It may feel like everybody has their own photography business but that should not discourage you from running your own and setting yourself apart. Taking the time to focus on your strengths and how to make your clients feel special is critical to running a business that will last for years to come. Here is a list of 5 steps we thought were important for a successful business.
No matter assignment, it is imperative that you have a clear outline of your ideas and the project. Sometimes plans are easy because clients are very detailed and specific in the requests, others are harder work as there is always unlimited creative freedom, either way, planning is key.
Plans need to center on clear objectives and what the end product will be, making sure it matches the client’s expectations. The sooner plans are made the sooner both parties can react to the work. It’s also key to plan a timeline and deadline, for not only you but also your client.
Having a clear plan will help customers trust you and people often go back to reliable services.
There is no aspect of life that is not improved by open and effective communication skills. Making yourself as available as possible is a key when working with customers. Keep yourself connected to email, to social media, make yourself available for phone and Skype calls. Keeping yourself open to communication, replying in a prompt and polite manner, will keep clients happy. While some customers might seem needy remember it’s their money and often memories at risk. Regular updates on the assignment is vital, making sure there are no misunderstandings or problems that need ironing out. While Freelancers have a more erratic schedule compared to the nine to five desk dweller it is perhaps fair to inform your customers if there are specific times you reply to messages and warn them if you are taking an extended time away from your devices.
Customers will come to you because you have a certain skill set or offer a service. The client will expect you to share your wisdom and knowledge as it will boost their confidence in your skillset. Don’t hold back any skills or contacts, it will make the people around you doubt your authenticity.
Very few things are as essential to the client relationship as getting the planned assignment finished within the timeline. If you understand sticking to a realistic and clear timetable, keeping your client updated constantly about the progress should be an easy task.
If time managing is not your strong suit there are lots of software packages available to assist with tracking as well as going the classic root of calendars. Also when you quote your original finish date over-estimate rather than setting yourself a stressfully soon deadline, this would look better when you finish in under the deadline. As the saying goes, under promise and over deliver. Keep your promises and exceed their expectations when possible will give them a positive experience with your business.
In the end, client relationships are between two human beings. There is no room for competition when there is only one of YOU that exists. People can tell when someone they are working with is being genuine and honest and that is appealing. When you are working close to someone for an extended period it can be as much about personality as it can about their skillsets. Be honest with your skills and deadlines, don’t mislead your clients as it might get you one job but it certainly won’t get repeat customers. Recognize your advantages and use them to your advantage.
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