Thursday, January 08, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Don’t Rest On Your Laurels

Good Morning Everybody,
Wow! 11 hours to get back from Orlando - plane delays, more delays, and then even more delays. Seemed we had a "little weather" heading our way back in Cincy and now Thursday morning we have a little of that beautiful, fluffy white stuff all over the place - Florida sunshine anybody?

Anyway, I'm a Midwesterner so I don't mind the snow. In fact, I love the first snow fall of the year - its the 5th, ,6th, and 7th that start to get to me;~) So being snowed in today, I'm putting finishing touches on our Digital WakeUp Call Tour so we can get brochures and websites in production. This is a big project but I think you are going to love the results. As I said, I'll keep you posted as things come together. Hey, I've got a few thoughts for Business day Thursday, so please read on and I hope to hear from you on this one.

Business day Thursday: Creating New Products – Don’t Rest On Your Laurels
Here we are the first week of 2009 all our sales dials are set back to zero and we've got to get the studio chugging along again for 2009. It's that time of the year that each and every one of us have to be reconsidering our product offerings for our clients. Too many photographers move through from one year to the next with the same stale selection of products. These products unfortunately hardly ever get changed or updated. These types of studios are quickly losing ground to the studios accessing today’s client needs and giving the new client what they want.

Things are changing quite rapidly out there for each and every one of us in this digital professional of ours. We need to be on the forefront offering products that speak to the needs and wants of those prospective clients.

Last year as I was delivering a wedding album to a client, I received a request from the mother of the bride asking if I could put together a special slide presentation of select images that she could play on her computer. She wasn't necessarily looking for a parent's album, but in this case, still wanted to have a collection of images that she could share with family and friends and do it electronically - an electronic family album, if you will.

We had offered something like this in years past but it was retired from our product line being replaced with our really cool high-res DVD presentations. But the lesson I learned is that we need to listen to our clients. They may have the idea(s) for our new product offerings.
I was able to accommodate the client and now we have a new product for 2009.

I think it's time that each and every one of us sit down and examine our own conscience and explore what products we need to create or update for 2009. What product designs do we need to freshen up for 2009? What products do we need to retire from our lineup just because people aren't ordering anymore or maybe because they just don't fit with our current product offerings? We need to look at the technologies that are available, see what new products speak to these new technologies, and put together some very interesting offerings for our clients.

I've mentioned earlier that I'm pretty fired up with a brand-new fusion of video and still photography on the new DSLR cameras available on the market. How we can use the functionality of the Nikon and Canon camera offerings in our own studio? Thinking this whole thing through is definitely on the front burner for my studio. I've had several discussions with several other photographers about how we can bring this new technology and incorporate it into our own new product offerings.

We've got a couple of ideas under way. And, I plan to share with you as we refine them just a bit more. The bottom line is that this; the new video offers us several new options for product development but on the other hand, I do not want the product production to gobble up hours of my production time in producing the final product. It must be efficient, current, salable and easy to produce. I think you see what I mean here. But, that still doesn't mean that there aren't opportunities available. And, yes, I think the production issues can be solved.

So what new products are you coming up for your clients in the New Year? Are you offering some of the new pre-press book products available at many of the labs? Are you planning to incorporate video in any of your still works in your new product offering? Are you offering any new kind of portrait sessions or promotions for your clients? Have you incorporated new backgrounds, locations, styles into your portrait session? So what is it that you're going to do for 2009?

If you've got some exciting ideas, please share them in our comments section below. With all of us putting on our thinking caps I think we can come up with a great selection and some great ideas for the New Year. I'm looking forward to see what kind of ideas we receive.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Plan to stop by again tomorrow for one of our last Gear Bag Friday episodes, “Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel" or “What's Left In the Gear Bag?” So gang, until then I'll see you tomorrow. Adios, – David

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