by Ron Pybus Published 01/06/2009
One of the main changes has been in re-branding and improving the whole image of our operation. I have contracted a graphic designer to come up with a whole range of stationery and publicity. With my wife Lyn also having qualified as a professional photographer we have changed our name from 'Ron Pybus Photography' to 'Pybus Studios' and we have brought the two businesses together (her textile work and macro photography and my portrait, commercial and landscape photography). In addition to this we have totally revamped the studio.
Although we work from a studio alongside the house, really a home studio, we have raised the backdrops into the ceiling, fitted new lights and new wall stands, a new floor, new storage units and new seating. We have moved it from being just a studio with props down one wall, to being a smart studio with props hidden in cupboards, very clean looks, hidden backdrop systems, good illumination. It now looks more professional and even to me, working in the studio, it makes me feel more professional and I am sure that manifests itself in my images.
I know that if I had stayed where I was in the market place I would have been at the centre of the gap between those who are not concerned about the quality but only want it cheap and those who are willing to pay a little more for improved quality. We used to package photographs as loose images with strut mounts and folders as extras. To upgrade ourselves in the eyes of others we now market everything in strut mounts, frames or albums.
Working from home in a rural village we rely on our displays in associated outlets in the town centres. I have one in a beauty salon, one in a financial advisor's window and my main one (6ft by 3ft) in a pram and toyshop. It is ever so easy to forget to update images and we are in the process of introducing the new logo to all sites along with new photographs and have set up a system to ensure regular changes of the images.
As well as looking at our image, we have looked at just how we spend money on the business. We have tended to move away from cheap offers to slightly higher-priced quality items and we constantly look at material that we throw away to see if it can be reused without affecting our image.
We are spending much more time marketing ourselves to potential customers, much more time on the phone and are introducing even more customer retention systems.
We are looking for new or increased markets with lawyers, web designers, artists, commercial companies and we are building as many contacts as possible. We have already made contacts with the developers of Trowbridge town centre, offering our services. The changes we have made certainly work. It has been our most profitable January, February and March for several years and the trend seems to be continuing in April with each of the first two weeks having more sittings than we had in the run up to Easter last year. Mainly it appears to be the result of more marketing effort and the whole design structure of our new image.
Are you starting out in business and need help in writing your first business plan or do you want help in rewriting your outdated plan or do you just want some guidance in coping with the recession?
Ron runs regular one-to-one courses over two days at his Wiltshire Studio and Training complex for a fee of £195. He has also developed a new course on managing the recession, geared specifically at photographers. This course has already been used by a variety of small business organisations and formed part of a presentation in May to the Chartered Management Institute.
Further details from Ron on 01225 774440 or Ron@pybusstudios.co.uk
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