Doing more with less... - part 1 of 1

Published 01/06/2009

Howard Butterfield of theimagefile...

offers some more good advice In these times we are all under increasing competitive pressure to offer 'more for less' and it is often very difficult to see where the next savings are going to come from. It helps on occasion, to consciously take some quiet time to detach a little and spend a few hours working on the business rather than in it.

Customers will pay for what they value and inversely of course it will be tricky to get them to pay for what they do not perceive as value.

This 'value' is often easier to see with products; those your customers prefer/value sell well and those that they don't, (even if you highly rate the product) should be dropped from your range.

Photography businesses are also fortunate to generally be able to work with a minimum of stock levels and this allows you to experiment and continually update your product stay one step ahead of competitors.

With services however, separating which elements of your service the customer really appreciates from those that they hardly notice (and therefore will be more reluctant to pay for) can be a little harder to determine and certainly more complex. Obviously we have to be very careful how and when we ask our customers about service elements they value the most... but this feedback is vital to move your business forward.

We do know though, that the major cost element in our service is nearly always our time and this is something that often we do not account for properly. I often hear of photographers up at all hours of the morning, sitting at their computers sorting out the last job and their customers are quite unaware of how much time and effort has been taken. Very occasionally a little crisis management is unavoidable but if you find this happening regularly then something needs to change to make more of your valuable time.

Accountants and lawyers often account for their time in 6 minute slices and one client or another gets billed for each tenth of each hour of their working day. Whilst this type of discipline is something that in general photographers became photographers to avoid this strict regime, it is worth reflecting on the concept value of your time.

For example, if you are not already, it may be worth considering separating the post processing work into shots that need a simple crop and an automated Photoshop action ...from those that requires the more individual touch of your time and skills, which is then offered at an additional cost. That way, if your customers value that extra work, they will be happy to pay for it, if not, you will still likely make a sale without spending unnecessary time.

The issue here though is that very often photographers are perfectionists and rightly, hugely proud of their work. Which is why very often you will be up at those early hours in the morning sorting out the last job. From a pure business perspective this action can be questioned. From the artistic angle it is beyond reproach. Where you draw the line on 'doing more with less' is a decision only you can make.

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1st Published 01/06/2009
last update 07/04/2022 09:12:53

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