Number One: Set yourself a Goal and Focus on It
If you aim nowhere then that is exactly where you will get. Any small business that wants to grow and claim a market share needs to have clearly defined goals and objectives. This doesn’t mean you need to know exactly where you want to be in five years time, but you need to have a pretty good idea. If you know where you want to go in the long term you will be able to set yourself short term goals to get there.
Number Two: Plan Your Finances to Achieve Your Goals
It’s all well and good to buy the new Macbook you wanted, but if that means you don’t have the money to pay for the new studio lights you needed as well, then what is the point of planning? There are always things you will want to spend your money on, but you need to prioritize. If spending the money on something does not support your long term goals, then it’s a good chance that it’s money wasted.
Number Three: Research before you Buy
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you realize have spent money on the wrong make or model of equipment. Even in a specialized industry such as photography there are a multitude of options available when it comes to buying new equipment. Studio lighting is a good example. There are a number of sources available when wanting to research: the internet, trade magazines and talking to experts being the most common among them. What we found is that going to Trade Fairs is extremely productive and well worth the time when wanting advice on any particular issue relating to photography equipment. Asking professionals in your network is also advisable.
Number Four: Network Ideas do not grow in a vacuum, and the internet is a good source of information but fairly dry.
My best ideas come when I discuss them with my peers. It is possible to take a simple idea and evolve it into a very well thought out theory in a few hours of discussion. Networking with your peers in business is invaluable. Not only are there opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, but it is also a really good feeling to know that you are doing something that a number of people feel is worthwhile!
Number Five: Continuous Improvement One of my mentors once told me, “If you are not moving forwards you are going backwards”.
Very few people can say that they have achieved all they want to in life and actually mean it. Nobody is an expert on every aspect of photography, so make sure you keep on learning! Read the books and magazines, attend the network meetings, do those courses you need to do and keep on evaluating your performance against your plans. By learning we expose ourselves to opportunities for both personal growth and the growth of our businesses.