It has been almost eight months since WHO announced Covid-19 as a pandemic. At the start of this, everyone was optimistic that it will recover very quickly but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for many business sectors in India. Small and medium scale companies in the wedding industry have suffered immensely. With the functional scale of businesses descending drastically, business have been forced to take tough decisions.
The wedding industry, which is one of the leading services, has been the worst hit. Reports worldwide have classified this sector as ‘Highly Affected, High Financial Impact’. This leaves businesses and photographers with no option but to work on their business growth and findnew and innovative ways to fight the pandemic.
We, as a photography magazine, propose some points of business that wedding photographers need to adopt to sustain the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
1. Know your Numbers
Experts need to realise their business in terms of pure numbers, especially during the pandemic where every rupee matters. You will need to be highly alert with your money, the cost of operating your company, the cost of earning a client and many other things. Your most important aim here should be to have a net positive in all terms. Photographers, especially working as freelancers, should keep a habit of keeping a note of their finances every month and planning their future steps accordingly.
A net positive is an indication of a firm business and ensures that the photographer is in control of their planning and expenses while still keeping the creative capability of the business alive.
2. Advertising should remain an EssentialPart of the Business
YES, you heard it right. Advertisement and a pandemic are not linked and one should not make the mistake of connecting the two. Henry Ford said, “Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a watch to save time”.
As every photographer market their best images, promoting your best work that you have captured throughout the last season. Else, you will be out of business competition. Plan a budget for your advertising and marketing expenses based on your numbers, calculate a monthly expense and stick to it. Always keep in mind that the photography industry works on word of mouth advertising more than any other way. So now is a perfect time to reach out to your clients to present your offerings to them.
3. Good Management will take you Places
Avoid buying latest equipment if you don’t need it. Photographers are notorious for spending unnecessarily on latest gears and techs. It is all about the latest expensive mirrorless cameras, lenses and accessories; photographers always want to get their hands on new equipment as soon as it is launched. In scientific terms, this is known as Gear Acquiring Syndrome. Every professional has been there and done that and hence it is advisable to save yourself from such unnecessary acts especially during this critical time.
Always remember, you create the content, not your camera. Companies will keep coming with newer tech every sixmonths. But do you need to upgrade? The simple answer is NO, if it isn’t needed yet. This is the perfect time to create a standard operating procedure on buying new gears and make every purchase worth its cost.
4.Focus on your Service Offerings
With home weddings are safe at the moment, it is definitely not a tradition but more like a trend, at least until the Covid-19 is completely over. Matching your current service offerings with client needs is the key to continuing your business successfully. For example, in a small wedding, clients are not looking at a large team. So, will you work with someone who you can trust to deliver at least 50% of our results? Will you be able to deliver the work on the time? Are you ready to work on smaller budgets? Will you deliver the same value as you did for a bigger wedding?
These aspects need to be given an ambitious look. This means that you need to find some good ways to earn money during the pandemic to earn a good profit. Use your expertise to create new service offerings that are collective and can be used in other business sectors. Reach out to clients and other businesses and offer your new services. Cold calls and emails are something you should start now. Are these things out of your comfort zone? Now is the perfect time to get started!
5. Get ready for the New Normal
The pandemic will not stay forever. The situation will improve in coming months. However, that being said the economy is going to enter a ‘New Normal’ where everyone will be more observant about their expenses.
The last few months have given us a taste of what we actually require and what really matters. This mentality will have a pure impact on the wedding photography industry where the prize size for a wedding may drop, but the value that a client needs might remain the same. In such a situation, photographers need to plan how they can match client’s expectations and still earn profits. Planning in terms of team management, editing work, gears, etc, will help you to face the changed expectations with more ease.