Now I am not going to give you the list. Why? Because every market is different. But I will tell you what we are doing and how we decided what the three things are that will grow our business.
The problem I see with most photographers is how they started their business and continue to run it. Most photographers start the same way. They decide that it would be great to own their own business. Plus they love photography and they are good at it. So they look around and see what all the other photographers are doing. They copy it with one thing in mind, they will do it better! Why not? They got the skills and can see all the short falls in the other photo studios. But here is the problem, their whole business plan is based on what others are doing but doing it better. Well to be honest, most of the things they pick to be better at are not noticed by customers.
So what are the three things you can do to grow your business? The anwser is do three things that the other studios are not doing. Not the 10 thing but just three. Three things that you can do that your competition is not. Don’t copy other photographers, change the game on them. Customers will notice that.
There is one last step that is super important that you do before I tell you the three things we do. Everything, and I mean everything at your business needs to be filter passed your three things. If you are doing something that is not helping with you with your three items, stop doing it. If you are doing anything to get in the way of three things, change it now.
So here are the three things that we do to grow our business. They change every year based on what is going on in our market. And some never change because for some reason our market never changes. To be honest that doesn’t surprise me.
1) We answer the phone, we return all phone calls in less then 24 hours and we use the phone as our main form of communication.
Let me explain why this is number one. In our market no one answers their phone. I know this because I tested it. I called all the photographers in my market (from a different number). I told my wife, that if someone answered that I would buy them a cup of coffee and just chat about work. No one answered. When customers call around, they leave messages until they get to us. When they call us, we answer and book them. That is what they wanted. So that is what we do.
And everything we do in our business goes to making sure that goal happens.
I knew I was on to something when I talked to a client and they said they had called everyone in town before us. She had heard that we “cost” a lot. No one called her back for three days. So she called us and paid up because she wanted pictures.
2) Other studios in our market, don’t have as nice of a studio as we do.
This one is simple, our studio sets us apart. So we keep it clean and in tip top shape. We also invite our customers into the studio as much as possible. It sets us apart so why not show it off.
This example is why I didn’t start with my three things. Because this may not be turn in your market. If other photographers have really nice studios then you need to find something else to compete on.
3) Our products are nicer then everyone else. Plus we package them that way.
When we shop around to add a new product line, we look at all the samples. Who does the best canvas? Who does the nicest metals? We don’t sell cheap stuff to save money. Our customers are not looking to save money. They are looking for the best and we are going to give it to them. We don’t sell books, we only sell high end albums. If it can be found at Costco or on a cheap online lab website, it is not for us. We also sell wall clusters because it is a nicer product and no one in our market does it as well as we do.
So now what? Take some time and find the 3 things that other studios in your market are not doing and start doing that today. Then everything in your business need to support those three things or your customer will never notice. If you are stuck on where to get started, do some research on your Unique Selling Proposition. It will be work that will help you grow.