A few years ago, we left our kids at home with grandparents and went on a HOT date!! Date night meant we were going to actually have a shower, put on some makeup (Carissa, not Matt as that would be weird) and dress up a bit… and of course, like every normal couple, we were armed with a notepad!!! All couples do that right?? Not all of our dates get as steamy as this, but at the beginning of the year is when we are ready to dream!! I remember sitting across the table from Matt over candles and a meal that didn’t include my toddler’s hands picking at it, and coming up with goals for that year! We were going to push ourselves to write down goals that seemed almost impossible. One of those was to “speak at WPPI”. We had gone for years and always admired a lot of the speakers. We had spoken at other smaller conferences before, and with our education background and desire to push people forward in their business, we thought speaking at WPPI, the largest photography conference in the world, would be a very cool opportunity! The other ambitious goal we had was to move our photography package prices from a comfortable $3000 to an average of $5,000-$8000. We had the fears of ‘why would anyone pay that much for us’ or ‘why would we get chosen to speak in front of hundreds of photographers just like us?
We continued to set our BIG goals for that year and create a strategy of how we were going to get there and GUESS WHAT… that year we were asked to do a platform class at WPPI and we were so excited to have a packed room and make an impact on others in the industry! In the same year, we made important changes in our business to move us up to another level of photography giving more value to our clients and getting to a place where they didn’t even bat an eye when we told them our updated price tag.
Now that 2017 is here, it is time to DREAM! It is time to write down your goals and create a roadmap for success in 2017.
Why take the time to write down what you are planning to do this year? Of course, you can still accomplish your goals without a plan, but that is like trying to get across the states without a roadmap. Having a business plan for your business or even your personal life is like your road map. It gives you direction. It allows to see your accomplishments or see where improvements need to be made.
“A goal without a plan is just a dream” – Dave Ramsay
In the Business Course at The Academy, we give our students a full sample business plan to work off of and show them the areas that can be very helpful to include. We do this because having a business plan is a great foundation for a business. Everyone can do this. Here are some great questions to start with:
1) What are your financial goals?
How much did you make last year?
What is the minimum you need to make this year?
What is your target goal financially?
What is your ideal goal?
How much do you have to average per month to make this yearly goal?
How many weddings do you need to book?
Write them down!
2) What 5 Goals do you have this year in order to call it a successful year?
Examples: Book 10 wedding clients, improve turn around time to 2 weeks, take every Friday off with my family…
Write out your top 5 Goals (maybe more, maybe less) and leave some spaces after each for the next part…
3) How are you going to achieve these goals? What are your marketing strategies or action steps?
You wrote out what things need to happen for it to be a successful year, now what steps do you need to take in order to make those happen?
GOAL: Book 10 weddings
ACTION STEP 1: Focus on Client Referrals
1) Spoil my clients with a quick response & turn around
- Return emails within 24 hours
- Outsource editing for faster delivery
2) Give 2 thoughtful gifts during the planning process
- Plan out what gifts will make the most impact within budget
- Decide on what point of the client process is best
3) Have multiple connecting points throughout the process so client feels valued
- Create a thorough process that each client will follow
ACTION STEP 2: Spoil Vendors & Other Industry VIPs
1) Decide on top 3 Vendors, venues and other photographers that fit my brand and clientele best
2) Meet with these VIPs throughout the year building a connection
- Drop off snacks for their team
- Offer to do their head shots
3) Stay connected via email and social media
- Find all weddings I’ve photographed with them and copy the gallery links
- Mail them, wishing them a happy new year and share the gallery links in case they lost them
- Save their Facebook pages as home page tabs in your web browser and comment on their social media posts for the next month. (Not just “like”, comment)
NOW is the time! Look back at 2016….what are you proud of? What things could you have done better? Then start dreaming of 2017….what do you want this year to look like? How are you going to make a difference this year in your business and with your family and friends? WRITE it down and don’t forget to review your plan throughout the year to see your accomplishments and get re-focused! Let’s make it a great year!
What is ONE goal you have for 2017? Post it HERE!!
We can’t wait to hear about what goals you’re chasing this year!