Old business, New business, Photography, and Loving your Customers

     An old acquaintance of mine has been in the graphic design business since the 90s. He started in his mother’s basement; designing party flyers, and hustling. These days he has a standalone shop, office space, and his business is nationwide. I ran into him at Sam’s Club a while back and he made an interesting statement –

“You know Kahn, back when I started my business; I had the whole thing on lock because I was the only one that knew how to do it. These days, most people can learn how to do whatever they want to do online.”

     In 2 sentences he summed up one of the biggest assets and challenges to starting a business now vs. starting a business 20 years ago. Back in the day one of the hardest parts of starting a business was acquiring information. The library would help but establishing connections with peers and finding mentorship was the best case scenario. And it was never easy to trying the “who’s who” and getting him/them to help you. You still have to do these things today but the internet is faster than the library, and peers and mentorship can be sought online within any organization that represents whatever field you’re looking to get started in (and doesn’t it seem like Youtube shows you how to do everything!!?).

So now what you ask….

     The accessibility of information breeds more competition. This places all the importance on personality, quality, and passion. There are thousands of photographers cheaper than me, and another thousand photographers that are just as good as me. I obtain and retain clients because they like me, they trust me, and they know I will work my butt off. I have to do that day in and day out. I have to do that for every client that books me. I have to have passion to remain to keep doing it. My wife used to ask why I spend too much time just “talking” to clients; I would simply respond “because I love them and they love me.” lol
     Now I can also go in to marketing, being unique, standing out from the crowd and consistency. But that’s for a different blog post. You don’t have to have passion for that stuff; you just need to find what works for you. “Customer Service” – you have to have passion for. The same rule applies for any business you’re trying to get into. People will continue to support as long as they know/feel you are keeping their best interest at heart. So if you’re trying to start a business that customer service based; open up yourself, show your clients who you are, and be passionate. The days of being “the only shop” in town are over.

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