Ten things you should be doing right now for your photography business!
Are you doing everything you could to improve your business success? Just as you work to stay at the top of your game with your photography, you should be doing the same for your business.
Every business owner has something they could be doing better, more efficiently, or differently - things that could lead to more success. But, where to start and what to do can be tricky for most photographers. What do you do to improve or expand your business and attract more clients?
Here are ten things you should be doing right now:
1. Vision & Goals
What is your mission and vision for your company? When is the last time you thought about it and, perhaps, adjusted it to better suit a growing business? When is the last time you modified your goals to accommodate where you are now? Just like any organization should regularly review their goals and mission, so should you. The vision and goals you had the day you hung up your business shingle might not be the same ones five or ten years in.
How can you get better if you don’t know how you’re doing now? Keeping good records; tracking and evaluating your business on a regular basis will be vital to elevate your business. What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Are you monitoring your data (i.e., best-selling packages) and do you see any patterns in your data? Once you see a bigger picture, as well as down-in-the-dirt details, you’ll have something to work with, and you’ll know what your clients like from you. Commit yourself to what works! If one type of photography service is your serious money maker, go after it. A business is only as good as their happy clients!
What sets you apart from other photographers? Look at that data collection and tracking and see if what is popular is the one thing which sets you apart from other photographers. Whatever you can identify as your unique quality or offering (like a particular package or service), promote it. Distinguishing yourself from the pack is what will drive your business to the next level of success. Pursue it. Perfect it.
4. Expertise Matters
We’re not talking about your expertise. Presumably, you already have the knowledge to make you a great photographer. Beyond you, hiring experts who can help you take things up several notches is critical. If you want to elevate your business and generate more leads, you need to hire others and delegate some of the work. You can’t do it all yourself. Just like people shouldn’t try to do their own portraits and expect professional results, you shouldn’t try to run your business alone. If you need a new website, hire a reputable web designer. Need content? Find an experienced writer. Need someone to track appointments, answer phones, pay bills? Hire someone with the right experience and background.
5. Try Something New
Complacency is one of the dangers of being a small shop and can be the kiss of death for any business owner. Innovation, however, can feed success. Try new things and take moderate risks both as a photographer and business owner. As a photographer, it's essential to remain at the top of your game by exploring new techniques, angles, equipment, and so on. It shouldn’t be any different with your business. Focus on new ideas, but take baby steps. We’re not saying you should take out a second mortgage to buy new equipment (probably not the best idea). We’re suggesting to step outside your comfort zone and focus on your strengths both as a photographer and as a business owner.
6. Improving a Regular Goal
Improving a regular goal for you and your business. (You’re likely already interested in improving or you wouldn’t be reading this post.) Trying to improve yourself and your business often go hand-in-hand examining your vision and trying something new. Learning is a natural part of improvement and should always be a regular habit. We stop improving when we stop learning.
Are you making the most of technology? Use technology as much as you can! There’s always something we could be doing better with the help of technology. Take a class if needed. Ask other photographers what software they use for invoicing or paying bills. How about scheduling? Take a seriously hard look at your inner-office dealings and think about what needs more efficiency. Remember our point about expertise? Hire someone with the knowledge to help you make better use of technology.
8. Customer experience
It’s not all about you. In fact, you’re only part of the equation as a photographer. The savvy pros know that excellent customer experience is what leads to ultimate success. Referrals matter in the photography industry, so be sure that you’re offering the best customer service you possibly can. Your clients should feel thrilled with your work and the experience of working with you, and they should want to recommend you to their friends. If you’re only worrying about how to expand your client base without any focus on making your current clients happy, you’re likely going to lose business in the long run.
If you’re not networking with other small business owners and photographers, you’re missing a terrific learning and professional opportunity. Networking helps you to learn from others and expand your network of professional contacts. No matter how much experience we have, we can always learn something from others - whether they have more or less experience than us. Young photographers are often tech-savvy, while older ones have a lot of experience running a successful business. Join meet-up groups and networking groups both for small business owners and for photographers. You’ll learn something from both kinds of networking groups.
Improving success doesn't happen in a silo. It occurs through strategic diligence, review, goals, and effort. A business plan to success should include our tips, but more than anything should be organic - a dynamic roadmap you follow to increase your success.