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.
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.
Document the Process
Once you find the sources of your main bottlenecks, it can be helpful to write down the steps it takes to complete those tasks. When you create the process for your tasks, you can see exactly where your time is spent. Make sure you are specific in the details of each task; it will not help you prevent bottlenecks if you do not understand where you are spending most of your time. Write down what you do from the beginning of the process to the end, describing the exact action you perform, as well as how long each part takes you. Once this process is complete, you will have a better look at every task on your plate, from your daily projects to your long-term tasks.
Determine the Cost
Bottlenecks may not seem like they cost you money; however, since they cause you to spend time, this ends up costing you money! In turn, you are not able to spend time in areas which help your business grow. Since your time is valuable, it is important to understand exactly how much each bottleneck costs. You need to evaluate the amount of time you are spending on each one, along with the opportunity cost that each one has. This opportunity cost is the loss of potential income that you could be gaining if you did not have to spend time on the bottleneck. The most important parts of your business need your attention, which means the bottleneck is taking time away from those tasks.
Once you create the benchmarks of time and opportunity costs, you can evaluate and determine a sustainable solution to each bottleneck. This ensures you are no longer losing money by doing a specific task.
Delegate the Tasks
Lastly, in order for you to fix the bottleneck you identified, you must develop a procedure to deal with that bottleneck. Since you detailed every step of the tasks that are holding you back, delegate them to someone who can do it for less than what it costs you to do it yourself. For example, rather than editing the images on your own, you could outsource them to a photo editing company, such as ShootDotEdit. You can also hire someone to take care of your bookkeeping, orders, and inquiries from clients. Those tasks do not necessarily need your attention, and you can find a trusted person to handle them efficiently.
Bottlenecks can prevent you from scaling your business, so it is crucial to identify and remove them! By working to eliminate bottlenecks, you will set yourself and your business up for success. Think about what bottlenecks are holding you back, and begin working on the process to simplify them. Find out more about how you can use outsourcing to help your business grow with our How to Integrate ShootDotEdit into your Workflow Guide!