Annual Tune Up ~ No, It's Not for Your Car
Can you remember the New Year resolutions you made for this year? It’s been said, by those who say these things, that if you print out your resolutions and put them where you will see the list every day – like the bathroom mirror – you are three times more likely to achieve all or a greater portion of your goals.
What does that have to do with growing your business, expanding your market, generating more sales, or getting into more exhibitions?
A lot, actually.
You make New Year resolutions about things that are important to you, but do you take time at the end of the year to reflect on what you can do next year that will significantly expand your photography market footprint?
Following is a brief outline of questions to ask yourself. If you take the time to respond honesty (otherwise, you are cheating yourself) and you look at the results of this exercise on a daily basis, you could very well have an extraordinary year or position yourself for an absolutely phenomenal next year. (Remember, Rome, Apple and all good things took time to build.)
Ask yourself these questions:
As a photographer, who am I?
Do you specialize in four or five areas? That’s not specializing. It is generally better to specialize in just one area, maybe two. Saying you are a wedding, sports, nature and aerial photographer is going to be hard to convince all but the very naïve that you are accomplished in all those specialized disciplines.
How am I positioned in my market?
Are you one of eight commercial photographers in a city of 40,000 people? In other words, is your market saturated? Is your studio competitive with other commercial studios? Can you photograph items that other studios cannot? Are you relying on local business or are you reaching out to nearby larger metropolitan areas where photographers often charge more for comparable services?
What will it take to grow my business?
Is your fine art or commercial work distinctive enough to set you apart from others in your immediate market? Will modifying the style of your work give you an advantage? Do you have the equipment you need to compete with other commercial photographers, or their talent and experience?
Do I know who are my “A” clients?
Your “A” clients, or customers, are the ones who must buy your work or services in order for you to be successful – not just break even. They are the ones on which you want to spend your marketing dollars and efforts. Your “B” customers keep your cash flow steady and pay the bills. “C” clients/sales provide the gravy that just comes your way and supplements your “B” sales.
What is my strategy for growing my business/sales/client list this year?
This is where you list three to five items that you think are important to your growth. Each item is specific, not generalized, such as “market more” versus “focus my marketing on (fill in the blank) by doing (list the steps you will take, what you will need and what it will cost).”
If you answer these questions, make the list and refine it several times, you will be positioned to focus your energies and marketing dollars where they will achieve the best return on your investments in time and financial resources.