"I'll be telling delegates at the school how liken a photography business to a three-legged milking stool: the first leg is your product, and you have to have something that lots of people want to buy. The second leg is marketing - it's no good having a great product if no one knows you've got it - while the third leg is sales. You now have a great product and good marketing so clients are beating a path to your door, but if you don't sell at the right price, and there's not a decent net margin in it for you, then you will fail. If anyone of those legs is weak, or the 'ground' on which your business rests particularly soggy, your stool is going to fall over!"
One of Jonathan's passions is business development, and he's keen to make the case to photographers who are not yet convinced that they need to work on this side of things. "When I started out 22 years ago there were very few business-savvy portrait photographers in the market," he says. "However, there are now some very slick, successful operations, and some good trainers out there, who have shown that they can 'walk the walk.' Things have moved on, and I'll be telling delegates they need to as well.
"Personally, I think the Business School is the most important part of the Convention since, with good speakers, delegates should come away with at least some of the tools needed to turn their passion into their living, either part- or full-time, and that is literally priceless. What it costs to come along on these two days has got to be money well spent."
Zach and Jody Gray, who are presenting a talk entitled 'Three Steps to Bigger Sales,' are likewise convinced of the need for good business training. "We like to say that 90% of the success of our business is not down to our photography, but is due to our business sense," says Jody.
'The Three Steps to Bigger Sales' is about increasing after-wedding, or after-portrait sales. Many of us didn't get into photography because we love sales. Rather we love shooting, and learning how to be a sales person tends to fall to the bottom of our 'to do' list. However, by not giving your clients an opportunity to buy, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity. After-wedding, or after-portrait sales are a great opportunity to bring in more income for your business, and you can build these without having to be a slick sales person."
It's appropriate that Catherine should have the last word, and she's hugely looking forward to the chance to try out some fresh ideas in a swish new location. "The timing is perfect because coming just before the bulk of the Convention takes place people will come out of the Business School enthused and with a better idea of the workshops they should be going to see and the products they need to check out at the Trade Show. You can always spot someone who's been with us for two days because they have this glow and energy about them. It's so exciting to be part of all of that and to know that we're helping people to get more out of their businesses."
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 265 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 16th March 2022