How to Survive and Thrive in an Ever-Changing Marketplace with Sal Cincotta
What a year it has been. It’s still hard to wrap our minds around everything that has happened in the last year and a half. It’s been an up and down emotional roller coaster. Even now, as a business owner, Im struggling to find my rhythm again. Do you find yourself feeling the same way?
One thing I feel blessed to have is 14+ years of experience as a small business owner. It’s given me experience and perspective that has helped Survive my career. It is that perspective I have found myself drawing on in recent months as I try to figure out where we go from here. What does the future look like, for me, for my business, for our industry? It’s like trying to figure out the meaning of life at the moment.
Right now, it can feel like life is spinning out of control, but even worse, that feeling comes from feeling as if we have no control over our destiny. That feeling of helplessness is depressing and worst of all, can be catastrophic to our businesses. So, how to we overcome and Survive? Keep reading.
Assess the current environment.
This is not something easy to do and at times can make you want to put your head through the wall. Maybe that’s just me. How to do this is a combination of news, the stock market, and consumer feedback. Ill explain a little more at what I’m looking at so it makes more sense.
Consumer confidence is a huge thing that everyone looks at. If consumers are confident they are typically spending. If consumers are uncertain, spending usually dries up on discretionary items. Well, guess what? Photography is a discretionary item. So, we really need to understand what’s happening in the mind of a consumer.
Watching the news alone will make you nuts. According to the news, we are all racist, we are all sexist, we are all selfish, we all hate one another, and soon we will all turn into zombies. Well, I don’t quite have that pessimistic view of humanity, but this is being put into the minds of consumers and it’s a reality when trying to understand the current environment. Based on this alone, it would be hard to be very optimistic. That is why the news alone can not be your source of reality here. Instead, here is what I’m seeing. People, for the most part, are fed up with all the negativity. It’s quite incredible and a very positive sign of whats to come. If we were having this convo in mid-2020, I would say consumers were very very pessimistic, scared, concerned, and unsure of the future. However, by fall of 2020, we saw consumers so fed up with the negativity, they were willing to spend their way out of it.
We had one of the most profitable Novembers in probably the last 10 years. Why? Families were mentally exhausted and wanted some sense of normalcy. We were able to offer them family shoots as a way to celebrate family. In fact, based on what we were seeing, that was how we were marketing this. “Celebrate Family” was the tag line and it worked. By understanding our customers, their needs and their frustrations we were able to give them something positive in their lives in look forward to and be part of celebrating their incredible families.