How true it is that ignorance or lack of knowledge can cost you serious money in business, plus a lot more if you are not fully aware of the rules and regulation in running any business properly and even more so a photography business.
There was a time in my Photography journey that I was probably one of the busiest Event Photographers in the country, with my set of circumstances as a Full-Time HGV Driver, with a team of up to 6 plus computer sales /operators and photographers.
With a professional presence in the marketplace that was well respected by my clientele, until one day I was invited for lunch along with my business colleague at the time with a marketing company.
At the meeting, they were very surprised how poor my monitoring of my business was when it comes to capturing the details of those who I had been in front of my camera, up and down the country for a number of years.
One of the things they shared with us, was once I had taken a photograph at any of the events I was working at, I should have done something extra to maintain their interest and loyalty in Walter James Photography, for other photography assignments that may come up, in their family or circle of friends.
This I thought we were doing on our website and having corporate branding uniform in the form of embroidery fleece and shirts and blouses, we also had printed up branded cut out folders for all the images we printed, with all the relevant information to stay in touch with us in the future.
Even though the branded folders worked many times over, they felt we should have still maintained all the contact information of everyone we had to taken a photograph of, in order for us to keep in touch with them with a newsletter, with various offers from ourselves or other companies we were partners with at the time, as well as to inform them about images they did not buy at the time of an event, or for enlargements to be presented in a frame etc.
It's interesting you would have thought I would have known this aspect of marketing a photography company since that was the practice of many photographers in the days of film.
Which is another reason as Image Makers we should never devalue our digital images by giving them away since they can still be a potential income long after an event or a wedding?
With the passing of time, our ability to edit improves along with new software at our disposal can easily turn an average image into a very artistic image, that can be enlarged and framed with a personal signature to add value to an image.
Reprinting images and putting them into expensive leather folios or an album depending how many images you have, will also be an option for extra sales that they could offer as a present to a family member, especially as we know with the passing of time, many people we I had captured over the years had passed away.
However without a system in place to contact past customers, in order to add extra revenue to our business, such extra income was not going to happen in the way they suggested, and even worse such a list would have been a valuable asset of information of data to be shared.
Selling such information on to any marketing company, not sure how legal that would have been, but the opportunity was there until we said we did not have such usable data.
I have learnt the hard way, that there is no shame in asking for help, if you do not know the answers to a solution to a business problem, and how important it is to have good business housekeeping for every section of a business, as well as to have good people around you.
Especially a small business that is operating or playing with mainstream players in the marketplace, since the same legal rules and regulations that apply to them will also apply to you as well, especially when it comes to HMRC, who you cannot hide from.