Its official. Kodak filed for bankruptcy today.

The 131 year old company went from being the leader in the industry, to losing sight of a strong, successful path.

They went from employing 63,900 to 17,000 in less than 10 years.

They failed to see future trends (even though they developed digital technology), which ultimately cost them everything.

Yet its not uncommon in today’s world.

We see it everywhere. The big companies of yesteryear are falling every day.

Part of it is the “red tape” that exists behind the industry walls. They do business the way it’s always been done. They can’t change quickly. They can’t react to current trends and what people want the most.

So they are dying off.

What’s needed in the future are quick thinkers, rapid reactors and speedy implementers.

When a new idea is conceived, you need to jump on it as fast as possible.

Consumers drive trends and very clearly tell you what they want. Listen and you are rewarded. Ignore and you’ll fail.

Kodak proved that by not listening to the demand of its own design. They had the digital concept in their hands – patent and all – and chose to ignore it all, continuing down what they thought to be the lucrative film path. Did they make money? Sure, for a while. Yet in a matter of years Canon and Nikon enveloped the market share, taking away all of Kodak’s profits for good.

If you head back decades or even centuries, you could “ignore” new ideas and probably not live to see the impact. Things happened too slow in those days. Today it’s a different story. Ignore what the market tells you and you’ll see the results in matter of months.

If you’ve been in photography for any length of time, you probably know it first hand. Can you really offer traditional portraits, weddings and commercial products? Probably not.

People don’t want to wait weeks or months for results. They want it instantly. They want it in digital format; a format they can choose to do anything they want with.

They want to share their images in a variety of ways. Bring it with them on their iPads and iPhones to have as they travel. Share with their family and friends on Facebook.

If you try and fight it, you’ll lose. (Keep Kodak in mind.)

The smart choice for the future of any photography business today is to listen to what the market is saying. They want digital formats. They want control to share in the way they see fit. They want flexibility.

Does that mean you shouldn’t get paid for it? Not at all.

Your goal now is to find new ways of packaging your ideas and concepts, selling them to clients in new formats.

If you’re a great photographer, your potential customers will see the difference and pay you what your worth.

The key is in differentiation.

If you’re the same as everyone else, you have no value.

If you’re offering old ideas and technology, you have no worth.

If you’re innovative and provide the WOW factor, you’ll be busy well into the future.

Will you WOW your clients of the future? Or will you be a Kodak?

Choice is yours.

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