Business. It takes so much energy to make everything work. And if you’re not careful, it only takes a few seconds to bring everything crashing down. One wrong move and your business can go from success to zero overnight, leaving you wondering what happened along the way.
1. Your actions get in the way of your success.
I’m a part of a weekly networking group. Every week the group meets at 7:30 am, which means all members should be in the room and ready to go at 7:30 am.
One member rarely shows up on time; she rolls in 5 to 10 minutes late every meeting. She doesn’t pay attention to the day’s speaker, and instead uses the time to text and work on her tablet. Her attention is anywhere but in the room.
Would I trust her with my business? No. Would I trust her with a referral of a good client or friend? Never. Your actions do speak volumes over your words. Make sure you are always present and putting your best on display at all times when you are visible to the public.
2. Stop marketing.
You are down 20 percent over last year’s figures. You have to make cuts. So you decide to stop sending out postcards, stop the ad in your local guide, and cut an ad or two online. Times are tough, you have to cut back, right?
Nope. When times are tough, it is important to stay lean. But the last place you should cut back on is your marketing. Your marketing gets your name out there, makes prospects see you, and gives you the potential of connecting with a new series of clientele.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t evaluate what is in place and refocus your efforts. Make sure you are getting results from what you are doing. Then keep it up or add more. It’s the only way to connect and grow in the future.
3. You post, tweet, talk, blog or comment before thinking.
Have you ever seen this come through in your newsfeeds?
“Yeah, I just booked a wedding today. Now I guess I better learn how to photograph weddings.”
“I just completely screwed up a clients engagement images. They are horrible. Will be working all night on them trying to salvage something. I love you Photoshop.”
These are just two of the many, many damaging things I see coming through the social world. People post without thinking. They don’t see it as a testimony to who they are both as a person and as a business. If so, I guarantee you they wouldn’t post such things for all the world to see.
If you just booked your wedding with Mary Smith, assuming she was a competent photographer by the way she sold herself, wouldn’t you want to follow her on Facebook? How would you feel if the above comment came through on your newsfeed?
Remember, its all about image. You convey your image every single second of the day, with everything you do, both online and off.
4. You let anger and your feelings get in the way of running your business.
It’s hard when someone comes after you in a “pit bull” way. They may scream profanity at you. They may tell you your stupid. They may say things you never even dreamed of hearing in your life. They may tell you you’re the worst photographer in the world. You know it’s not true; yet it’s hard not taking it to heart.
Running a business means stepping away from your feelings, and doing what’s right for your business. No, you don’t have to take abuse. But you should never “fight back” in any way. Simply turn around and remove yourself from the situation. Write out a check if you need to in order to get this client out of your life. End the relationship as quickly as possible. And never let him or her see you when your emotions are running high over the situation.
5. You focus on profits instead of long term success.
Yes, we’re all in business to make money. But in some cases its more important to focus on client retention and keeping customers happy rather than how much you can make from one client.
Every client that comes through your door has the potential of becoming a lifetime client. They may buy from you again and again, year after year. They may refer friends and colleagues. They may spend thousands of dollars with you over the course of the next ten years. If that’s the case, should you worry about the $10 you’ll lose because of mis-quoting them? Or giving them a “deal” because of miscommunication?
Remember, a happy client can have a major impact on your business, now and years into the future. Your goal with every client should be to bring in only the best, and strive to make them the happiest people on earth. If you can do that with just a few, your business will be set for life.