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Author Topic: Business idea, what to do?  (Read 8030 times)

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« on: March 20, 2007, 06:26 »
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For quite a while an idea is lingering in my head. It is a business idea about micro,- macrostock, which I think might work quite well and be profitable. It might be a really good idea. On the other hand I just do not know, it also may be a crappy idea.
I would like to start that business, but I know, I do not have enough knowledge, and certainly not enough time.
 I would like that such a business would start, because at least I would profit from it as a customer, if it will work.
So if there is no possibility to sell such an business idea or to get a certain percentage from the profit, I would post that idea in this forum, asking those who have knowledge and resources, to put that idea into practice.
So does anyone has suggestion what I should do?


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2007, 06:33 »
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i always thought it would be cool to have a sort of stock photogrpahy co-op where the members were the ones receiving the profits.  It would obviously have to pay people to work there, but the wage would be decided upon by the stock photography members / board.  There would be no one person filling his pockets but everyone involved who would gain.

« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2007, 06:39 »
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Freezing, you should never divulge an interesting business idea unless you have confidence that the other parties will not take that idea for themselves.  On the other hand it is sometimes difficult making business decisions without the advice of others.  It all comes down to whom you trust, or not.

There might be one or two people on this forum whom you trust enough to share that idea.

Leaf might be a good start.

« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2007, 06:41 »
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i was going to say the same thing.  Dont put your idea on the internet.

Myabe pm/email/talk to a few people from here to see if they think it would fly (just look at the responces whenever a new microsite advertises here).

Leaf might be a good one to talk to as he must know something about this internet thingamajig - that is if you can trust him not to steal if from you  ;D ;D

« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2007, 07:29 »
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Thanx guys :), I sent that idea to Leaf. Lets see what he thinks about it..

« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2007, 07:31 »
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Freezing, you should never divulge an interesting business idea unless you have confidence that the other parties will not take that idea for themselves.


I agree. The internet is a bit like the Wild West must have been. Lots of bandits about who'd happily steal from you.

Like the others have said, deal with a few people you trust at first, run your ideas past them. certainly not in public. Apart from anything else, anyone can come on to this forum as a guest.

« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2007, 09:23 »
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I agree that you should be cautious on the type of information you post in a public forum but I'm sure your idea is being thought about by many others.  What's important now is putting forth a plan for the idea to succeed.  This is the hard part that will keep most idea stealers and people with the same concept at bay!

« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2007, 13:57 »
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Here are a few questions for you:

Do you have any idea how much money you would need to start it?  Would you need outside funding (VCs or angle investors) or could you and a few friends pull it off?

Have you given thought to questions such as: who would use it?  what would people pay for the service? is there any competition already out there?  How hard would it be for an established player to take the idea (once implemented) and just make it bigger, faster, prettier and steal your customers/clients?
How much would you have to sell to make a living?  How would you market it?  Will people really pay for that product/service (people often say they would pay when asked before hand but when faced with the decision to actually pay they won't.)
Do you have any business types as friends, people who have started and/or financed companies, or at least have some small company exprience (even an MBA will do to talk through the basic issues) - they might be a good resource.

Just some ideas, hope it helps and good luck.

Tina




« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2007, 16:35 »
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Leaf,

I like the idea of teaming up to build a site.  There are costs involved, but no commissions to be paid.  The problem is however how to make this feasible and how to have a group of members who can trust each other and share costs.  Everyone is nice when there is no money involved.  :)

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2007, 16:48 »
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well there would no doubt have to be trust involved, but things would have to be open as well - such as the accounting and such.  I realize there would be a lot of organizing and stuff but organizations like this DO work.  There is the co-op in saskatchewan canada (a grocery, hardware, and clothing store), and banks and other types of stores that are based on this idea.

« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2007, 17:00 »
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I don't know a lot about coop but in the province of Quebec, in Canada, we have a long tradition of coop (from stores to banks and appartments) and, as Leaf said, IT WORKS.   

I'll try to find some more info about this around me and let you know.

Claude

« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2007, 18:24 »
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Magnum started as a coop and had huge success.
Ok, they had some of the best in the business, but the model is proven and is good.

« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2007, 18:54 »
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deleted my comment.  'twas too long winded. sorry.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 19:13 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2007, 21:12 »
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I've really been interested in "community driven" businesses lately - I think there is potential billions out there with the contributors doing all the work.  Microstock - Flickr - Cafe Press - YouTube, etc.  If I could just program!   

LEAF, the thought has crossed my mind several times that you should start up an agency.  You certainly know everyone.

« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2007, 22:14 »
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Well, it might be strange that I would be piping in on this discussion, but I'd be happy to help anyone in the group get a good sense of what it takes to set up a site.  While the coding and technology part is straightforward, the marketing and daily operations part is probably the most difficult.  A new site will potentially have to endure a couple years of loses (either in time or money)  to get to a strong foundation.

As for a business idea?  I wouldn't stress too much about someone stealing the idea...it comes down to execution. When I started my first company ten years ago I met with a bunch of VC's and wanted everyone of them to sign NDAs. I was worried about people stealing an idea. I quickly learned they don't sign NDAs. I also learned I don't like many of them :)

After hanging around enough entrepreneurs, it really comes down to a market and talented team.

« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2007, 22:40 »
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i always thought it would be cool to have a sort of stock photogrpahy co-op where the members were the ones receiving the profits.

Hi I'm new to the forums and interested in getting into micro-stock in some way.  I spent many years as a photo editor & art director & I know of a similar business model to the one you're thinking of Leaf.  It's run by successful photographers for photographers newbielink:http://www.blendimages.com [nonactive]  They supply the major RM & RF players with content but don't actually handle direct sales.  It helps that most have been actively involved in stock for ages and are well connnected with the right people but the point is is can work.
Apparently Zoomr is also planning to get in on the business of licensing images so I think it's really interesting to see where the photo industry is heading as a whole.  Just my 2 cents worth!

« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2007, 06:40 »
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Thanks for all your input!
And thank you Bryan for your offer!
 Leaf talked about the idea of creating a stock photography coop, which I think would be a great way to put that business idea into practice.
Now he created a thread, where people who are interested in creating a coop can take part in discussion about my idea or in general also about other ideas to create a coop.
Maybe something will come out of this.

Whoever is potentially interested in taking part in such a coop can tell Leaf or post it here I guess, so he gets access to that thread.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 07:58 by Freezingpictures »

« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2007, 11:25 »
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The coop thing is an interesting idea, particularly because we represent a broad knowledge base and locations spread more or less all over the world. I would certainly be interested in participating. Unfortunately, being good photographers isn't the biggest challenge. Water-tight contracts and agreements as well as a profitable concept springs to my mind as key issues.

Still, with the experiences most of us have from different parts of stock photography, we obviously have some very valuable assets to contribute with.

My suggestion would be to set up a group of a workable size, and move the discussion to a closed forum, to avoid unlimited growth and too much transparency towards the outside world.

« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2007, 13:36 »
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I am certainly very interested in a coop idea. I'd be honoured to be counted in if there is anything set up.

However, I think it's as well to bear in mind that there are at least four sides to this ...

1)  The creation of photographs. This is (obviously) what we're all good at. And would there have to be inspection of submisssions to keep the coop up to standard?

2)  The creation of a means to sell them ... I guess a dynamic web site. There may well be people in this group who are knowlegable and skilled in this area too.

3)  The advertising and marketing of the images. Letting the whole world know that these images exist and are up for sale. Anyone skilled in that area?

4)  The collecting of the money, keeping track of it, chasing up and dealing with infringements, handling dissatisfied customers ... etc. etc. ... The rather boring but vitally important bits. Anyone for that job?

« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2007, 14:11 »
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Bateleur and epixx -> you are now added to the group

« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2007, 16:42 »
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Leaf, I would be honored to be part of it...

As i mentioned yesterday, I'm collecting info about coop "structures" in Quebec.  Unfortunately, most this info is in french only so I will have to translate it...

In the meantime, for those of you who can read french (Bateleur?) here's a site from Quebec Government about coop laws in Quebec.

http://www.mdeie.gouv.qc.ca/page/web/portail/entreprises/nav/cooperatives/42251.html?iddoc=42251

I will have more time this week end to get back to this thread with some thoughts.

Claude

« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2007, 17:41 »
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Oui ... je peux lire le franais. Un peu. Mais les documents juridiques ... oooh l l.   :)


« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2007, 17:55 »
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I also like the idea , so  if you want me to be a part of the group you can count me in.

« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2007, 18:04 »
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i think it's a very very good idea! i really like it and think it would and will work  :)
wish you all the best!!

luca

« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2007, 18:12 »
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I'm not sure about how I could contribute, but I'm open to it if you wish to.

« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2007, 18:29 »
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It would be interesting that the involvement in this group might bring up a business association.  :)

One point I think would need discussion: what kind of business model are you thinking of?  Macro, micro, both?  Each member setting his own prices?

One important thing mentioned by Bateleur: image quality inspection.  This is very important but might be a source of conflicts...

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2007, 01:59 »
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One important thing mentioned by Bateleur: image quality inspection.  This is very important but might be a source of conflicts...


Thanks for picking up and enlarging on that, Adelaide. In any venture of this sort it would be important to keep the quality high. Buyers don't want to wade through a load of rubbish. They'll go elsewhere, and they're spoiled for choice nowadays.

But, with a cooperative venture, who's going to be the judge of quality? It could indeed be a source of conflict. Maybe there would have to be some sort of voting system. But that could be horribly unwieldy with thousands of images ... oh boy!

« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2007, 03:30 »
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added -> madeliad, berryspun, latex, lizard, le_cyclope.

Hope i didn't miss anyone.

« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2007, 04:40 »
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One point I think would need discussion: what kind of business model are you thinking of?  Macro, micro, both?  Each member setting his own prices?

One important thing mentioned by Bateleur: image quality inspection.  This is very important but might be a source of conflicts...
Other questions that will have to be considered are:

-who keeps the books (ie, looks after and tracks the money)
-who looks after the IT (who pays for this and the start up costs, running costs until profitable)
-how will you correspond (assuming you aren't all in the same location,timezone, meetings could be difficult - Coops are enormally localised)

The other thing that would be considered is how is this going to differ from featurepics which already offers 70%.  Are all costs etc going to be less than 30% or revenue?

« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2007, 09:36 »
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well there have been a number of good ideas about your questions CJ but we would never divulge them to the prying eye.  :D

On the other hand - are you saying you want in on the discussion?

« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2007, 09:42 »
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On the other hand - are you saying you want in on the discussion?
I spend far too much time on here already. :o :o

« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2007, 10:07 »
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awwwwhhh commmmonnnn.. you know you wannn to!!  ;)

« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2007, 10:14 »
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  I'd be interested in being involved in this discussion.  My perspective is going to be a little different than most people here.  I've only recently started messing around in the micro stock area, and I'm not really that good at it yet.  My background is in IT, primarily database design and programming and thick client programming (programs that get installed on the actual computer).  It's been years since I've programmed a web page and I know that's all changed.  Just that database aspects of something like this could be very involved.
  Lucky Oliver and Fotolia are the only two sites I've gotten accounts on and LO is the one I've been concentrating one, figure we're both new at this and I really like their informal feel.
  newbielink:http://www.luckyoliver.com/portfolio/Allen+Stoner [nonactive]

Allen

« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2007, 10:58 »
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Let me know if you'd like me part of your discussion...I'm sure I could help you get a sense of your costs and time.

« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2007, 13:17 »
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I'm game, let's go!

« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2007, 17:32 »
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My idea is not to create competition for micro sites because they are our bread and butter.

But recently I went into a poster shop and a guy showed me a book of poster photos they get from an Australian photo lab.

HOW ABOUT THIS!

We come up with a series of photos we all think will sell as posters etc. Then we approach a professional photo lab in our area about getting a deal done where they provide the printing. Then we approach these poster shops about selling the images and setting them up with books etc.

It would have to work like a 30-40-30% deal I think. Basically we provide the images to the lab, the retailer makes orders over the phone. the lab prints them and sends them out.

It would be our responsibility to approach the retailers.

What you guys think?

« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2007, 05:15 »
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One important thing mentioned by Bateleur: image quality inspection.  This is very important but might be a source of conflicts...


Thanks for picking up and enlarging on that, Adelaide. In any venture of this sort it would be important to keep the quality high. Buyers don't want to wade through a load of rubbish. They'll go elsewhere, and they're spoiled for choice nowadays.

But, with a cooperative venture, who's going to be the judge of quality? It could indeed be a source of conflict. Maybe there would have to be some sort of voting system. But that could be horribly unwieldy with thousands of images ... oh boy!

Hi all,

I'm new to this site so maybe I'm not as qualified as some of you guys, but this is such an interesting subject....I couldnt resist to say my opinion. ::)

Coming to the point, I believe Madelaide and Batelour are right. Inspection is by far one of the main concerns and in a way it could be really annoying for a photographer to see an image being refused by his own colleagues, whether its an association or a cooperative society.

So, my idea is to let the market judge instead of inspectors. Just think: how many of you guys have images in your portfolio that did very well on some agencies but havent been even accepted on some other sites?
Further, if you could have your own website, which photos would you publish and sell? your whole portfolio or just the cream?
I think that the key to attract buyers to a new place, which certainly shouldnt be a "clone" of some istock or shutterstock, is to offer them the highest standard of quality in the market.
How to do it? Well, in the very first stage, let contributors upload only their best selling images (i.e. images that had a number of sales in a certain period among one or more agencies).
This would help to fill the box with great contents. Customers would save time as they would not go through hundreds of snapshots. In the meanwhile, you wouldnt need inspectors as others have already done the dirty work for you.
In the next stage, i.e. when you got a decent market share and money comes, you can build up a well paid inspector team (not only made by photographers but designers too, which most of the times have a different approach and a very critical eye on what is worthy or not). This would definitely help you to fill the gap between you and traditional microstocks, as you can now deal with fresh ideas without first waiting to see how they do with your competitors.

Clearly, the bad side of this story is:
-Slower growth compared with other agencies (at least in the first stage, but who cares as long as quality is high?);
-Barriers to entry: not all photographers may qualify, or some of them may have just a little bunch of photographs to upload;
-Photographers should work with some other agencies as well (again, who cares? everybody here knows that exclusivity doesnt pay in the microstock system)

Then, the next step would be price structure...buyers shouldnt spend more money than they already do for an image and photographers should earn more. BUT HERE WE NEED A MIRACLE!!! :-\

Hey, I wrote a lot!! maybe some of you felt sleeping in the meanwhile.oooops!
Best everything,
Diego

« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2007, 00:40 »
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Hey guys I've heard from a few of you...just wondering if your interested in my help :)

Building off Diego's ideas-

This might be strange, but I'll throw it out there-the photos only play 1/3 into the equation (sorry guys, but i'm also a photographer too!)  Another 1/3 goes into the story your trying to tell.  Some people call this brand, I prefer to call this a story. Online it's slightly different than a traditional product brand.  The last 1/3 goes into your marketing/technology strategy.

You need to find people that excel in each of these groups.

« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2007, 10:38 »
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Hey Bryan.

sorry for taking a while to get back to you.  I took a vote of those brainstorming for the microstock coop and the consensus was that - although we value your help and opinions very much, you would also, eventually, be the competition (to some extent - despite the fact that the buyer market is pretty large and diverse).  So to keep our top secret earth shattering ideas for ourselves ;) we thought it best to confer with you outside of the actual 'coop brainstorming area'


« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2007, 10:41 »
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Hey guys I've heard from a few of you...just wondering if your interested in my help :)

Building off Diego's ideas-

This might be strange, but I'll throw it out there-the photos only play 1/3 into the equation (sorry guys, but i'm also a photographer too!)  Another 1/3 goes into the story your trying to tell.  Some people call this brand, I prefer to call this a story. Online it's slightly different than a traditional product brand.  The last 1/3 goes into your marketing/technology strategy.

You need to find people that excel in each of these groups.

yeah, when you say that, i think i would agree... and see lucky oliver has done a good job of this.  Branding, i have learned in the past is quite popular and often overlooked.

In my opinion amoungst the microstock lucky oliver has done one of the best branding jobs.  Others who stick in my mind are istock and perhaps dreamstime.  Bigstock, canstock, shutterstock, and the others i think i could easy get confused as to which was which if i had only been there once.

« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2007, 11:30 »
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Not a problem Leaf...feel free to ping me anytime. While strategy is important, most of it's execution.  Get the team focused- good things happen when there's a clear goal.  The details work themselves out!



« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2007, 01:03 »
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I might be a bit late but I would like to read your thoughts and contribute some of my own.  I have thought for a long time that a site run by photographers would be a good idea.


 

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