by Ron Pybus Published 01/02/2010
Part 17 on the business aspects of being a successful photographer by Ron Pybus ma aswpp.
We have been through the depths of a recession, but the constant doom and gloom now seems to have changed into signs of slight growth. Economists predict that we are in a 'W' economy. We have fallen down the slope and are coming up the other side, slowly, this will probably dip again, after Christmas, but not as deep as last February, then it will rise again, quite rapidly. The graph of this forms a 'W'- hence the W economy.
I am no financial expert, but my business seems to be picking up quite well with more and more customers ordering far more than the basic packages and several spending more than happened pre-recession.
My business strategy moved from just marketing family photographs to marketing heritage, emotion and family values and it seems to be paying off. I was fortunately ahead of the game and I lost little during the past year. I was only about 5% down over the last 12 months. It was because I was planning ahead that I was able to maintain this level of business and I am now working on how to build the business even higher when the recession does draw to a close.
I personally feel that April 2010 onwards will see the rapid growth that has been projected. There is no doubt that we need to be planning our development NOW not in March next year.
I have just formed a new link with a children's softball play centre and have a large display just inside the entrance where hundreds of families see it every week. This is in addition to a similar display I have in the local baby shop and in the high-street window of a financial adviser. Even though I am based in a village with the studio alongside the house, I have a fairly major presence in the town centre, coupled with an exclusivity deal in these three locations.
I am working with the financial consultant on a joint marketing scheme in the lead up to Christmas and with the softball centre on their party promotions. We are in the process of revamping all the images in our studio and have changed the images in our town centre exhibitions to show a more emotional style. We normally change our images in each location every four months and always change every picture, rather than just one or two, so as the display has a major impact on regulars to the various premises.
We have also been changing our lighting set-up in the studio to give a slightly different impact to our pictures. We have also been reviewing all our equipment and come to the conclusion that we have no need to replace any cameras, lights, flash triggers, memory cards or computers for at least 12 months.
In these times you have to be able to respond to change and we normally uplift our prices each October 1st, but this year my lab informed me in July that they were moving away from a set of package prices to a price-per-print. Overnight this increased our costs by 34%. As his per print prices go in steps based on the number of prints ordered, we are now ensuring that we go just into a lower cost step. It works out far cheaper to have up to six additional prints made to take you into a lower price range even if you do not need the prints. These calculations come from sitting down and saying, 'How can I make this work best for me?'
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