For Photogs: Asking Why
As business owners one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is WHY? Cause lets be honest, we ask this question of our mentors and people we admire in the industry when trying to understand their businesses, but we often forget to ask ourselves this question.
When preparing for a mentoring session
with a photographer, Chris and I do a deep dive analysis of the photographer's business. Part of this usually includes writing down questions regarding why the photographer does things a certain way, operates their business using a specific process, and the thinking/reasoning behind an aspect of their business. While many times they have an answer that is a well informed intentional reason, a lot of the time if we are confused about why they do things a certain way, they may also be. Here are the top five answers we get when we ask WHY that raise a concerning flag:
• I don't know
• I've always done it that way
• Other people do it
• I don't know how to do it any other way
• I didn't know that's what I was doing
As business owners it is our responsibility to know why we make the decisions we make for our business and do things the way we do. "I don't know" is one of the scariest answers because if the photographer who owns the business doesn't know why they do x,y,z then who does?! Running a business from a place of blind emotion is like a sailboat at sea with no rutter. The boat will go wherever the tide takes it with no clear reasoning, direction or purpose. Surely this boat will eventually run into the ground. For example, the question "why do you charge what you do for your services?" shouldn't be answered with "I don't know." Strong business are built on a foundation of informed processes and decisions that work best for that business.
If you are doing things simply and only because you have always done it that way, I can guarantee you are not growing as a business owner. Significant or forward movement never came from comfort zones, the worn path, or doing things the same way time and time again just because.
Doing what everyone else is doing is very risky. Answering the question "why are you hosting a workshop?" or "why are you offering discounts?" with "Because everyone else is" is concerning. Making decisions for your business based on trends and what works for other people really isn't a smart place to run a business from. Because let's be honest, trends change and what works for them may not be best for you and your business.
The heartbeat of WHY you do what you do within your business should come from a place of clearly knowing your own business, goals, intentions, and motivations.