Policies and Procedures on How to Operate Your Studio Safely
This is the fun stuff, more words. (laughs) And I know not everybody loves all this business stuff but it's so important to know it. Once you've got all the systems and strategies in place for your business, then you can get on and do what it is that you love, the photography side of things, because you know your business is set up right. Policies and procedures. You know, policies are guidelines, they're general guidelines and they're there to regulate the actions in your workplace. They're great if you have employees. But they're also good just for you specifically. It's funny because I often say to people, you know, when they're in business, well why don't you treat it like a real business? If you're employed, you have to sign a policies and procedures document at your place of employment. You have to, there's so many things. You have to abide to all of their rules. You get paid a wage, you have holidays, you have sick days. You get paid like a superannuation, which is like a retire...
ment fund, you get all of these things in your employment contract. But when we run our own business we never treat it the same way as it is when we're working for a business. And I don't understand. If we put all the right systems and strategies in place, then if something does go wrong, we can correct it quickly. Procedures are the customary methods of handling activities. And they can be more specific than the policies. So developing clearly written policies and procedures that are documented, you've got to update them as well. You have to have them there, and they bring structure to your business and assist in your day-to-day decision making processes. And you need to be able to adapt them and adjust them. I know when I worked for my previous employer many, many years ago, I had to update our policies and procedures being an office manager, and everyone that worked there had to sign them, say that they'd read them and that they agreed to them. It becomes an internal control method for your business, even if you're not planning on employing anyone. Put it in place for yourself. Give yourself some boundaries. 'Cause I know we're all a little, oh, we'll do it tomorrow. Or we'll do this, oh I don't need to do that. But when something goes wrong, we have no procedures in order to fix those problems. These are here to protect us, and they're benefiting us, they're benefiting the workplace for employees eventually if you do have them, and they should be consistent with the values of your business and comply with the associated legislation of your area. And they need to demonstrate that you're being, your business is being operated in an officiant and professional and business-like manner. It ensures uniformity, that's a hard word to say. And consistency, and it helps with decision making as well. If you're going to have any problems that might arise with staff members or with yourself, it just means that you can go back to them if they didn't sort of fix or comply in any way, then you can re-evaluate them and adjust them and move forward. Running your business properly, it's such a great thing to be professional in all areas of your business. It makes you feel confident about what it is that you do. It's also gonna safe a lot of time if any problems do come up, 'cause you can quickly go through them and assess the issues and get on with it. When you are working with those procedures in terms of creating them based on your policies that you're setting out, for example, if you do have a staff member and a problem comes by, you know how to fix that. They have to sign reports and things like that in larger business places, and so when a problem comes up in our business, you know, we gotta be accountable for it. We're responsible for our business. And we have to make sure that we're handling things quickly and efficiently to move on, especially when we've got deadlines in terms of client galleries, and more sessions, and things like that. It's only going to make you feel more stable in your business and it's going to provide an easy framework for planning and assessing the performance of your business, and putting plans in place for the future and where you can go. Some of your policies could be your code of conduct. Of recruitment, as we said, if you're employing people. And that's our dream, right? Wouldn't it be nice to have employed lots of other photographers and have these beautiful, big studios. You know, if that's your dream, then these are the sort of things that you're going to have to look at. You're internet and email policy. How many of us have internet policies? Or do we all just sort of jump in and out of the internet and Facebook as often as we want? It's funny, recently I looked at some statistics about social media. There are 1.44 billion active users a month on Facebook. On average of all those people, they spend about 40 minutes a day. I know most photographers have done that in their first couple of hours after waking up. Your mobile phones and things like that. How do you structure your day to get your jobs done? How professionally are we running our business? What sort of systems and policies are we putting in place so we're not sidetracked, so we're not on the phone, we're not on the internet. Smoking. If you have an assistant, and they smoke, and they come into the studio and you're in a confined space, a working environment and they smell of cigarette smoke. Can't have them in the studio. My husband smokes, he knows he's not allowed in my studio. It's not on. Drug and alcohol. You know, I'm not going to drink a whole hip of alcohol the night before I go into a shoot. That's just common sense. I'm not going to take drugs that could alter me. Even certain medications could make you not 100% yourself. You might not be able to get through those sessions efficiently and professionally and safely. Heath and safety policies. Anti-discrimination and harassment, obviously. Grievances, discipline and using social media, again. I talk about it all the time. I love time management. When it comes to setting out and putting strategies in place for time management, social media is usually the cause of a lot of problems within the business and in terms of loss of time. And I say to people, if you're spending on average about 10 hours a week on social media, and you know what your hourly rate is, how are you doing your business any good if when you're on social media you're just scrolling liking, commenting, sharing, blah, blah, blah, but you're not actually doing anything on there to market your business. When we're using social media at home, we actually have allocated times as to when we will go on and share posts. I was talking to a friend the other day, and she's like did you see this? And I said I never see anything on my personal page. When I go onto social media is for my business page or two of them that I have, and it's for business, it's for sharing client work if they've agreed to it. And yeah, it's working smarter, and actually allocating timeframes to do things in, so putting policies in place for all of those things. Workplace health and safety. Business owners are responsible for the health and safety. In Australia, the states and territories have their own health and safety laws, which I would imagine would be the same in most parts of the world. As a business owner, it is a requirement that your business complies with those requirements that are set out by those acts and regulations for your state and territory. You may face penalties if you don't. I'm not sure many people are aware of that. When you register a business in an area, there are regulations and acts that you have to abide by that make you accountable for your business. You know those acts will give you an overview of how to make your workplace health and safety, they'll outline your legal responsibilities and your duties as a business owner and or an employee. Regulations that set out the standards that you need to meet for specific hazards and risks. They also set out the licenses you need for specific activities, the records you need to keep, the reports you have to make. All of these things are so important, and we're accountable for them. You know, there are regulating agencies and they're responsible for inspecting workplaces. So handing out notices and penalties and thing like that could potentially come if we're not aware of them. So we have to be accountable, we have to be responsible.