes.
3. Find the right crew members and talents
You can’t do it all by yourself.
No matter what niche or specific industry you specialize in, you need others to grow and help you achieve your goals.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and go out there to find people that are complementary to your skills, or who can help you think outside the box.
A video production project is no more than the sum of its crew members, so get the right talents on board, and you’ll be able to answer any requests.
4. Get the right equipment (but not too much)
Most of the people I know who are passionate about video production are equipment geeks, in one capacity or another.
When you read blog posts after blog posts about the latest camera, lens, or cool rig, it is very tempting to go out and buy it. Don’t. Don’t buy the latest and brightest.
If you don’t have the cash, the debts will just create an unnecessary strain on your growing business, and if you do, it’s probably better spent in hiring a higher skilled person for the job (see tip #3).
Get a simple kit for the market you’re in, and for the types of projects you are doing on a very regular basis. No need for a Red camera if you’re only doing small online corporate videos! If you do get a different project that requires specific equipment, just rent!
5. Build a relevant portfolio
Go ahead and produce what you want your clients to hire you for. People will hire you based on one thing: trust that you can transform their vision into reality.
Being personable, knowledgeable, and building a positive, open relationship will most likely create trust in the initial bidding stages. But if you don’t have anything to show that is similar to what your client wants, then the sale may be difficult.
So, whatever it is you’re aiming for, produce some of that content with the right style, look, and scope. The more relevant examples you have, the more your potential clients will be reassured that they are in good hands, and that you’re actually capable of doing what you sold them on.