Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thoroughly Business Day Thursday - Thought For The Day

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Did everyone enjoy the vintage images from yesterday's post? I think it is kind of a cool look back into time for me too. But today is B(Business) Day Thursday, so let's get down to business. I want to kind of pick up where I left off yesterday. That includes some 1980's business advice I picked up at a Charles Lewis seminar years ago. I had the honor of taking Mr. Lewis to the airport after he finished his program at our state convention. We still had plenty of time before his plane left so I invited him to my studio. I was just a youngin' of a photographer back then. The year was around 1982.

Chuck, as he liked to be called, surveyed my condo studio, looked at an album and proclaimed it was a $2000 album. I figured maybe he was "on something" since I had recently sold the album for about $700. He said it again to me urging me to raise my prices because of the quality of the work I was showing. After that visit, I made it a personal goal to have a $2000 wedding average within 5 years. I hit my goal 3 years later with a $2,100 average on about 75 weddings at the end of 1985! The point here is in "Goal Setting." If you never plant the $2000 seed, you will never reap the $2000 harvest - and that's the truth. Having your eye on a target will more assuredly help you get there as opposed to having your eye on no target at all.

Chuck also alluded to the line in the story, "Alice In Wonderland" that has always stuck with me over the years. At the time I was a struggling new photographer in the metro Cincinnati, Ohio area. I was trying to do it all - weddings, portraits, commercial work - I would take all jobs coming to my door, and I was going crazy never having time for my true passion of wedding and portrait photography. The story revolves around Alice getting lost in the woods and coming to the fork in the road while the Cheshire Cat was hanging out in the tree next to the road. She said she was lost and asked which way she should go. The Cheshire Cat asked her where she was heading. She said she didn't know to which he responded, "So how can I tell you how to get there when you don't even know where you are going?"

That was the "lightning bolt" for me!! I had no idea where I was going with my business. I was floundering aimlessly with no direction in particular. Every time I was enjoying concentration and working on the wedding side of my business, the phone would ring, I would stop everything and I'd be chasing a dollar here or two dollars there again. It was after the Chuck Lewis seminar that I returned home and decided to cut loose all the other types of photography I was doing or trying to do and concentrate solely on my weddings and portraits. Guess what, I now had more time to do what it took to pursue the bigger jobs in town. I could fully concentrate on my goal of offering my clients the best wedding photography in the greater Cincinnati area, and pretty soon we were.

Take a look at what you are doing, cut loose the fat and concentrate on the meat of your business. Decide what real direction you want your business to take and go for it. Start tilling your garden now so you can reap the benefits later. Keep your eye on the target, make the mid course corrections as needed, and you will eventually get there.


  1. David:

    You rock dude! I have just had an epiphany. This is my digital wake up call (I stole that last phrase) to really force me out of my comfort zone. Thanks for everything that you do. And thanks for the kick in the pants!

  2. David - If you have not read "The 22 immutable laws of marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout I think you would find it interesting. Law 12 is the Law of Line Extension - i.e., the mistake of trying to expand your product line beyond what you can do really well. Law 13 is the Law of Sacrifice, i.e., you sometimes have to give something up in order to get something greater in return. Your decision to focus on wedding and portraiture rather than trying to offer something for everyone is a prime example within photography of someone who understands the impact of violating these "laws."