Here’s a sequence that you could be using in your business, whether it’s in regard to marketing, or the technique you use to photograph a home, or your pricing:
Step 1. Identify.
The first thing you need to do is identify the problem that you want to solve. Research it thoroughly, and make sure you know as much as possible about the problem so that you can be sure you are going in the right direction.
For example, you don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that the big problem you have is that clients think that you charge too much and that’s why they don’t hire you, when in reality the issue is that everything about your business screams ‘amateur’, and so clients can’t see the value in the prices you’re currently asking. In this situation it’s not a pricing issue but a positioning issue, and that’s going to require a different approach.
Step 2. Plan.
Once you know what the problem is, the next step is to work out how you are going to solve it. What will you do first? Then what will you do next? And depending on what happens there, what will you do after that?
It can be so helpful to plan out the sequence of events where you work on something, and if you can’t make a small jump from where you are to where you want to be, then you need to ask, “What do I need to do before I get to that point?”
Then after you’ve planned that first jump, ask yourself, “Then what happens?” And then define what could happen or needs to happen after that step, and then do the same thing after the next step, and so on. Going through the process in this way will lay out all of the little flow-on effects that can come from one change.
For example, you might do a review of your costs and find that you aren’t charging enough. Your first response will be to raise your prices. But then when you ask, “What do I need to do before I get to that point?”, you’ll find that you need to decide out how you will communicate that price rise to your clients, and give them sufficient warning that prices are going up. What will you say to them? How will you share that message with them?
Then what happens after you raise your prices? You would expect that it would be a little harder to get new clients, or that you will lose some of your old clients. What will you do at that point to get new clients? You will need to build a marketing system that shows the added value that you bring to your clients, and you would need to work on your positioning so that your brand is seen as one that is worth paying higher fees for.
Step 3. Take action.
A lot of small business owners can do the planning, but the implementation part? That’s a lot harder. We’re all too busy doing other things to get to the action part. But that’s the problem! As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, we think that we are in control, but a lot of photographers are actually operating more like factory workers who are simply going through the motions.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If we have correctly identified the problem, and if we have planned out each step of the journey towards a viable solution, then it comes down to acting on that plan and getting things done.
One way to make sure those tasks are completed is to put them in the calendar. For me, if I don’t book something in then more often than not it doesn’t get done. So if you need to do something, write it in your calendar, diary or booking schedule, and make sure it’s completed. If you don’t do that then other things can quickly come in, and your best intentions are put off to the side ‘for another day’.
Step 4. Review.
After completing a single step in this change process, review what you’ve done and check to make sure that you are still on track to fulfil your goal.
For example, if you try a new marketing sequence, give it a test with a small number of prospects first, and perhaps tweak it and try the second version on another small sample, then review the tests to see which one performed better. What worked well? What needs changing? Did you achieve your goals?
It’s so important that you review what you’re doing, and if need be go back to the planning stage, or even the identification stage, and start again if things aren’t working. The point, though, is that you are constantly checking, adapting, and growing in your business, and not staying still.
Take control of your business, be committed to marketing and learning, act like an entrepreneur, and you will build your business!
About Darryl Stringer:
Darryl Stringer is a business growth specialist who transformed his own photography business from nothing to one that turned over $2.7 million in sales, and he now assists architectural and real estate photographers around the world with their marketing, photography, and pricing. A lot of photographers struggle with the business side of photography, and Darryl’s program fills that gap and pushes photographers on to greater things. As one of his photography clients put it:
“After joining [Darryl’s program] and receiving all the information needed to really lift the business I was able to turn it into a successful business in what I would consider a short amount of time.”
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