As the great Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” With all the moving parts of a business to look after, it’s no wonder that some things fall through the cracks, thus affecting your business growth and bottom line profits.
As photographer entrepreneurs, we are responsible for many moving parts. And most of it involves more than the photography session itself! Marketing our business, networking in our community, customer service, follow-up, editing and post production, referral programs…the list goes on and on.
Without having systems in place, you can very easily become distracted and sabotage yourself. This can end up leaving you overwhelmed and stressed on an emotional level, as well as leaving potential money on the table.
Let’s examine 5 mistakes that will diminish your profits if not fixed right away.
- Inconsistent Marketing
It’s just not enough to publish one Facebook or Instagram post or a blog every week. Likewise, ignoring your email list is also detrimental to your business. If you don’t keep up with a consistent marketing plan, people will forget your name, will forget how they ended up on your email list, or forget why they’re following you on social media. These forgotten people need to be won over yet again and they need to hear and see your company name on a consistent basis before they decide to spend money on your photography products or services. Find mentors and resources to offer solutions and ideas to make your marketing more consistent and more effective.
- Failure to Automate
Are you stuck in the old school way of doing things, like making phone calls to confirm appointments instead of using SMS technology to send text message reminders to confirm? Even posting on social media can be automated using platforms such as Hootsuite or Meet Edgar. Yes, these automation tools cost money but compare the monthly or annual costs to the cost of an employee or a virtual assistant doing the same task. The old school ways are much more time consuming, thus costs you more money in the long run. Take action and educate yourself about the latest technology that can help you automate while sticking within your budget.
One of the tools that we love to use for automation is 17hats. The workflows are set up so that you know where exactly your prospects are in the buyer’s journey. With the workflows you can set up to do lists or emails to be sent out automatically or with the press of a button after your approval. This takes the guesswork out of what emails you need to send, because they are all listed in one place to use. Another bonus 17hats offers is templates with emails already pre-written, like our Headshots and Wedding emails that we use with our clients in our photography business.
- Poor Branding or Messaging
What is your company’s mission? What is your Unique Selling Point? If you can’t answer these two questions, you need to revisit your messaging and your business image. Branding is more than your logo and business colors; branding is your overall image and what you promise to your customers. Ask yourself questions that will help you drill down to those core principles that drive your business and be sure to write them down so you can create a more consistent branding message.
- Bad Money Management
What processes do you have in place for your bookkeeping and paying your monthly invoices? Do you have any idea what your income vs expense spreadsheet looks like? Do you have a habit of buying training classes that you don’t have time to use? We call this class hoarding and it is an all too common practice! There’s no reason you should be surprised at tax time with how much (or how little) profit you made in the last year. Businesses that are positioned for growth have good money management solutions in place. By creating a budget along with solid processes for handling your monthly expenses, you will have a better understanding to forecast what the future holds from a financial standpoint.
- Reluctance to Reinvest in Your Business
Think of reinvesting as a way to grow your business. Instead of taking the extra profits out to pay yourself every month, keep those profits in the business and use them to hire a virtual assistant, purchase software or training tools that will help your business, or invest in a business coach. Each of these reinvestment options will help your business run more efficiently so you can have more time to serve your customers and prospects. Of course, you should pay yourself a salary every month. It’s the profits (or a percentage of the month’s profits) that should remain in the business to help it grow.
As you can see, there are many business mistakes that you might be making right now that can get rectified right away, to give you more solutions for your growth. Start with one mistake you may be making and figure out what small changes you can make today to allow your photography business to grow and thrive!