One of the toughest things that come with running a photography business is finding people or companies to hire you. Finding clients.
How do you convince people that what you can do and the services you have to offer are better than what they are doing? Where do you even start? Here are a few tips that can help you start the process of fulfilling your own vision of your business with the visions of companies that really do need you.
Let’s face it, photos are everywhere. There are good ones, mediocre ones, and bad ones. Still, photography is such an incredible tool a company can use to catch a potential buyer’s attention. That’s where you come in.
Capitalize on your weaknesses
One of the biggest struggles that entrepreneurs have when they start a business is they don’t recognize their own weaknesses until they become glaringly obvious or a huge mistake has happened. Start to analyze yourself now, in your career’s early days, to determine what you might struggle with and how you are going to fix it before the mistakes come along.
If you love taking photos and failed your accounting class then you consider investing in a friend that’s good at accounting before you launch your business. Likewise, if you want to start a business and have never used social media, then you must learn everything you can about it before your launch. There are people, tools, and resources that can completely change the path of your success. It will give you valuable knowledge or priceless experiences that will help assure success.
Ten before ten
The “Ten Before Ten” rule can work with any business trying to gain attention or a client base. The method is to force yourself to call or contact ten people before ten in the morning every day. Do this for a week and you have put your name and your brand in the ears of 50 people. Stick with it for two weeks and 100 people are nibbling or even gnawing on your message.
This is great practice on how to pitch yourself. It helps lead a potential client to set up a meeting and it will almost guarantee you a bite within a few weeks.
Why, how, and then what
Learn what businesses you are pitching want to hear. Think about your own business. If you wanted to find someone to help you as a shooting assistant and they come to a meeting with you and talk all about themselves and who they are and all the schooling they have had as an assistant. Are you still interested? Probably not, because they didn’t say anything about your business which is your primary focus. The same thing works when you are searching for clients or businesses to work with.
Start with the “why”. Tell them why you think this type of work is important to them. Tell them why it can have a positive impact on their endeavors if done well. Continue with the “how”. Tell them exactly how their business will grow or improve when you help them. Tell them exactly how you plan to do it to bring them success.
Finally, in the end, tell them the “what”. The who you are, and what you do. They want to know how you can help them, not how they will be benefitting you and your business. Trust me on this one.
Match your vision with theirs
This concept is the key to the whole process. Each business, every business, has a different vision for what they want and where they see their company in the future. It will be different for every business. It is based on the goals in their business model. You have, or, will evolve, a vision for your business as well. A set of goals is a plan for how you are going to get to where you want to be from where you currently are.
In order for your business to thrive, you need clients, in order for their business to thrive, they need your skills. You have to make the visions of your clients align with your photographic services so that both entities profit. This is important. Sometimes after meeting with a client, you will see that your visions don’t align as well as you thought they would. Keeping your vision in mind and steering the conversation around to their vision will give you a better idea of whether this company or client is someone who you will be working with.
Building a business is truly hard work. Photographers and many other entrepreneurs, for that matter, often underestimate how difficult the whole process will be. No matter. It is never impossible. Knowing your weaknesses along with your capabilities is the first step in making your business work for you.
Practicing good client-building techniques and knowing your own vision will help you find common ground with businesses and companies that will move your business forward and will lead you, and them, to the success you are ready to find!