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Taking Care of Business
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Old April 12th, 2011, 11:30 AM   #1
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What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?


O.K., so having read several threads I keep reading that great videographers go out of business not because they don't know how to shoot or edit, but because they simply don't understand the business aspect of how to run their enterprise. As I'm always game to learn something new, I'm wondering if any of the more experienced folks would care to share their advice on the best resources (books, DVD's, educational sets etc..) that have given them particular insight into their business skills. I know, experience trumps all, but I'm just curious if any particular resource will stand out.


Marc S. Brown

Serenade Productions

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Old April 12th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?

I honestly don't know of any books etc off the top of my head but I can say that for me at least it's mostly been good common sense. I always ask myself some questions like, IF I do THIS will it improve the quality of my work and if so HOW MUCH do I think it will improve and HOW LONG will it take to get my money back? I also ask myself, IF I put that amount of money into other areas like advertising am I better off than buying the newest piece of gear. RoI (return on investment) is the key for me. Does it cost anything and if so how much to say join the Chamber of Commerce or a networking group where I can meet people in other businesses that could use my services. Are there any videographer groups in my area so I can network with others in the same or similar boat as me?
Good common sense. For this particular job should I buy or rent the gear I need that I don't have.
Things like that.
Use what God gave you along with the lifes experience you have gained over the years and my #1 rule is NEVER jump into spending money without thinking it thru BUT keep in mind that overthinking can kill you as well.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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Re: What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?

I've been reading a quite lengthy book titled "Getting Business to Come to You"/ I've found it quite helpful in terms of properly & efficiently marketing yourself. It's general business, not directly related to video. Also gave me a bit of advice to create a niche/specialty (weddings/advertisingbar mitzvahs) to emphasive. Small little good ideas.

I think Don is right though. Good common sense. A big thing imho is having supplemental income. If you make $7000 a year on weddings but are thinking of leaving a full time job to focus more on weddings so you can earn $30,000-$40,000 a year working for yourself doing weddings you might be overshooting it a bit. If you're juat starting out your business yet don't have a second income (or spouses to depend on) chances are after a year or two business won't be bringing in a livable income & you might just decide to go back to full time work. Therefore I think a dependable income & proper marketing & advertising is needed.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?

Realize that building a business takes time. I started my business Aug.1, 2009. Things have improved to the point that I'm consistently bringing in aprox. 30% of the income (plus perks like 401k match) from my previous health care job. But that's okay. I'm on schedule, actually a little a head of schedule, for my five year plan. That's right. A FIVE YEAR plan to build the business.

It's not an easy business, especially now, but there are opportunities. I'm now starting to get quite a bit of repeat business and referrals from past customers.

As for marketing, think customer service. For corporate clients, don't think cheap, but do emphasize ROI on the money they pay you. Good business people looking to hire you already realize that there are tradeoffs between quality and amount of work you can produce versus the price you charge for it. They appreciate candid discussions related to "bang for the buck." Let the bad economy work for you.

Even the county government around here no longer automatically awards to the lowest bidder. They use something called BVP: Best Value Procurement, or an old fashioned cost versus benefit analysis. People still want video. They are concerned about price. They have to be. The trick is to give a good enough price and still earn a decent profit. Adjust what you give based on what you can get for it.

It is a very competitive business environment. If you want to make it in business, you have to be very competitive. You have to offer a good value for peoples money. Good quality and a good price. Maybe not the highest quality in your market, nor the lowest price in your market. I won't go toe to toe with the cream of the crop high end artists, nor with the guys trolling the bottom on price. You need to know your skill level. You need to know what your work is really worth in your market (not what you think it's worth), plus a general idea of what a client can budget, then price accordingly.

I'm still learning all this, but what I have learned so far is paying off. Pricing is an art. You don't want to be perceived as cheap. Nor do you want to lose business by charging too much that you could get by charging less, but still earn a decent profit.

Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; April 13th, 2011 at 09:25 AM. Reason: more thoughts
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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #5
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Re: What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?

I'd recommend the E-Myth books by Michael Gerber.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Re: What are the Resources for Learning the Business Aspects?

The business book that still speaks to me is Blue Ocean Strategy. Using simple analogies of "Red Ocean vs Blue Ocean" business models and giving multiple case studies, it's forced me to always re-invent. Its mantra of "make the competition irrelevant" is about the most powerful sentence related to business that I've ever read.

Seth Godin's books are also fast page-turners of little nuggets of wisdom... some better, and more relevant, than others.
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