I look back at the past 12 months, and it is time for some sums. The business has thrived, we have seen enormous improvement in what we do and how we do it, and I am ecstatic to see how the next 12 months will look like. Of course, there has been mistakes, some minor, some quite big. Hopefully we will have learned the lessons and we won’t do the same mistake again.
In this post, we will look at few of the main things we have done, and if your business is anything like ours, or if you would like it to be, then there are some amazing lessons to be learned without the drawbacks of doing the same mistakes we did! Fancy learning on our shoulders?
Investing in your business is the wisest thing to do
The crude reality is that investing (wisely) money in your business will make you grow. Full stop. If you use your cash to grow key areas of your company, this will have a long term impact on your income. Education, Website, SEO, they all played a huge role in our business in the past year, and the investment we made paid off. There had been things we invested in that did not pay off as well as expected. This is why we used the word “wisely” when talking about investments. You have to try for yourself and put money where your personal ability or time won’t get.
If I had read this post one year ago, I would have invested money from January, focussing on few things and not on others. Few more details on our yay and nay investment below.
Customer service is the key to grow in quality
The Boudoir Experience we offer to our customers has been refined and hugely improved in the past year. We have consolidated the quality of our images, and all this had a huge impact on the quality of our business. Our customers’ medium spending, which was over one thousand pounds in 2013, rose sensibly, reaching an all time high. Our service is now much closer to what we dream, with a few more steps to go before reaching what we would love to be able to offer.
Customer service is the key element. In 2014, we have understood that excuses don’t work, and that if anything is not as perfect as our customers expected, it has to be fixed with a smile on our face.
Marketing is the key to grow in quantity
Marketing means getting your brand and your work out there, in front of the right people, where it can be found. Despite knowing this, despite understanding that marketing is one of those things that don’t have to be put “on hold”, we did not work on it as much as we could.
We worked hard on separating our proposals (boudoir, for photographers, for families) while converging them all under the same roof. The work is far from being complete, but we are much further than where we were at the beginning of last year. One Brand, many offerings.
We did not invest enough in SEO
SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, and in the past years, despite investing a lot of time and efforts into it, we did not invest enough money into it. The way the search engines see your website is paramount, and if you really want your investment to pay off, then you have to hire a professional to do it for you. My in-depth knowledge of SEO played an important role in having a strong website, but in the past month we turned things around by expanding it by implementing a better SEO.
How? We went on oDesk and we hired someone who helped us a lot!
Your website is your shop window. What does your says about you?
We loved the fact that our website has been described as “professional” by our customers, who see it as a safe place. We spent a lot of time on it, and a lot more will be spent in the future. Your website is your shop window in a busy and competitive street: the Internet. What is your website saying about you, about your images? Is it telling your ideal customers what they need to know?
A pre-built site like wix may be a cheap option, and it is great if you want to be considered a cheap photographer. We don’t.
Invest in marketing, not in PR
We invested money in PR earlier this year, but the ROI (return of investments) has not been the one we hoped. Photography is a service-related business, and it rarely makes news. You can certainly work on some PR on it, but that is not going to give you as much as a good investment in Marketing. Public Relation is something you can do yourself in our business, at least if your business is not full of newsworthy events. Get someone to help you in implementing your marketing strategy, this will make PR!
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