The headlines everywhere read doom and gloom. It’s the toughest time of all to make profits with a business, not to mention the possibility of starting one up. Should you take all of this to heart? If you’ve always dreamt of starting and growing a photography business, and turning it into your career, is now the time?
I’ve started up 3 separate businesses over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen good times and bad. While good times are great and people definitely spend a ton of money, in many ways the tough times are even better. IF you’re a smart business owner.
During good times, it’s easy to start a business and bring in customers. People spend easily, so it’s easily to gain a little attention and build your business quickly. But think for a moment what’s happening now. People are holding on to their money. It’s harder to bring in business. People look for wise investments instead of splurging. It’s not that they aren’t willing to spend; they just think twice now before stepping into the buyer mode. Which means your job now more than ever is to prove your worthy of the spending.
Instead of cutting back on your marketing, invest even more. It may take three postcards instead of one or two to get a family in for a portrait. It may take four office visits to set up a new commercial account with a marketing director. It’s all about the relationship, and people want to know they are making a wise choice before they spend their money. So if you’ve been saying these 5 things lately, and are debating on shutting down your doors, you may want to think again.
1. Business is slow. Business is slow because many people don’t know you exist. If you’re not out networking and marketing at the same level or even more, people are unsure of whether you’re still in business.
2. I’ve never advertised before. If you’ve been in business for a while, maybe you have a great referral source. Take a look at your source – is it having trouble? Think about if you’re targeting a particular neighborhood that is filled with technology workers. And the main employer in the area just laid off 30,000 people. Your source may be having trouble at the moment. But if you found a new neighborhood that is filled with doctors, and it’s next to a new hospital, you would have much higher success. Don’t rely on just one source.
3. I don’t know how to advertise because it all costs so much. What type of advertising have you looked at before? Yellow pages, magazines and newspapers may be well out of reach. But what about dedicating more to your web presence? Don’t become narrow minded when it comes to advertising. There are dozens of possibilities; you just have to find the right mix.
4. I’ve sent one postcard and nobody responded. The average person needs to see a marketing message 7 to 12 times before they respond. And then they respond only if they are truly interested. The key is to see the message again and again, to where you are instantly thought of when the need does occur. Build your pond and fish from it regularly. That’s the only way to build a healthy business.
5. I’ve tried things in the past and they just don’t work. Be honest with yourself, and really look at what you’ve tried and the success you’ve had. Mailing out 50 postcards once in 6 months is not a great attempt. Instead, think long term. What can you do over 6 months to reach out to your prospects 7 to 10 times? How can you build that relationship?