What To Do When You Fall Behind in Your Business

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What To Do When You Fall Behind in Your Business with Vanessa Joy

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the June issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

 

Everyone knows that it takes hard work to get to the top of your industry. Building a business is no joke, and the amount of work it takes to get to your desired level of success can seem overwhelming. What most people don’t talk about is the fact that once you make it, you have to work just as hard to stay there.

So what happens when you’ve realized just a little too late that you’ve been falling behind? Slacking off has serious consequences. Making up for lost time can mean double the effort to bring things back to life. Here’s how you can get things back on track.

Boost Your Social Media Efforts

Social media is a great tool, but it relies on momentum—and if you’ve halted that for whatever reason, it takes a lot to get it going again. Go back to the basics with your social media marketing. Concentrate on the platform where your audience spends the most time. Shooting weddings? Focus on Instagram. Families are your thing? Be more active on Facebook. Seniors are where it’s at? Then get on Snapchat.

The last thing you want to do if you’ve already found yourself with stunted growth is half-ass the comeback effort. Don’t just sign on to your social media network and haphazardly start posting without a plan. Do yourself a favor and reeducate yourself on the platform. Some things have likely changed. You’ll probably discover different ways of doing things that’ll be more effective for you.

Get into the habit of scheduling your posts. I’m a fan of Buffer because I like the format and I enjoy looking back at my analytics. Other systems, like HootSuite, Meet Edgar and Everypost, might be more up your alley. Whatever you do, plan your posts to be consistent and as highly effective as possible. You won’t see change right away, but after you build up enough momentum, you’ll start making up for lost time.

Concentrate on Networking

Just like in everyday life, if you don’t put effort into relationships, they tend to fall apart. The same goes for your photography business relationships. If you’ve fallen behind, this is one of the areas that got hurt the most.

Look back at your photography contacts and touch base with them. Send a friendly note. Maybe even one that includes a Starbucks gift card to perk up their Monday. Whatever it takes to reconnect and let them know you’re still there.

One of the best things to do at any point in your business is reach out to new people. I recently did this when I decided I needed to develop more relationships in the higher-end New York City wedding market. I attended a networking event full of a who’s who in the wedding world, and did my best. I actually ended up ditching the people I went with to force myself to walk up to perfect strangers and start conversations.

What do you know, it worked! I made a great connection with a prominent photographer who invited me to his Instagram pod, where I’m now connected with even more amazing wedding vendors. I also was able to get a personal invitation to check out The Plaza’s biggest competition, near Central Park. Nothing has paid off in dollars yet, but I know it will tenfold.

Boldly get out of your comfort zone and network with other businesses in your field. Be tactful. No one likes a cold call or spam email. Find a way to do this right, and it’ll boost your reputation.

Experiment With New Tactics

Odds are that if you’ve been out of it for a little while, things have changed in the marketing world. You’ll find that things that were working for you previously aren’t working anymore. Welcome to the wonderful world of marketing in the 21st century.

Luckily, basic marketing principles do stay the same—because, when it comes down to it, you’re still dealing with people. People are subject to basic psychology, and marketing is really just tapping into that psychology to make what you offer look like what they need. Grab yourself some a marketing book if you’re not familiar with this concept.

To brush up on the newest marketing tactics, I don’t recommend picking up a book. By the time books are printed and distributed, half of the new marketing ideas are old news. Instead, search through business and marketing blogs, and not just from the photography world. Search Google on the social media platform you want to concentrate on. Follow social media marketing gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk.

Finally, you can’t really go wrong by checking out what other successful people are doing. When I want to find new marketing ideas for the wedding world, I look at top wedding blogs, wedding dress designer Instagram accounts and the like. I look at how their audience (which is similar to mine) is reacting to their marketing efforts. I’m not saying to steal anything, just find inspiration and adapt it for your own company.

If you came to my keynote at ShutterFest this year, you know that my big takeaway was that you have to work for what you earn. If you’ve fallen behind, you’re going to have to work hard to make up for it. Once you’re where you need to be, never let yourself fall behind again. Work hard, work smart and work until you’re motivated.

 

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the June issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.