Good Morning Everybody,
Last week I began a discussion about photo studios being behind the “eight ball” for this upcoming holiday season [link]. Can you believe that Christmas is only six weeks away! One thing I've learned over my many years in business is that I absolutely hated the holiday rush for my photography studio.
The Agony Of The Holiday Rush
I can remember taking some time off with family and friends to attend the Nutcracker Ballet here in Cincinnati, Ohio years ago. As I sat there all I could do was stress out about all the work I still had to finish back at the studio. The holiday rush had turned everything into a blur for me. Neither my heart nor my soul was into the evening performance and when I returned to the studio later that night, I remember working till about 2:00 a.m. – NOT FUN!
After that experience many years ago I promised myself that I would never do that again. The first thing we instituted at my studio was to stop making holiday delivery promises that we knew we could not reasonably keep. Just to give you an example, back in the day wedding album companies were taking 8 to 12 weeks to complete and ship their albums to photo studios. Thankfully that is not the case today.
Finally, Making Promises We Could Keep
So, how did we get out from behind the “eight ball” back in those days? We simply never promised an album for holiday delivery if the client was making their final selections in October, that’s right – October. If I was making a presentation to a client in October, we would only promise the extra prints but never the album.
I know to many of you reading this that timeline may seem outrageous but as I said, several years ago the norm for the album companies to deliver albums was a much longer turnaround than we have today. By the way, that's one thing I love about Zookbinders, my favorite bookbinder for over 15 years now. Talking to my good friend Mark Zucker, the owner of the company, he has told me that in a pinch, Zookbinders could turn an album around in about a week. That was unheard of years ago. Zookbinders delivers the best handmade, leather bound books in the business. I was amazed when he told me this.
When I needed an extended collection of albums in a very short amount of time, Zookbinders went above and beyond the call of duty for me. It just points out what we can expect from a company that offers great service.
Where Are You With Your Holiday Season Production Plans!
Anyway, this brings us to the topic of today's discussion. The most important thing you can do for your business and your sanity is to get your postproduction planning in place right now. Since we've been home from our many weeks of travel we've already had a production meeting, looked at what our commitments were for the holiday season, and came up with this year's best plan to get everything delivered seven days before the Christmas Eve deadline.
What that means for myself, LaDawn, and our staff is that the holidays will be something that we can enjoy with our family and friends as well. At David A. Ziser Photography you will never find us with our backs against the wall at four o'clock in the afternoon on Christmas Eve trying to get the last order out the door!
Again, maybe it's just the bad taste I got in my mouth so many years ago when I made a personal delivery to a client of their album at seven o'clock in the evening on Christmas Eve. They never even offered so much as a “thank you” for my extra effort and quickly left for their evening out.
But at the same time I was missing Christmas with my family – I was “ticked off”. You should never be “ticked off” during the holiday season so, once again, don't put yourself in that situation. Evaluate what you have to deliver between now and Christmas, promise yourself that you will get your album orders all to the album company early, and plan to get all the other production elements of your orders completed and to the lab ahead of schedule. It may require you to spend a few overtime hours to get everything completed now but the payoff, time with your family this holiday season, is well worth the early effort.
Plan, Produce, and Deliver – NOW!
The bottom line is this Plan, Produce, Deliver – with the promise to yourself that all your deliveries be completed and delivered at least one week before the Christmas Eve deadline. I promise you that once you experience the relief of the holiday rush you'll never go back to the old ways of doing things. And, BTW, you’ll have a very, merry holiday season. Best of luck everybody!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'm back to work on my PhotoPro Expo 2012 convention. So how about I see everybody tomorrow for a short, easy post as we move into this upcoming weekend.
Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you then.