There was a recently question posted on flickr.com that I responded to. The question was asking for recommendations increasing your photography business. Here is what I responded with:
In the past year, I have really delved into the business books. I joined audible.com and get a new book every month. It has been great. The books I have listened to and have found value in are:
The eMyth Revisited M Gerber *****
Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar
Free Prize Inside, S Godin
Purple Cow, S Godin
Tribes, S Goin
Think Big, Act Small; Jason Jennings
Tipping Point, M. Gladwell *****
Join your state’s professional photography organization. My state, Iowa, has two great conferences each year (the fall one starts today). They cover not just photography techniques and trend, but, more importantly business, too. And they tend to be a deal. If your state’s doesn’t have an active convention, find one that does.
If you don’t use a professional lab, start using one. Not only do they print photos, but the two I use (McKenna and American Color Inc.) have marketing material available and can help you develop a marketing plan.
Check out the regional photo schools. I went to Mid America Institute of Profesional Photography (www.maipp.com) this past year. It was a 4 full days talking about photography and business. Doug Box was my instructor and he was awesome.
And lastly, though this seems out in left field. Join Toastmasters International. I joined in Febuary. The organization is about developing your skills as a public speaker and for doing presentations. It has completely changed the way I do sales presentations and I am not even into the business-specific projects yet. You can get unbiased, constructive criticism on your presentations and it can cost less than $50/year.
I hope this helps.