Create what the marketing experts call a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. Within one relatively moderate sentence or phrase, you should be able to describe how customers will benefit from hiring you; what makes you unique, different and superior to your competitors.
Prepare a business plan, if you haven’t. Even if you have, then review and revise it regularly, as the direction of your business changes and new opportunities come your way. Business plans are meant to be flexible, dynamic guides, not a rigid plan that you must follow, even when it doesn’t seem to be the right path to success. You should expect that the outcome you’ve projected in the first version of your business plan would never be the exact reality you actually experience.
Another high-value task, as a photography business owner, is marketing. Many small business owners mistakenly think their primary goal is profits. Profits will take care of themselves if you use a maximum amount of your time to find new business and, just as importantly, retain more of your current customers, as sources of future profits. It costs much less to keep current customers satisfied than to acquire new clients.
Learn how to become a prime salesperson for your business. You started your photography business because of your passion for photography and the drive to own an independent business. No one could be more enthusiastic about what you do and how it can benefit people in your community. You should like your services and product so much that you can’t wait to tell others about it.
Understand the genuine needs, problems and aspirations or your customers thoroughly. Don’t just sell them photos, but address their needs and problems with specific solutions, so your services and products improve the quality of their lives. Learn how to explain to prospective customers how you will serve them at a deeper and more comprehensive level.
Once you understand your customers thoroughly, provide them with the best customer service possible. Read and study the literature about customer service concepts and models, so you can develop a customer service program that goes beyond what your customers would expect from a photography business.
Work with your accountant to develop a financial system for your business that is based on a realistic budget, and with tight controls of the purse strings. You want a daily picture of your cash and cash flow. The bottom line is that making your business more valuable is measured in dollars, so adopt the financial point-of-view that you only spend money to make money. Remember, if it's not revenue, it's an expense!
In the PhotographyTalk.com article, How Much Is Your Photography Business Worth And Why You Should Know, it was explained that knowing the value of your photography business is critical if you expect it to provide you with some of your retirement income. This need should drive you to make your business as valuable as possible. You can maximize its value when you focus most of your time on a number of high-value tasks. Find an assistant and train him or her to assume the everyday tasks of running your business: answering the phone, emails, updating Web sites, running errands, etc. This will free more of your time for the tasks that lead to building more equity in your business.
A thorough and up-to-date business plan is a sign of a professional and good business manager. Without a plan, you will have little or no credibility with bankers or other financing sources. Some attorneys and accountants may assist on a plan before they will agree to represent and work for you.
Creating and regularly revising your business plan will force you to examine and focus on exactly what is working and not working in your business. Problems won’t become as big or lay there and festering because you’ve anticipated or identified them early, giving you plenty of time to apply good solutions.
As a small business owner, you can emulate the financial philosophy of the biggest companies, which is typical finding the balance between cutting all unnecessary costs and still providing the same quality and service. The most successful business owners in the world know that their businesses are more valuable because they are conservative with their personal finances. Believe it or not, some of the world’s richest (and smartest) people eat lunch at the same places their employees do, drive their own (and moderately priced) cars and don’t clutter their lives with expensive toys that just deter them from focusing on building more equity in their businesses.
Image credit: khmel / 123RF Stock Photo
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