Don't Be Lazy! Building A Photography Business Workflow
Welcome back for another edition of “Don’t Be Lazy!”, your dose of tough love when it comes to your photography career…
This is the time of year when many photogs are gearing up for their busiest season, and chatter about “workflow” is everywhere. This camera, that culling process, this editing program, that file storage system… rinse and repeat. Of course, that’s all important stuff. But, while you’re meticulously planning every detail of your workflow in the context of the photographic experience, are you ignoring the sales experience?
Don’t be lazy! Workflow for a professional photography business is MORE than shooting and post-production—you need to have an organized strategy for executing all the tasks outside of your art that keep your business not only running, but thriving.
Why do you even need a pre-defined workflow? Well, the purpose of any workflow is to standardize and simplify your actions. To standardize means creating a consistent, reliable, and repeatable routine of activities. To simplify means first asking if an endeavor is even necessary, and then if it is, finding the most efficient way to do it.
So, maybe we should say don’t be lazy so that you can be lazy! When a workflow is running at its peak, then you don’t need to spend one minute more planning or doing something than is absolutely necessary. That means you actually get to have regularly scheduled free time alongside your regularly scheduled work.
Look at your workflow from the perspective of sales organization. After all, you are selling products & services! Any sales organization needs to think about how to standardize and simplify the following items:
What are you routinely doing to: actively acquire new leads, close the deal on prospective clients, generate post-shoot profit with print sales, etc. Is there an easier, more effective way of doing these things?
What are you routinely doing to: stay in contact with clients before the shoot, say thank you after the shoot, drop hints to book the next shoot, get clients to refer you to others, continue to network with vendors you met on a shoot, etc. Is there an easier, more effective way of doing these things?
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
What are you routinely doing to: create a unique & appealing brand, attract potential clients on social media, engage with potential customers online, be featured on industry blogs & social media, keep your portfolio fresh, etc. Is there an easier, more effective way of doing these things?
What are you routinely doing to: evaluate/adjust your pricing, accurately calculate your profit , cut extraneous expenses, budget for investments that grow your business, make sure you are following tax regulations and filing requirements, etc. Is there an easier, more effective way of doing these things?
What are you routinely doing to: fine-tune your skill sets, learn new shooting techniques, master new equipment, stay on top of industry trends, stay competitive in your market, etc. Is there an easier, more effective way of doing these things?
How exactly do you start building this new business-minded workflow? Well, it all starts with checklists and deadlines. List out everything you are already regularly doing for your business, and then fill in the gaps with all the other things you know you should or could be doing. Then, grab your calendar and start thinking time frames! Some items you’ll be able to add to each shoot; others will need live on their own weekly/monthly/yearly schedule.
Think you’re done streamlining your workflow? Not quite… part of your plan should be to routinely examine if your workflow is still working for you!