Today I’m playing the bringer of bad news, but I feel like it’s something that needs to be said.
Get over the idea of a single amazing idea that will quadruple your business!
You’ve been in business for a while…
Working away week after week, hunting for new clients. Doing a great job and very slowy growing your photography business on a roller-coaster of on and off-season demand.
But you’re really waiting on your big break, aren’t you?
That one little idea or change that opens the floodgates to tens of thousands in added income to your business.
The thing that makes your advertising start working like crazy that gets your phone ringing off the hook.
You hear about things like this happening all the time, and soon it’ll be your turn.
Well, that’s what this article is about…
What you can reasonably expect from your photography business.
Let me start by saying that I do see the above happen sometimes, and it’s glorious to watch…
A mostly unknown local photography business that’s been struggling to make ends meet does something totally new and it ‘just works’ – and sometimes we don’t even know why…
Bringing in double and sometimes triple the number of clients they’re used to, making it a really successful business that needs to quickly find staff to meet demand.
But that certainly isn’t the norm.
It would be amazing if I as a photography business coach could give all my clients the same piece of advice that would be guaranteed to triple their businesses overnight, but it’s not possible…
If it were, everyone would be doing it, which ironically would crush any initial success it created.
Sound weird, huh?
So many factors contribute to success or failure of a business. Some are within our control, and others aren’t.
If you’re waiting on your “big break”, and hoping to discover that one small tweak, I’d advise you to stop looking and start focusing on smaller changes, because that’s where you’ll see results – and those small results add up to a big difference in your business.
Sweating the Small Stuff
In all my years working with photographers, the one thing that does consistently work is when my clients use a lot of different tools and strategies.
Here’s a few things to work on in the beginning…
Boost Your Client Experience – Creating an experience that makes your clients feel special, comfortable and respected goes further than you think. A great client experience increases word of mouth and repeat visits, plus clients end up spending more on average!
Get More Referrals – You already know that a big part of your photography business is about how expanding your reach. Getting past clients to recommend you to friends and family is one of the biggest things you can do to get consistent future business. If you’re just hoping they happen naturally then you’re leaving a lot of potential business on the table.
Be Different – Come up with things that separate you from your competition. It makes price comparisons more difficult for prospects when you offer a different service, and more importantly helps you to stand out from the vast crowd of “me too” photographers.
Try New Things – Just because every other photographer is focusing on their Facebook page and websites search engine rankings doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to get clients. Look at what businesses in other industries do and see if it will work for you. Check out restaurants, dentists and personal trainers. They’ll be using much different ways of advertising that many photographers won’t have thought to try yet.
Appreciate Your Clients – Adding simple things like a follow up ‘thank you’ call, can dramatically boost how your clients remember you, meaning repeat visits, referrals and fantastic word of mouth.
Deliver on Promises – It’s rare these days, so won’t go unnoticed. When you say you’ll do something by a certain date or to a certain standard, make sure you do it.
Ask Questions – It’s difficult to know what could be improved on in your own business. Tiny little things that could easily be fixed go unnoticed because we are too close to the business and simply don’t see them. Asking for honest constructive feedback from clients can help to squash these things, and over time make big improvements.
For example, I had one of my students complain that the text in emails was too small. On my screen it looked fine, but for a lot of people it was tiny. I changed it within a second so now it’s better for everyone.
Another example is a photographer I was working with who had a client say they felt like they were ‘out of the loop’ on the progress of their job. So now he simply sends a short template email every few days to let current clients know what’s happening. It only takes him a few minutes but has significantly improved client satisfaction and reduced the number of email questions he gets each week.
And that’s just the beginning!
These are just some of the small things you should be working on because they will bring you small improvements, and when those small improvements are combined they’ll begin to snowball and you’ll start to notice big changes.
Don’t make the mistake most business owners are making and hope for that one big idea to change everything – even though it does happen, it’s usually a case of the right idea, in the right place, at the right time. If any one of those factors didn’t line up it wouldn’t work.
Here’s what to take away from this…
Improve the things you can improve, even if they seem small.
So, what’s something small that has annoyed you about a business?
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