Thursday, January 22, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Are You Working At Your Business Or Working For Your Business?

Good Morning Everybody,
Well, as I write this, I have my too little pets (maybe more) keeping me company. My desk is right next to the fireplace in my sales studio. Check out last week's Business Day Thursday [link] and you can see the fireplace slightly left of center in the shot. Look a bit more to the left and you can see the back of my computer monitor - yep, that's DigitalProTalk's world headquarters.

Anyway, it seems that during our super cold week of weather, a raccoon or a possum family found their way down the chimney and have taken up temporary winter residence. All day long, I hear them sneezing, wheezing, and purring. When I'm meeting with clients, I have to explain it's not me or my stomach making those sounds - the remark is quite the ice-breaker. I'm not quite sure how to solve my dilemma - um-mm.. maybe a fire in the fireplace - just kidding. As long as they are reasonably quiet, they can hang around till I come up with a better idea or Mother Nature blesses us with some warmth. Anyway, on with Business Day Thursday...

Are You Working AT Your Business Or Working FOR Your Business?
This thought occurred to me last week, as we were moving through the hustle and bustle of a typical workday. And although we're not always “pedal to the metal” around here, we do get a break every now and then. It was during one of those breaks that brought this thought to mind.

So many of us are caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of our businesses. We think being busy is making us money. The fact of the matter is being busy is probably not helping us be as successful as we could be. Busyness does not equal success. Some of us could be a lot less busy if we would manage our time differently and organize ourselves differently within our studio. Folks, I'm not talking necessarily about a full time Main Street studio. I'm talking about everybody involved in a photographic endeavor whether it be full-time or part-time or beginning on the road to a photographic career.

To read the rest of the story, hit the "Read More..." link below.

So, are you working at your business or for your business? How can we work for our business? What I mean by this is taking time out of the hectic schedule and spending it on thinking about your business, promoting your business, or just exploring how you might improve procedures and practices that you're doing right within your own workspace. I’m talking about trading “busyness” – working AT the business for strategic planning time where you are working FOR your business. If each and every one of us would spend one hour a week organizing, planning, and promoting; this added time would help “grease the wheels” and really get our businesses moving along.

Being tied up – almost hamstrung - in the day-to-day busy activities really undermines the success of so many businesses. No time to think, no time to plan, no time to succeed – that is the reality.

In my early days, I knew that I had to have a weekly Monday morning quarterback meetings with my studio manager. But, as most people in most studios, I was always too busy. I was always too busy with this or that project and was always falling out of the habit of meeting regularly with my studio manager.

Here is an analogy that I think works. It was kind of like having a sore tooth in the beginning. It doesn't hurt much and you figure you don't need to go to the dentist. But after a while the pain builds and sure enough you find yourself with severe tooth, neck, jaw pain before finally going to the dentist. That's what would happen to me in cycles. I can remember where things seemed to be getting a little bit “out of whack,” things were not running as smoothly as they should be. There seemed to be a slight lack of communication between my staff and myself on some issues.

Only when it got bad enough – things were getting even more disorganized - is when I went to the “doctor” – and started to have my necessary weekly meetings again. Every time I got into the habit of regularly scheduling the meetings, there seemed to be a sense of relief knowing that things were back on an even keel. It happened every time we started those weekly meetings - my business would always get back to running smoothly. It’s still a lesson I need to relearn occasionally. As I sit back and reflect on those times, it is so much “human nature” knowing what you need to do and then for whatever reason or excuse, not doing it.

So are you working AT your business or are you working FOR your business? It behooves each and every one of us to spend at least an hour a week working FOR our businesses success, and its continued growth. My recommendation is to choose any one aspect of your business that needs improvement and just concentrate on that one thing for a 30-day period. For instance, how about self-promotion how do you get the word out about who you are and what you do. I think this should be one of the top priorities.

Plan on spending that first hour of Week 1 thinking about how you might start promoting your business. Then, the second week, put a plan together on exactly what you're going to do. Hey, it doesn’t have to be a perfect plan. We are talking about developing “success” habits. And on the third week start “working at the plan” in starting to reach those potential clients. And then fourth week, evaluate what happened the week before, make mid-course corrections, set goals and proceed ahead again.

You may spot some signs of success early on, hopefully you do. It will give you the incentive to continue on that straight path. This post is about developing success habits, habits that may start small but grow BIG. You have to start somewhere. Doing the same thing over and over again and not seeing any positive results is NOT how to be successful. As I said there are so many ways to work AT your business but to work FOR your business’ success, you need to take the time away from the chaotic, hectic, busyness of your business to make it happen.

Food for thought...

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another edition of, guess what, Gear Bag Friday. I start looking back over the series and noticed that I have some gear conspicuously absent. It was the cameras! So tomorrow I'm just going to walk through some of the settings I use with my cameras when shooting a wedding. I hope you find it helpful and informative, and I'll plan to see you again tomorrow. Adios, -- David


  1. The trap many photographers fall into (myself included!) that makes us too busy to focus on business is not being able to say no. It's hard to turn potential clients away or to postpone their photos for a while, and we end up cramming too much into our schedules. It's nice to have reminders like you just gave to STOP and focus on what's going on behind the scenes.

  2. That's a nice and interesting post. Thank you. I could find some important tips also. I feel that I am working for the business so that it gets successful.Every Online businessman will be interested to start amazing dealings in the most lucrative markets. Just follow some business guides for move on carefully in their business