With the New Year come a lot of resolutions. You can see many floating around, especially around health and fitness. I won’t tell you how to live your life. Instead, I’m going to give you 5 actionable items for your business. They are all things you can do or plan today. So let’s get going!
1. Raise your prices
The new year is a good time to raise your prices. Take some time to look at your current pricing and analyze your profitability. Are you making enough money in all areas? Are there products or services that are less profitable than others? Is your day rate making you enough money to cover overhead, expenses and pay yourself?
Raising pricing is never easy but it has to be done for your business to stay profitable. Even if everything is great, you should still consider it. If your clients don’t come back often, simply updating your price sheet can be enough. If you have clients that hire your regularly like I do, then you might want to let them know. They might rely on your pricing for budgeting for example. A simple email could be enough: tell them that your pricing is going up this year and that they can contact you if they wish to discuss it.
A way to make the price increase easier on your clients is to offer something more. Maybe your wedding package now includes a free 8×10 print. Or maybe you’re now using an online proofing service that allows clients and to select their favorites and ask their friends and family their opinion.
2. Fire a client
We all have that client we’d like to fire. You know the one. That client who negotiated pricing several years ago and that you have kept ever since. That client who always has crazy requests. Well, this year, it’s time for them to go.
This year is the year you do something about it
There are different ways to do this. You can simply raise your prices significantly. This way, either they look for someone else or you get more money from them. If you really want them to go, then have an honest conversation with them. Explain that you can no longer satisfy their need and recommend a couple of other photographers.
3. Take some time off
The life of a business owner is such that there is always more work. You can always find more clients, make your images even more perfect and post more on social media. At that rate, it’s easy to get burned out. Taking a full week of vacation (or more), away from any work (and any social media? 😉 ) is a great way to recharge your batteries. Clear your mind, forget the stress and come back more motivated than ever!
4. Go after that dream job or dream client
We all have that job or that client that we dream about. You know the one. The client we keep talking about. The client that would put us on the map and solve everything. Well, this year is the year you do something about it. Make a plan: what would it actually take to land that job or that client? Don’t say it’s impossible. It is not. You just need to put in the work. Maybe it’ll take 5 years. Maybe you’ll fail. It doesn’t matter. You will learn a lot in the process. It will benefit your business in ways you didn’t even think of. You will probably get other new clients too. Just do it!
5. Give yourself a 5-year goal
To follow the previous resolution, start thinking about the future. It’s hard to manage a business when you don’t know where you’re going. Let’s think about where you want your business and yourself to be in 5 years (it can be 3 or 10 years if you prefer). I personally like to think in non-financial goals. If you manage your business in a sustainable way, financial goals can be derived from larger goals.
For example, my current goal is to become an established architecture photographer in Toronto. It means becoming one of the names people think of when talking about architecture photography in the city. While I have yearly budgets, the money is not the main goal.
From your main goal, you can build a plan and have steps to follow. It will help you make decisions in your business. In my case, I’m achieving my goal by getting in touch with as many clients in the architecture industry as possible. I’m putting my name out there by shooting buildings and sending the pictures to the architect, the interior designer, the developer and so on. A by-product of this is immediate financial gain: some people buy these images. But the main benefit is long-term: these companies now know my name and some of them are hiring me for their next projects. And some people are recommending me to their peers. Which means more recognition and more work.
If you can see the big picture, it will be a lot easier to find the steps to get there. Your goal doesn’t have to be fixed. It’s totally OK to change it mid-course because you realize it’s not realistic or it’s just not what you want anymore.
I hope this gives you something to think about for 2017. What are the resolutions you have for your business this year? Leave a comment!