Here are twenty questions to think about, to help make your business better. It's thought-provoking and worth reviewing regularly, so get a pen and a piece of paper!
1. Are there too many photographers? Do you think it’s different now to 10-20 years ago? If so, why? Does it impact your business, and can you do anything about it?
2. What is it that enables people to earn a living cooking, writing or taking pictures when almost everyone can do those things? What’s special about them?
3. How many jobs do you need, and how much does each one need to pay you? (ie to cover you, your equipment, your overheads, your retirement and the direct costs of doing the job)?
4. Are you prepared to take the food from your competitors’ mouths? If not why not?
5. Do you go to your competitors for advice? Or do you “emulate” them? If so why?
6. List five things that distinguish you from your competitors (quality, service and award-winning don’t count).
7. If you can’t list five things that differentiate you, what are you really competing on? Could it be your low price?
8. Have you thought about why your clients are prepared to pay you so much money? Or if they're not prepared to, why not? What’s their motivation?
9. Your last ten clients … why did they book you? Do you know? What can you learn from that?
10. How many of your bookings come from word of mouth? What did those people hear or see about you … and was it in your best interests?
11. What can you learn from musicians? How do they deal with the fact they have to give so much of their stuff away for free?
12. If you choose your suppliers on price, is it OK if your clients do the same? If not, why not?
13. I’m sure your albums are great, but how do they differentiate you? If they don’t, why are you bothering?
14. Do you get enough enquiries? If not what are you doing to get noticed?
15. If you do get enough enquiries, how many people drop out after meeting you? How many people drop out after they hear the price? If you have a problem, does this point to what it might be?
16. What are you doing about social media? Blogs? Facebook? Instagram? Google?
17. Do you know why you need a blog … even though it seems like no one wants to read them?
18. How do you get your clients to say, Wow … how much is that? If they don’t, what needs to change?
19. How do you get from beginner to top of the heap without being a price taker? Does being a price taker work? Is it better to be a busy price taker or get a second income?
20. Why do most photographers rely so much on weddings? What other photo opportunities are there?
Sadly, how much your images are worth does not depend on their quality or how much time you spend on them in post-production. Instead, it depends on how you market and sell them. Follow the crowd — be a little red dot — and you’re a price taker, not a price setter. Stand out from the crowd, be noteworthy, and you have the chance to do better.