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How to Spot Bottlenecks in your Business

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When you began your wedding photography business, did you think that most of your time would be spent working on the business aspects of it rather than shooting? From scheduling meetings, responding to emails, designing albums, and ordering prints, there are numerous tasks you are responsible for! Some of these can take up a lot of time, which can result in you falling behind on other tasks (especially during busy season!). As a business owner, it is crucial for you to understand how to find these problem areas, which are also known as bottlenecks. A business bottleneck can be an area of your wedding photography business that is very time consuming and causes you to not accomplish other tasks that are also important. Bottlenecks can also be tasks that are not profitable because they cost more money than they are worth.

Even though it may be common to have bottlenecks in your business, there’s good news – once you spot the bottlenecks, there are ways to manage and eliminate them! Here are some ways to spot bottlenecks, and how you can fix them to focus on the most important tasks in your business.

Identify the Problem Areas

Before you can solve your bottleneck problem, it is necessary for you to identify what specific tasks are holding you back. There may be one main task that add hours to your workflow, or there may be several – this is okay! The most important things is that you take a clinical look at your business and identify all of them. Examine each area of your business, from answering emails to booking clients to adding your Signature Style to images.

Related: Is your turnaround time meeting your clients’ expectations?

You can also take a step back from your business and decide what parts you enjoy, and what parts take you longer because you do not find joy in performing those tasks. Many times, the tasks you do not enjoy working on are the ones that hold you back the most. Make a list of the tasks that bring you pain each time you need to work on them, and document the time it takes for you to work on them as well! This will allow you to see how much time you could save if those tasks were removed as bottlenecks. [···]

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Top 5 Tips for Selling Albums

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Through the hustle and bustle of a wedding day, it can sometimes be hard for couples to truly enjoy all of the details surrounding them and moments that occur. So how can you help preserve the memories of the wedding day for them? Create an album! Not only is this a piece that your couples will cherish, but it is an easy way for friends and family to reminisce about the details of that special day as well! Incorporating albums into your packages assists you in maximizing your profit. If you want to satisfy your current clients and book ideal future clients, album design is an important aspect to include.

In our Profitable Album Design and Sales Webinar, wedding photographer Melissa Jill shared effective ways for photographers to utilize wedding albums to increase sales within their photography businesses. Here are the top 5 tips to help you boost your album sales.

1. Show your passion for creating albums

Since digital images are usually high in demand, it is your job to educate your clients on the importance of also having an album. A wedding day is a sentimental part of your clients’ lives, so explain why an album will create memories that will last a lifetime. While having the digital files are great, share with couples how wonderful it is to have a physical item that truly captures the highlights and most memorable moments of the day. [···]

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6 Ways to Prepare your Business for a Baby

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As an expecting parent, you are thrilled for the arrival of your new baby. As a wedding photography business owner, it can be challenging (and a bit scary!) to figure out how you will run your business while taking care of your baby. While you may learn that things do not always go as planned with a baby, the key to becoming successful at both jobs is to prepare as much as you can in advance. Here are 6 tips that will assist you in prepping your business before you have a baby.

1. Book clients in advance

Meeting with new clients can be time-consuming because you are getting to know the couple while helping them plan out the most important day of their lives. Scheduling meetings may become challenging when the baby is born, so it is helpful to schedule as many meetings as possible before the baby’s due date. The more weddings that you can book ahead of time, the easier it will be to plan those wedding days out in advance to ensure that everything is taken care of and there is a family member or caretaker you trust to watch the baby. By booking far in advance, it will also help you secure work for when you do have your baby. [···]

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Are You Spending Time Making Money or Losing Money?

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A large part of being a successful photographer lies in understanding the difference between profit-generating and profit-leeching activities. Minimizing activities that aren’t adding to your profit will allow you to spend more time on activities that are helping your bottom line. Sounds like a simple equation, right? It is. But in the day-to-day busy-ness of running your business, it’s easy to get sidetracked by tasks that not only drain your energy, but also drain your bottom line.

Set up your business so that you have time for profit-generating activities

Shooting, building relationships and managing your business from a high level perspective to keep on track with your goals are all profit-generators. (Plus, shooting is why you got into business in the first place!) Ideally, you want to set up your business systems so that you can devote the majority of your time to these areas.

Activities that are necessary but aren’t helping your bottom line include editing, bookkeeping, album design, studio management and slogging through emails. Although these tasks are all necessary, they’re not directly generating profit for you. Recognizing the tasks that aren’t directly profitable is important so that you can find ways to manage these profit-leeching activities as efficiently as possible. That way, you can get back to making money and stay focused on reaching your business goals.

Tip: Look at the ratio of how your time is spent—are profit-leeching activities taking up a majority of your work hours?

Measure the opportunity cost of doing profit-leeching activities yourself

If you’re considering partnering with a specialist, you should measure the opportunity cost of doing everything yourself versus outsourcing.

Whether it’s marketing for print orders and image fulfillment, album design, or editing, there are numerous areas you should consider the opportunity cost of doing yourself. For instance, the photo editing services that ShootDotEdit provides photographers includes the UNLIMITED PLAN that costs $299 per month. The cost for a year of the UNLIMITED PLAN is less than or equal to the profit of a single wedding shoot for many photographers. Editing eats up hours of your precious time over the course of an entire year. By investing in the UNLIMITED PLAN each month, you can do additional shoots in all the hours that are freed up. These profit-generating activities will easily cover $299 per month (and likely allow you generate much more in profit than this monthly cost). In this instance, the opportunity cost for you to do all of your own editing is far greater than the cost of the monthly plan.

Manage your profit-leechers with partner solutions

So, what’s the most efficient way to manage the areas of your business that aren’t adding to your bottom line? Partner with someone who can do these tasks more efficiently than you can. By allocating business funds toward partner solutions, you’ll free up your time to shoot more and earn more!

Partner solutions for accounting, album design, post production and print fulfillment can be key to growing your business. Use systems that fit naturally with how you already operate your business. Finding specialists for areas of your business that aren’t efficient will allow you to focus on what you do best—shooting and relationships. Specialists are experts in their respective areas and because of that, they can do that task fast AND do a great job. Learn more about how to implement Specialists into your business in our Free Guide on How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business.

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