We all know there are no magic formulas for wealth and success. The good news is that there really are some fundamental actions you can take which will greatly increase the odds of your success this coming year.
Good planning is one of those basics. Good planning—in the form of goal setting—is essential for your business, even if you’re a one-person video band. Why? Because you’ve got to know what you want in order to get it.
It’s critical that you have written business goals and plans to meet your objectives. Think of these goals as a script for your business; you wouldn’t go out and shoot a high-end corporate video without a script, would you?
Setting goals and benchmarks—those “Where am I today?” reality checks—for your video production business provide you with some real business-boosting benefits. They help you do the following:
- Organize your objectives
- Develop the strategies you need to accomplish these objectives
- Set your priorities
- Develop your schedules and timetables
- Anticipate problems and create solutions in advance
- Set financial guidelines and goalsSo how do you go about setting these goals and objectives? For the sheer simplicity of it, I’ve always liked the four-part formula that popular life coach Tony Robbins espouses in his books and programs.
Know where you want to go: You need a clear, precise financial goal for your business. It should not only cover what you need to pay the overhead, your salary, and the cost of any employees or subcontractors, but it should also allow you the profit you need to make for future growth and savings—and retirement.
Don’t get modest when you’re determining this number and tell yourself that you want too much. Spend some time deciding what you really want out of your business; pick a figure that will make you happy with your life. Then, write it down because you need to look at it often.
Once you know how many dollars you want (and can reasonably expect) to earn, objectively evaluate all the different means available to you to do just that. Can you keep doing what you’ve been doing all along, or will you have to add more services, create new products, expand your business and your customer base, or raise your prices without driving your clients away? How will you reach clients and prospects to tell them about your services? Advertising? Referrals? New business cards? A sign for your building? Vinyl signage for the company vehicle? Online demo clips? A newsletter? A direct mail program?
Put together a list of which marketing tools you’ll use: your website, emails, newsletters, direct mailers and postcards, personal contacts, handing out business cards, and the like. Then, write down how often you’ll need to use these tools. Now you’re ready for Robbins’ next step.
Get started: If you produce videos for businesses, write 2–3 introductory letters and short, successful case histories, draw up a mailing list of likely prospects, and begin sending them your materials. Follow up with phone calls. Have a demo tape or a link to your online demo ready to send to those prospects who respond favorably.
If you’re concentrating on wedding videography, find out when the big wedding shows are scheduled for your area, and make plans to attend them. (Incidentally, never waste your money and time exhibiting at a trade show without having specific goals for how much business you want to gather while you’re there.) Work your network of still photographers, wedding planners, consultants, caterers, and printers; make sure your existing clients are happy with your work and ready to provide you referrals.
Notice your referrals: When you’re doing activities designed to help you reach your goal—and you should be doing something every day to move your business toward that goal, even if it’s just making one call or sending one letter—pay attention to your results. Is your advertising working? Are people responding to your newsletter, your direct mail efforts, or your new website? Do you see definite, positive results? If you do, terrific! If not …
Change your approach: When you look critically at your business, you’ve got to turn that lens on yourself as well; you are the business. If things aren’t working, try something different. Don’t be afraid to admit that your great marketing idea didn’t work. I once scrapped 10,000 expensive, oversized, multicolor postcards because they bombed—and I’m supposed to be an expert.
Above all, persistence pays off. According to the National Sales Executive Association, only 2% of sales occur on the first contact. 80% require five or more contacts before the transaction occurs. If you’ve put out your sales message once or twice, you’re barely out of the gate.
Good marketing is constant. People have short memories. Stay in touch with your prospects on a regular basis until they buy what you’re selling.
Marketing is not for the impatient; you must work on it daily, a little bit at a time. If one approach doesn’t work well, try something else—and keep trying—until you find that magic formula for success.
Steve Yankee (syankee at opinmarketing.com) has more than 35 years of video production and marketing experience and is the founder of The Video Business Advisor in East Lansing, Mich.