The #1 reason your business is (or will be) in decline and what you must do sooner than later.
Most people are imitators not innovators. When you started your business you knowingly or not, instinctively innovated a lot, or maybe just enough, to carve out a space in the market for yourself. Over time, you got better at innovating and marketing yourself and your business grew.
But like most photographers (and most business people) innovation stopped. This occurs for a variety of reasons.
You may have stopped because:
3. You felt you earned a rest,
2. You got tired or lazy, but for most,
1. You found the formula for success and you didn’t want to risk failure by
straying from the path you worked so hard to find. So you kept applying the same formula year-after-year. And when it came to marketing, you found that most of your efforts were unsuccessful. So, when you got busy it was the first thing to fall through the cracks. But on the surface life and business was good.
Fast-forward to today. Your success and the success of your friends (competitors) have brought out the imitators who recognize success when they see it. Over time these part-time and full-time ‘new-comers’ got better at imitating your formula for success. And let’s face it, when you’re standing still you’re an easier target.
What seemed to occur almost overnight was a change that created a gradual if not rapid decline in your business. With little innovation, and an increase in the ‘supply’ of comparable products and services, people found your business less attractive, and those who wanted or needed to buy became more price sensitive.
And with such poor marketing by most business people don’t know the answers to “why they should choose
| them over competitors”, or “why they should pay your premium prices.”
But how could you have known this was inevitably going to happen? If you’ve not had training in marketing, sales, or business management you wouldn’t. And with everyone in the same boat, and most blaming everything from the economy to part-time digital photographers who can apparently start their business with less money and less effort, you can see why it might seem hopeless.
After all, you can’t make competition go away. You can’t change how people view photography. If they are apparently willing to accept less and not willing to pay your prices, there’s simply nothing you can do about it. You may as well join the growing number of photographers who move back into their homes, or just throw in the towel.
Or is there? The good news is the solution or formula for recovery is right in front of you and it’s used by every successful business including IBM and Apple.
Everyone knows about Apple, but let’s look closely at IBM. In the early 1990s IBM nearly ran out of money. Its core business of mainframes was declining fast under the pressure from the lower-cost technology of personal computing. New leadership was brought in and thousands of employees were laid off. IBM faced the challenge that most every company faces sooner or later – they rise, they decline, and then they re-create themselves, or not.
IBM met the challenge, and now this 100 year old company is once again thriving. Profits are strong and its shares are near a record high. And its market value passed Google’s early this year. Not a bad recovery. But they didn’t recover by giving up, by cursing the changes that occurred. They didn’t recover by bemoaning the fact that they didn’t recognize a new opportunity to get into the personal computing business, and allowed the competition to nearly put them out of business. They took dramatic measures to reinvent themselves by innovating often, and by never giving up.
Every business has a life that spans from its birth and inevitable death. It’s up to you to extend it on a regular basis, or to let it die. And because your business is much smaller, and more agile than IBM, you can turn your business on a dime, make the needed changes to move away from the imitators and extend the life of your business. Even if you’ve been in business for years or decades, you can experience a rebirth. It takes
effort, but much, much less than you imagine.
What’s in your way?
- · Don’t know what to do?
- · Don’t know how to do it?
- · Don’t have enough time?
- · You’re afraid?
The risk is that you won’t recognize or accept that you must breathe new life into your business on a regular basis. The choices are simple:
· To not believe the rebirth of your business is possible.
· To do nothing because your business is in the growth or plateau stage and you’ve got no reason to think it won’t continue- that what you do this year is guaranteed to produce the same results next year.
· To think that it’s too hard and that you don’t have the energy or will power.
· To accept that the whole concept is too much to deal with.
· To accept the ‘innovate or die’ belief and commit to doing what every sustainable business has done and must do every year. Period.
In some cases you must tweak your brand a bit. In other cases you may need an extreme business makeover. Either way you must feature your specialty everywhere: on your site, on social media sites, emails, literature, pricing- EVERYTHING!
And your specialty must finish this statement: “We’re the #1 choice for (specialty) because we have (blank). The (blank) is what you offer or have that no other photographer has. This is the foundation of your ability to sustain your business regardless of competition and the economy. When you have it you own it.
It’s no coincidence that 3 LENSES provides the tools and solutions to provide what you need, it does the ‘heavy lifting’ so it requires less of your time, and it gives you the confidence that you’re not going to risk your business, and you don’t have to do it alone.
I am committed to applying my proven formula for innovation that I’ve shared with hundreds of professional photographers.
If you want help, or would like to discuss a program that includes all the materials you will need, contact me.