Monday, April 4, 2011

How Do You Portray Your Business?

Let's start this week off with a smile. I was going through the "What the Duck" comics the other day when I ran across this one. It struck me as funny, because I feel the artist hit the nail on the head.
Maybe I just don't understand some people. As photographers, we get together at conventions to share ideas, get charged up and find inspiration to bring back to our studios. Yet, it seems that these gatherings also turn some people into Eeyore. (You remember, the eternally pessimistic donkey from Winnie the Pooh.) The conversations with these people can be depressing!

"Hey John, how have you been?"

"Terrible . . . business is down 30%; customers aren't willing to invest in quality portraits. The darn camera-mommies are ruining it for everyone!"

Ok, so perhaps we occasionally do this with other studio owners who also understand the plight. After all, we need to support each other. It's always easier to blame someone else than to admit our own shortcomings.

When it becomes a problem is when we take it outside of our own photographic community and have these conversations with clients. We project a negative image of not only our business, but ourselves as well. Who wants to do business with Eeyore? No one.

Photographic artist and lecturer Monica Sigmon gives a great example during her program. She talks about a local Chevy dealer and his attitude (during what has been a devastating economy for the automotive industry.) Running into him in a local restaurant, she asked him the same question. "Hey John, how have you been?"

It was his reply that surprised her. "I'm great, Monica! Business has never been better; people are really pulling out of this slump and buying new vehicles. Last week was awesome!"  Needing some service on her own vehicle, she brought it into the dealership and while making small talk with one of the salespeople, she mentioned her conversation with the owner. The salesman looked at her with a somewhat surprised look on his face, wondering aloud if she had spoken with the right person.

The point here is that had the owner of the business painted a bleak picture, he may have driven away any potential clients with his negativity. Instead, his upbeat attitude enticed Monica into bringing her vehicle in for needed service.

Who wants to do business with Eeyore? No one.

We all talk about photography being what we love. We don't make anyone or anything we truly love the subject of complaints and negativity. This should be the case when talking about our profession and businesses as well.

Smile when you talk about your business!

- David Grupa
(Enjoy "What the Duck"? See more of Aaron Johnson's work at

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