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Too many photographers consider themselves artists. Your number one responsibility to your clients, is to BE IN BUSINESS WHEN THEY NEED YOU. There are TONS of learning resources online, in case you do not want to go back to college. One of them is http://www.KhanAcademy.org. There you can learn simple accounting and macro/micro economic principles and other business fundamentals. Another course I would strongly suggest, is that of sales. Some call prostitution the oldest profession in the world, but in all reality, SALES is the oldest profession. Try learning something new for your business at least once a month if not once a week. If you can learn 20-30 new business principles this year, imagine your success next year!

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Just about every photographer I know has their own business. Most get into it for the art and the love of photography, but there’s no denying that an entrepreneurial spirit is required as well. For the business to succeed, these two personas – the photographer and the entrepreneur – must come together into what I like to call a “photogrepreneur.”

Why is This Important?

As a small business owner, your success depends on your ability to do more than capture and deliver beautiful images.  There are a wide range of things that have to get done for any business to survive, and the smaller the business, the more the business owner must take on themselves.

Photographers love their art – it is why they do what they do.  And while it may be hard to truly love a cash flow analysis or marketing plans, these are just as important to the…

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Be Mindful While Tweeting and Posting.

Great post and tips!

How To Use A Bounce Flash, Part One: The Basics INTRODUCTION: Are you getting the most out of your bounce flash?  Or does it sit unused in your bag because you're just not comfortable with it yet?  Using a bounce flash correctly can really take your photography up to the next level.  The bounce flash is a great tool for overcoming challenging lighting situations and can also add great depth and life-like three-dimensionality to your images.  Let's consider this blog a reboot on getting to know … Read More

via PWD Labs Blog

A Word of Encouragement for Photographers Who Find Themselves on Hard Times EDITOR's NOTE: Cross-posted at GoingPro2011.com Is there a bear sitting between you and your boat? Be patient. Things change. I spent a few hours with a friend last week who has fallen on hard times. He's lost his job, his home and his girlfriend. Many of his old "friends" have abandoned him since he no longer can … Read More

via Photofocus

This is great for today’s Marketing and Motivation Monday. Jeff is kind of the YODA when it comes to being a Jedi at YOUniqueness. I can’t wait for him to come into town with his startup strategy workshop on March 25th. Register now and save $50!

Click here!

http://www.fisheyeconnect.com/workshop/208/startup-strategy-photobiz-clarity-i.aspx

Customers are wrong, don't listen When asked, customers will usually tell you that they'd like "more choices" as something that would motivate them to "buy more." On the surface, that logic sounds right. It ain't. Did you know that the more choices you have on your website, the more business you are losing? Its a well-documented behavior that when you give people too many choices, they just stop buying. Its called, "Choice paralysis" (a malady closely related to the business' dis … Read More

via Jeffrey Jochum's Blog

The Yoda man himself! I can’t wait until he comes back to Jax!

3 steps to stop your photo biz from burning you out I believe that successful artist-based businesses like professional photography is a mix of performance and production art, with something like wedding photography having the largest dependency on a great performance for it to achieve success (i.e. meeting a customer's expectations, both spoken and unspoken). I'll talk specifically about how to define this Unique Sales Position (I call this YOUniqueness) in a future post, but for now I think it i … Read More

via Startup-Strategy.com

I wanted to give a quick moment to a pioneer in the health and wellness industry who has passed. Jack Lalanne. The guy was not only years, but DECADES before the tide. He will be missed!

I just LOVE Jeff’s focus on business.

A primary benefit of Startup Strategy workshops is in the name: PhotoBiz Clarity.  Why?  Because you need clarity to create achievable goals and strategies for your business, and I want every artist-based business to succeed using goal-based strategies. (That's MY business goal, BTW) CLARITY CREATES SAFETY Bottom line is that it's really about feeding your family, your business demands and your artistic desires. This comes from learning how to en … Read More

via Startup-Strategy.com

A lot of common sense here! Sometimes we just need to step away from the camera so that we can see the entire picture!

Seven Habits That Make Better Photographers - No Camera Needed 1. Laugh, relax and don't take yourself too seriously. Be curious, happy, easy going and open. This opens up your heart which opens up your creativity. 2. Read. Reading fiction in particular helps you to visualize. Visualization exercises make for better photographers. 3. Believe you're worthy of love, success, con … Read More

via Photofocus

 

The trilogy of a brand.

The bard, William Shakespeare, wrote Romeo to question Juliette, “What’s in a name, that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet?” Romeo’s point was that if a rose was called a dandelion, would that change the smell of the rose? And of course the answer is no, but is that the same with business?

If Coca-Cola was Sprite, and vice-versa, would you still not, “have a Sprite and smile,” or “Obey your thirst, Coke!”  Or if Amazin’ Software did not change their name to Electronic Arts, would it still be “in the game?” For some companies, though, their brand identification is the most valuable asset that the company possesses.

As small business owners, we have a dedication to our clients that goes beyond our names, but to the essence of who we are. Many small business owners, change their name, their logos, their entire look, without changing what they do, in the hope of changing their brand. After all the time and money doing this they often come to realize that those changes had no affect on their brand, because very rarely did they ever change what they did.

As defined, a brand is the IDENTITY of a specific service, product or business. All the parts of your business defines your brand. The value that you provide to your clients define your brand. EVEN the clients you service define your brand. For many years Ford Motor Company and its subsidiary, Lincoln, worked hard to get rid of the image of being identified with mobsters. Cadillac changed its brand over the past 15 years to appeal to the 35-50 age demographic, where once it was thought they this group could not afford, nor wanted the large and plush luxury cars that were offered by Cadillac and Lincoln. This all changed with Toyota, Nissan, and Honda, all offering high-end vehicles to appeal to this group.

I am a car guy, and have often used the examples of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as picture of what branding should be. If you ever go into one of their showrooms, you will find that the showroom experience is completely different from that of other car companies. Furthermore, as you go across the nation, you will find that all their showrooms are designed and operated very similar. Another example of this is CARMAX, which has made all of its stores a mirror image of each other.

So why is this so important? It deals with client’s expectations for one. When someone interacts with you, what are they expecting? Are they expecting personalized service, or are they expecting speed and efficiency?

For this reason, I tried to find a way of how I could best serve my clients, while maintaining a certain value structure. For me, I found some separation was in order. As a photographer, one would imagine that my business would begin and end with photography. My training goes far beyond photography though, with a BA in Business Administration, emphasis in Technology Management (cum laude), LEAN/Six Sigma certified, over 15 years in direct sales experience, and other credentials that I can go on about; it is easy to understand why my focus would be more towards business strategies than simple photography.

For this reason I decided to create two new divisions of my company. One geared primarily at B2B(Milverton Visuals) and one aimed at my bridal clients(Milverton Weddings). With LDPhotography remaining intact to service my clients who were requiring photos for personal usage such as families and portfolios. I will go over in a subsequent blog some of the challenges that comes along with establishing a brand, and then choosing to “rebrand.”  As you can see, they are visually consistent in identification, while maintaining their own distinct look, feel, and function. The greatest of which, for me, was growth. The better I can help my clients grow to meet their needs, the better I can grow myself. The more I can grow, the more I can help my clients grow, and continue the cycle.

So next time you crack open a can of soda, or walk into a car dealership, or even stop to smell the roses, think of if the brand defines the company, or does the company or object define the brand.

Many success.

Leighton

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