Thursday, September 30, 2010

Business Day Thursday: Time To Start Thinking About The Christmas Rush! and FREE Webcast Announced!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Yes, another afternoon post - when I looked up from a project I was working on yesterday, I noticed it was 3pm and I still hadn't posted yesterday's blog. Whoops. Heck, I do better when we are on the road ;~) Anyway, I'll plan to get back on schedule next week.

Hey gang, I've got some BIG news for you today. I'm announcing a brand new FREE webcast coming your way on October 27, 2010. It's entitled "Rocket Speed Digital Design" [link] and it's going to feature my favorite software LumaPix::FotoFusion. You can pick up all the details in the following post and register right here.

Digital Design Webcast  Horo Logo 350px

Also, later today, I'm scheduled to do a podcast with my blogging buddy, Kerry Garrison of fame. Kerry runs a great site - diverse content, lots of podcasts, and gear reviews, just to name a few of his topics. You can check out right here. I'll keep you posted as to when my podcast runs.

As usual, it's busy around the studio, but like they say, that's a good thing. Why don't we get on with today's post. Here we go...

Time To Start Thinking About The Christmas Rush!

Christmas Ornaments LR - Fotolia_5078594_Subscription_XL This is also the time of the year that "Christmas Rush" starts to kick in for us. Yes, I said Christmas rush. So how many weeks are there till Christmas?  We still have about 13 weeks until the big celebration. So, you ask, why am I worrying about Christmas rush?

I'm not suggesting you worry about Christmas rush, I'm suggesting you PLAN for it and this is the time of year to do just that. Between now and Christmas we have our current orders in process, just shot weddings to edit and post on-line, fall weddings to shoot, and the fall family portraits as the leaves turn their beautiful fall colors.

And when do all these folks want their photographs? You guessed it, by Christmas. That makes these last 12 weeks before Christmas the busiest of the year. I know what you're thinking, "what's the big deal, sounds like the money will be flowing in right?"

Yes, that is true, but here's the rub. As we gear up for the super busy time of the year, many photographers lose site of just how much is on their plate and have their backs up against the wall to get orders delivered by Christmas as they get closer to December 24. More importantly, something else suffers, too. It's that special time you want to spend with your family and friends during that celebration time of the year.

Frazzled But every busy studio that goes through it, HATES it, and SWEARS they will never let it happen again.

We were the same years ago. It was INSANE right up to Christmas Eve with me running all over town delivering client orders up to 7 or 8 p.m. A lot of photographers sacrifice the season for themselves and their families just to survive the Christmas rush.

I remember years ago being with several friends attending the performance of the Nutcracker Ballet and just sitting there NOT enjoying one bit of it and I stressed about getting all the studio work out in the next few days. Why was I wasting my time at a Ballet? I remember that moment so clearly and VOWED that it would never happen again!!!

Thankfully, we put a stop to the craziness years ago by establishing much earlier order cut off points just to be sure we could get everything delivered in plenty of time for Christmas and still enjoy the holiday ourselves and our families.

That's why October is the month when we begin thinking about the Christmas rush. Here is my tried and true plan for beating the Christmas rush at my studio.

Please hit the “Read More…” below for the rest of the story.

Don't Let The Holiday Rush Beat You Down

1- Look at your "work in progress" right now and begin planning your production timeline in order that all these orders will proceed through your production process smoothly. You don't want an order to drop through the cracks and become a "wrench in the works" for your upcoming holiday orders.

2- Establish cut off points for when album orders can be placed. Our cut off point has historically been the first week of October. That means the client to have their final choices made for the images they selected for their albums. That gave us plenty of time and a little room to spare so that we could guarantee their albums for Christmas.

DAZNOTE: Remember, the album companies get super busy that time of year too and will post their own deadlines for ordering. You need to meet or beat their deadlines to avoid costly rush charges.

3- For clients that miss your Christmas cutoff for albums, assure them that they will still receive all their extra print orders in time for the holidays. Most will have absolutely no objection about that.

4- Family portraits taken over these next few months should not be any problem at all in making Christmas delivery. Our cut off is December 1st. We will still book and shoot sessions right up to Christmas Eve if need be, but delivered prints will be on a per case basis based on clients needs and our product schedule.

DAZNOTE: Don't get me wrong. We bend over backward for our clients. If somebody needs something for the holidays, we will definitely make it happen. But remember, not every client needs photographs or albums for the holidays and is happy with a January delivery. It's these clients we want to identify - they are our holiday rush "stress relievers".

5- A client still wants a family portrait for the holiday and you are out of time to book it and shoot it? No problem, offer them a Family Portrait Gift certificate. That way they still are able to give the gift of photography for the holidays.

6- Delivery day madness can be a BIG issue. Most of our clients take delivery of their photographs in our studio. But with the hassle and the hustle of the holiday rush, we switch to plan B. We hire a part time person to make personal delivery of our albums and prints to our clients. In 8 hours you can get quite a few orders delivered at a cost much less than UPS or FEDEX. And, the client enjoys the personal contact as well.

DAZNOTE: Our part timer only works a few days right at the peak of our delivery schedule but it does relieve our client from making the trip to our studio and frees us up to get the rest of the orders delivered on time.

7- And just what is "on time" for us? This is the BIGGIE folks. We want all orders and albums delivered 7-10 days before Christmas! Why, so we can enjoy the holidays with our family and friends too.

Does it work? Absolutely, positively! We've been doing it that way for over 20 years and it has made the holidays exciting, fun, joyful, and peaceful again. I wish you the best for your upcoming holiday season.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I can't believe we are nearly at the end of the week again. It has just flown by. We'll start packing the bags for the next leg of our CBTL tour this weekend and head to Nashville on Monday. Our numbers are looking good for next week so we hope to see you there.

Have a good rest of the day and I'll see you tomorrow for a brand new Friday gear post, "Flash Power Demystified".

See ya' then, David

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