7 steps to starting a video production company and completely crushing It. November 21 2013

So you’re handy with a video camera and want to know how can you turn this into a money making venture?
The first step is to think about the services you can provide.

There are many options such as commercial videos, corporate videos, even wedding and party videography. However, while you might think it’s a good idea to be a “jack of all trades”, specialising in one particular area will help you not only market your services better, but also hone your skills, style and reputation in a particular field. This in turn becomes your brand, and in essence, the bread and butter for your company.

Many video production companies begin small, with only one or two workers (usually the owners) who do everything from marketing the companies’ services, to filming, production and editing. This being said, the following seven points are a great step-by-step guide to starting your own business.

1. Create a business plan

One in every three businesses fail within their first year. Why? Usually because they don’t have a cohesive plan or mission to guide them through their first steps. Ensure that your video production business has a mission statement, and write down your experience as a producer and your proposed marketing plan (yes, you need to think about getting clients before your business is even built!). Make note of the inventory you own, such as video cameras, tripods, computers etc, and allocate a budget for items that you require to be self sufficient, such as lighting equipment, editing systems and sound equipment.

2. Set up the business entity

Time to get registered! This involves doing all of the paperwork involved with setting up a business – from filing a name statement as a sole proprietor, a limited liability company, or incorporation, with the relevant government departments. Don’t forget to register for a tax file number – the last thing you want is to be caught out for tax evasion!

3. Get your inventory checklist

Most video producers will have two to three cameras on hand, as well as a basic lighting set, microphones, various lenses for shooting, and the right video editing software that meets your needs. Depending on the quality of equipment you decide to go with, some video production businesses spend upwards of $15,000 on equipment, with some of the top-end setups going into the hundreds of thousands. Before you fork out the big bucks, consider the need for your equipment. For example, are you doing high quality television commercials which require HD video recorders and lenses, or are you filming parties and social events, which could do with a mid-range camera?

4. Build your brand

Here’s where it starts to get fun! Begin designing your companies logo, business card and website, ensuring your brand's personality, specialty and quality are presented. Remember, these elements will be the face of your brand to any potential clients, so make sure you communicate your services clearly and effectively.

5. Create a portfolio

Despite your best efforts in step 4, clients aren’t going to be kicking down the door to get you to work for them on your website and business card alone. Put together a portfolio or show reel of past work which shows your quality, range and skill. Keep it short – about 3-5 minutes max, and use your best camera shots and angles to showcase your skill at capturing special moments.  If you haven’t got any previous footage you can use, take the camera out for a day or two and shoot some stuff, develop a production library, and use that footage to create your show-reel.

6. Create your price list

This is the stage where you decide how you want to get paid. Do you want to be paid on an hourly rate, or would you prefer to get paid on a “per production” cost? Now is also a good time to outline packages your business will offer, and whether you will supply services such as duplicating other video productions, editing family videos, etc.

7. Market, market, market your business!

The final, and somewhat most important stage, involves getting potential customers to know about your business. Put your show-reel on your website, upload it to YouTube, and make DVD copies along with business cards to give to potential clients. This is an important time for you to network with groups and organisations who might be interested in your product. Think about school drama departments, wedding photographers, corporate HR departments, as well as anyone else who may be interested in video editing services. Now is also a great time for you to develop an email list and use videos to sell your products and services, with tools such as professional video hosting with Magic Video Mail.

Bonus Round - Handy hint.

If you’re starting a video production business on your own and have limited funds, you can save money by contacting major production houses, or by approaching video equipment rental stores and asking if they are liquidating anything.  Because video technology advances so rapidly, these types of businesses often purchase the latest equipment and often liquidate their old equipment to make room.

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