What is all business about? Marketing, of course
I’ve spent this last week trying to make sense of the year. Quite a big task, of course.
Back in the winter, I undertook some mentoring. I’ve done it before, but a good few years ago, so I figured it was a good time to get some more. It’s a good thing to do every so often – to take stock of where you are, look back at what you’ve been doing and where it’s got you, and decide if you like it. The process also forces you to look within yourself, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and formulate ideas on where you’d like to be headed in the future. I figured I’d become a little too comfortable with what I was doing and where I was at, so wanted to set some targets to grow myself and the business. Mentor Nick was (is!) excellent, asked all the right questions, made me feel uncomfortable at the right moments (when I was being honest about what I’d run away from doing), and we formulated a plan for the next year. That was in February. Of course, there was a big Covid shaped cloud on the horizon even then, but none of us thought it would have turned out as it did, did we?
The point? It’s that the plan hasn’t really changed, even though there’s been a global pandemic, two lockdowns, restrictions on business, a recession on the horizon replacing the Brexit cloud, etc. etc.
All businesses need a plan, and I think I was lucky in writing mine when I did. It gave me a focus that has helped me a lot this year. Sure, I haven’t been able to do some of the things I planned (like increase the number of business events I’d photograph), but I had a roadmap and, more importantly, some clarity on where I wanted to take things. I was forced to think of ways of working when businesses weren’t in work – so I started to offer more product photography (something I’d done a little of, but never promoted in the past). And I fell back more heavily on stuff that I’ve always done – website photos, marketing and PR, and headshots.
I spent the spring and summer getting my head down and marketing hard. I wrote and planned a series of blog posts, posted on Linkedin and Instagram a lot (the only social media platforms I really use) and carried on networking – keeping in touch with old contacts and making new ones. Just the stuff I did before the pandemic, really. But it was important to remind people of my existence, and let them know I was still around and still working.
Looking back at my portfolio over the past six months, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve worked, and it’s also interesting to see how the subject matter has changed slightly. Still plenty of headshots, but I’m also shooting a lot of building interiors, like this show home, for instance. Property seems to be one of the sectors that hasn’t been as badly hit as some others, and I’ve had a lot of bookings like this, as people look to show off properties for sale or rent.
In the past few months there’s been a noticeable change in mood among the business people I know. It feels like everyone has decided that they’re going to get through this. And the result is they’re all getting their heads down and ramping up their marketing efforts. And great pictures make that a whole lot easier, like the examples I’ve posted here.
Turns out it’s all about marketing isn’t it? It’s the one thing we need to do all the time (the marketeers were right all along!)