Establishing Goals: Advice for Established Businesses
So let's jump right back into it if you are that established studio red alert okay everyone's chasing you so we're at that mark were at that five, six, seven year mark maybe you're that twenty years studio everyone's chasing you everyone's watching what you're doing so you cannot rest this is not the time to think we got to figure it out we're going to rest on our reputation or anything like that it's just not gonna work so marketing you have to think of marketing as a defensive play okay? To protect market share, this is let's let's use corporate america once again as real world everybody know who coca cola's yet they still market is not correct, right? They got the I'm not a big fan of him, but they got the polar bear commercials and all these other things right? Just constantly keeping their name out there. So how is the company? They could sit back and be like everybody knows who we are they know coca cola, we don't have to spend any money on marketing right? That it's ridiculous, ...
yet I see studio after studio get to that five six seven year mark even later in their career and they kind of get greedy or maybe it's just lazy you don't want to spend that money back into marketing and advertising you've gotta look at spending ten percent ish back into your marketing budget and we do that we spend a lot of money continuing to market our business but again it's a defensive play to protect your market share everybody wants to steal your market share remember I told you that story when I was in st louis there's that one photographer he was everywhere he stepped back he slowed down boom all sorts of competitors were chasing him stealing his market share marketing as an offensive play you have to maintain your status right so uh here in town think thie america's cup is going on and there's he signs all over louis vuitton is sponsoring the uh the america's cup okay so they don't make boats louis vuitton is make boats right but it's about brand awareness is about keeping that that name out there so marketing you have to maintain your status as this elite brand as his growing brand is the cool place to be you've got to be able to keep doing that and so that stuff's going to cost you you've gotta invest back into that you've got it and I'm going to show you something we're doing that I think has maybe not much to do with photography but it's about allowing us to to be maintained market leading position look for growth opportunities and new markets headshots glamour style I shoot so I'm going to show you that in a second hell let's go do it now so something we want to start doing for our client's eyes this concept of a stylized ah shoot so what we want to be able to do is do not just an engagement session, put a little bit more effort into it and do something different for our clients right again, I want to maintain my reputation as a market leader, so this is a style I shoot we did, we did it for a training exercise, we also did it for our clients. And so these air just we used a madman inspired theme if you want to seymour about this goto behind the shutter dot com and you'll see what we did and how he did it there's some videos up there, but it's ah it's a themed base shoot right? So we tried, you know, don't look at this and try and be a historian and be like, oh, that magazine covers clearly from nineteen forty seven it doesn't matter right? The goal here was to do a theme based style I shoot tohave was inspired by mad men, the tv show we wanted to do something that was representative of that period and these are the kind of things that we produced out of it can my competitors do this? I don't know, maybe they can maybe they can't, but I know that I'm continuing to push the limits for what we want to do for our for our clients and we'll talk a little bit more about that later but that's that next level stuff? Okay, that's the kind of stuff whereas you start getting established don't get lazy, start thinking differently and understanding that again. Red alert everyone's chasing you so the minute you think you got our studio figured out, especially in that st louis market daamoth or your curve ball, I'm gonna try and do something to keep you on edge and may make sure my client's continue to look at us and see us as you know, front runners, fashion forward, doing things differently. Well, I always continue to do my wedding here's my families, of course, but I still want to have that part of the business that's ford looking and I think that's one of them must continue to innovate or your clients will see you as stale, right? When you get to this party or business five years or more are you cannot become right. You're their parents photographer think about it, you you out there in the world? Would you want your mother's wedding photographer for your wedding? I wouldn't I would think what the hell's my mom's wedding for tired first ball is even still alive, but if he is, I don't want him photographing my wedding okay, what about senior pictures we recently had a high school senior mom come in and uh we were just somehow talking about how she came to our our studio and one thing she said was she's like well I looked at studio acts they did my pictures when I was a senior and here's what she said it was a most interesting piece she said the poses the backdrops are the same today as they were when I was a kid and had my senior pictures done and she refused to go there this is going on this isn't just in st louis right this is going on around the country that fifteen twenty your studio is not reinvesting back in they're not next leveling it they're not taken that their game to the next level they're just resting on their reputation and the minute you stop growing you actually start going backwards okay so you've got to continuously push forward here competitions everywhere get used to it it's not going to stop we cannot compete on price your cost of business is higher so you guys were in that three to five year mark as you're continuing to grow and now you have a studio space or a new building I can't compete on price it is absolutely impossible at this stage of the game for my business toe lower prices to compete I can't do it I will go out of business and I've run into studio after studio at the ten year mark and they think the only way to compete because they're shooting burners out there ciao they're killing me they're shooting weddings for five hundred dollars a thousand dollars I have to lower my price to compete you know what that says when you lower your price to compete I give up I can't figure anything else out we're just going to lower our price I say go the opposite direction raise your prices start offering better products better service better quality that is the differentiator if you start competing on price it's over game over you are going to end up closing up shop your x factor has never been more important here and your x factor is that factor that thing you do that makes you different I would say a style I shoot like this being ableto planet executed sell the idea to my client's posting these images on my website it is going to get my bride's my brides bridesmaids toe all go that is awesome I've never seen anything like that yes that is what we have to continually get our client base to say it becomes harder and harder more and more of a challenge but we got to keep doing it um you got to solidify your relationships right? So if you've got vendor relationships that you have been working are you nurturing them or you taking them for granted if you're taking them for granted once again you're gonna have somebody out there just like you who's hungry they're going to go after that relationship they're going to take them the lunch they're going to get them a christmas gift a christmas card right? Whatever the case may be there's going to be hungry business is out there if you start getting lazy somebody else is going to come right behind you and take over that never has it been more important to solidify your relationship give people a reason to refer you that is the most important aspect why are they referring you just because you ask them to refer you isn't everybody asking for a referral so why refer you right developed a relationship take him out to lunch take your vendors out to lunch uh call them call them and stop asking for things calm up and be like hey guys especially if we're talking weddings hey guys do you have any uh you know high end wedding's coming through if you do just let me know give me some heads up I'll come in photograph them for you and give you some pictures to display in your venue free of charge so I'm not calling them asking them to be on their list I'm calling them seeing what I can do for them and then that'll get me on their list ok, so you've got to start thinking that way for you you want to do pet stuff? Think of all the pet stores that are out there that you can go after and do something like that just a style I shoot and they can use those images in their marketing and advertising. That's starts establishing you for everyone who walks in the door with their pet and looks upon the wall and it's like that's such an adorable picture boom! Your low goes right there that's the kind of stuff you got to start doing so growth should look like twenty percent year over year once you start getting to this size, I would love to think that I could double the size of my business next year it's not gonna happen. Okay, that's just impossible. So for me growth, we look for about twenty percent year over year growth. Now again, if you're out there you're watching you got to keep paying attention it's not just about throwing that number on the wall and going it's twenty percent growth. Next question is how do you achieve that? I'm just trying to give you a sense of what you should be going after that's your goal and the rest of these three days we'll talk about how you get there getting social biggest mistake I see for those established studios why? Because social media was not part of what they did when they started their business blogging facebooking you'd be surprised how many people still don't know how to be on facebook still don't know how to be used social media for their business and that's okay, but now I'm telling you if this is where you write in your career you've got to start figuring out how to be engaged in social media I do all our social media bottom line and so I don't trust it to anyone else I don't trust the messaging I don't trust the language I wanted coming from me, my voice and so that becomes very, very important that you're out there on your social site right don't delegate this down to admin you know somebody who doesn't know what it's all about, you want to control it so for example we've got multiple properties, right? We've got behind the shutter salvador some kind of tar fi seniors we have a senior side and so it starts going on and on I want to make sure that messaging is consistent from my senior site to behind the shutter to my wedding site. Okay, would it be easier if I do is delegated this? It would, but then the messaging wouldn't sound the same and so you've got to think about that, so whoever owns it make sure they own everything you're engaged in from blogged to social media uh I need you to reboot your brand this is probably not something you want to hear about right now but when you get to that five six seven year mark it's time to reboot that's new logo right new website social media you're shooting style all these things re boot your brand it can't be the same for twenty years you're gonna look stale you've got to continue to innovate get uncomfortable stop doing what's easy what's easy is what got you here okay, now you're comfortable now you're lazy it's like being a house cat all right I was talking I was talking to somebody last week it was actually antonio antonio from the scars I was in l a I was having dinner with antonio and we were talking about this and I made fun of him mike dude you're housecat now I'm like you're comfortable he's like what? And I'm like you're comfortable you know hungry anymore but that's street cat is used to scrapping for everything what happens is eventually there's gonna come a point in your in your career whether it's at your job that you're out today right think about it if you've been at your job for ten or fifteen years or you still work in the same amount of hours that you were when you first got that job of course not man you start getting comfortable complacent same thing happens to our business is you've got to get uncomfortable do things that are hard that's the one thing I think our company is really good at now I want to make you understand something here innovation is not easy right it's very, very difficult to innovate and to continuously push yourself and if you you know when we talk about businesses that inspired me I look to companies like starbucks look to companies like louis vuitton, mercedes benz and sometimes innovation right just gets messy you make mistakes you trip you fall you release things too soon but I'd rather release stuff I'm gonna show you some some stuff man I'm telling you I'm gonna blow your mind uh that we're gonna release it's stuff that's never been seen or done before okay and that's the kind of stuff and so innovation isn't always easy it's messy okay and we can't be afraid to get messy we can't wait for something to be perfect sometimes when you wait for something to be perfect you never do it and as for talk first as artist we're perfectionists ok? So you've got to start releasing some of that control and just do it go for it uh no your competition okay? I'm not saying do what you do about change the way you're running your business but know who your competition is, how many of you know who your competition are uh and by that I'm always curious who are you when you come uh to my studio and you meet with me who else you meeting with I'm very curious as to what other studios you're you're meeting with because that's who I see as my competition not who I've defined is my competition but who my clients see right if you're meeting with me and like studio acts I can't step back in bak ha studio actually sock they're going to book us for sure it's not how it works to the client to the bride to the senior they see us and studio acts at the same level right so I have to come up with a way to differentiate my brand from them in a way that matters to the client not in a way that matters to me and the way that matters to the client um outflank them get competitive we've got to dig into that competitive spirit who are my competitors what are they doing why're my client's going there verse me there's gotta be a reason and it's not just price because the people who are going there just for price or not your clients because then we could have the conversation and say well if price is the main factor then that means the picture people right are your competition well I don't see the picture people write or walmart photo studios or anything like that my competition I don't I don't compete with them at all yeah they they're photographers it I guess but they're not my competition right? So you've got to start seeing who they really are and you've gotta outflank them update your product offering also very important once you established album's medals acrylics man just rewinding four years ago three and a half four years ago you could actually go to w p p I right when largest trade shows out there and there were vendors they're selling those gold tipped albums you know the ones I'm talking about what you slide the pictures in this is a w p p I top trade show in the world only three and a half years ago four years ago there were still vendors selling tow us these outdated antiquated albums my clients do not want that stuff that gold tipped nonsense that's my mom's album right that's my grandparent's album that is not the bride of the future's album. Okay update product offerings so all too often I see photographers after ten years uh I'll take it. Thank you. What is it? Just the bodies are their cupcakes in there. We'll come to that in a second all too often I see um okay photographers after been in business ten years I don't want to start replace your sample products anymore right? It's expensive we replace our sample pictures in our studio every year and a half to two years and it's not a complete refresh right? But we're constantly adding new images updating new products whether it's medals, whether it's acrylic right because your sales room khun start getting stale people are seeing the same thing over and over again or your pictures? I mean, come on, man, the pictures I took five years ago looked nothing like the pictures I've taken today this isn't what I want to be do not lower your prices under any circumstances do not lower your prices you're throwing your hands up in the air and saying I give up I can't think of any other way to compete, so I'm just going to lower my prices and so let me show you something if I could get a close up on this because I want to blow some people away with this because this is a photo box, right? This is next level for me so we have a close up on this on this really close? Yeah, we've got we've got a shot okay, so I want to show you something. Well, I'm goingto jack everybody up. Alright, sorry. Um this is a photo box right that you would deliver to your clients. Maybe your glamour clients may be your wedding clients, right, it's five by seven pictures in here nothing magical about this box but when you open this box now it's got a built in video player in it and so now I can put in an emotive slideshow built right into their picture box. I can put their video in there, I can brand it. And it's got audio for it as well. Who's got this? Nobody nobody. That is next level shit right there. Okay, this is the kind of stuff that I'm trying to innovate for my clients. Can you imagine deliver in this for your glamour clients so it's a five by seven all the five by sevens or in here it's a normal picture box and then in here is now a branded video player. Okay, very cost effective and you can control and updated. But guess what? Their storage in here there's sixteen giga storage. How would this be for a delivery mechanism for digital negatives? Right? So usb connects to it and I can download all those images. That's next level this exists nowhere. So there's nobody who has this? I have it. Okay, I'm a sell to you, I guarantee because you're going to want it right and that's what I'm trying to do. So I'm always thinking about what's next for my clients. What can I do to differentiate myself from from my competitors and then if I wanted and I can use it in my business because I shoot weddings because I should seniors importance that means you're going to want it. And so now I can create something because I'm in the mix and I'm always trying to outflank my clients. People dig in this thing? Yeah, absolutely. I have a question. This is from chris l photography. Where do you recommend starting to look for products? I'm so overwhelmed by where and what products to offer? Yeah, we're gonna talk a little bit about product because I got a bunch of stuff like this stuff doesn't exist anywhere and what I love that my favorite part of our of our industry, I guess, is knowing that I'm so in tune with what we're doing because we, like I said, we shoot and we work with photographers every day. It's it's trying to find companies that are progressive. I hate to say I love all the labs, okay, but do you guys ever feel like the lab's orjust copycat with each other? Every field I would probably get, like, struck down right for saying something like that, but I'm just being honest, like, I always feel like when I go to the straight shows, I go to the lab and the lab has this new thing, and then, like every lab has this new thing, is anybody out there trying to innovate and leapfrog? And so I want to make sure I'm lee froggy froggy and when I say that I'm not just talking about as a talk for I'm talking about in the industry, right? So this will actually be available okay from signature collection albums okay, so if you want an update on when this thing gets released just goto sc albums dot com register create your account and buy aug september first this will be available for all you guys okay, so we're still working out some kinks to make sure it's all one hundred percent solid for everybody but this will be available to all you guys as well and that means that next thing that we're talking about when we talk about products and I am gonna talk a little bit more about this later you can't just because the lab carries it doesn't mean you should offer right? So you've got to look for things that match your brand to me this matches my brand this makes sense this is something that's going to stand out from the crowd uh but you know, there's certain things like dog tax, some of late labs off for like, you know these little chats keys, that's not my brain that's not what I want to offer I don't want to offer a calendar are you kidding me? That's not what I'm selling to my clients you wanna buy a calendar, go to the mall by calendar take take the digital files I sell you go make your own calendar that's not a high end product that is gonna allow me to differentiate myself. I don't know anybody's gonna build a business around calendars. And so just because the labs make it doesn't mean you should offer it. Look for labs that are progressive and that are carrying products that are different that's what's gonna allow you to stand out from the ground. Don't be afraid to try new ideas or concepts sponsor shows. So now for us we are actually sponsoring in st louis a bridal show. Remember I told you I just went to the recent bridal show. Every photographer had watched our creative live siri's on bridal shows and they were all doing the same thing we were doing. So how do we differentiate ourselves? Okay, we have to find a way. Well, this recent bridal show and saturday I fly out of here. I can't party with you guys here on the last day I fly out on a red eye. I've got a bridal show sunday morning that I have to be at back in st louis because we are sponsoring the bridal show, and so now they have an app, okay, so now when you pull out your iphone and you can load a nap and at one of the few bridal showers here the only ones in st louis that have it but it's an event up and so now every broad who comes in can download that event up okay and see all the vendors where they are a map off the area on dh check into the booze take pictures of boost bookmark their favorite vendors the bridal show in my area that's next level stuff maybe in new york they got that or allah or chicago st louis or the only ones doing it so their next leveling it right to compete with other bridal shows this is a business that gets it well guess what were the sponsor of that app every time the app opens up boom salvador cincotti photography's they're the main advertiser in the up boom salvador cincotti photography so now my competitors you were there I just want upto okay now let's take it a step further. They asked us last week to produce a video explaining the app so we had this great idea six months ago but nobody executed on it. So all of a sudden we had one week to film a video. So now is all the attendees fifteen hundred attendees or depending on the show seven hundred fifteen hundred attendees as they wait in line there's going to be multiple tv screens with a video filmed produce and starring taylor as the map expert and so I'm gonna play that next will come back to this so we'll go to the screen but this is the video we just produced this in our new studio we turned it around in two days so it couldn't be better I'm sure it could write but I had two days to both film it uh and edit it and deliver uh to them before I came out here for this so now when I get back on sunday this will be playing on all the tv screens welcoming people to the show hi I'm taylor san kata and welcome to the wedding showed the americas center do you have a smartphone or tablet device? If so, then download our free wedding event app for the ipad, iphone or android devices. It's your free interactive guide to the wedding show you can download the app by searching s t l wedding show in the app store or marketplace it's the new waiter experience bridal shows first the old way besides being a convenient way to have vendor information. That app offers a show program which has vendor listening in both numbers show specials and exclusive vendor deals and a great exhibitor check and feature which allows you to comment about products and vendors remember what you like by taking photos great vendors with a five star system and share information with other brides in the activity feed through social networks visit our app lounge located directly inside the show entrance for more details on how to download and use this free event show app enjoy the show sorry about the audio skipping that's what happens when you bet video into a slide powerpoint presentation but you get the gist right? It doesn't skip I promise so the key there is we went off we produce is there's two separate videos it ends with salvador sink out of films it's taylor sin kata in the film what do you think's gonna happen at our booth right when people start coming by and of course she looks like the orbits girl in that commercial right? So we made her film and out take what she was like dirty mouth on did her did her whole thing but people are going to come by our booth it's creating brand awareness in the lounge they'll also be tv screens, right? So this was one of two videos the second video plays and it walks through all the features of the ap and howto work all those features so there's two videos that were produced and now that's going to play in a lounge in the ap lounge it's got all white couches up lighting and then all our pictures are decorating the lounge so tons of brand awareness was that show worthwhile for me to sponsor, of course will probably never stop sponsoring yeah, way did have to pay to sponsor the show absolutely uh how much did I charge them to produce that video? Zero they could have had someone else produce it but then my wife's not starring in the video. Okay, then my brand isn't tied to the video and so it behooves me to make that investment to do it and more than likely since we've done this and showed it to him writes our first one we've ever produced for them and we're not typically wants to produce commercial videos we've had like five new ideas popping in our head will the next show is in january, so we're gonna come right back around. We have more time, make all the changes, we're going to do it for free and we're going to film another video and throw this one out, right? But it gives us dominance at that bridal show and this is the kind of stuff that no one's doing. Where do you see photographers sponsoring a show that size you don't see it and so that's the kind of stuff you want to be going after. So so you're not sponsoring the act you're sponsoring the actual show we're sponsoring me, we're sponsoring the app the app is a big part off the show, okay? And that's the part I need everybody to understand this is as everyone's waiting in line this video's on like three tvs looping right so it'll be in a constant loop so while all of them are way all the brides are waiting in there's typically a line for over thirty minutes so this thing will be looping right while everybody's waiting to get into the show and then when they go into the app lounge she'll be yet another video playing which walks him through the features and so that I think stuff like that is brilliant marketing advertising now am I gonna be able to tie sales to this no there's no way I'm gonna be able to say because of that video I booked three weddings for weddings any weddings but well everyone in that show know who we are well, they walked by my booth and I call you that girl from the video yes now the rest is on me they know the brand now I gotta close that's my job to close once they get there and this is that kind of next level stuff we've got to be looking at doing what about the apple lounge so they have a lounge set up for people who are having trouble getting it installed on their phone to sit and watch the instructional video that we also produced in there all my images so now whether they want to or not it's very subliminal all my images air up with of course my logo on all of them