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-   -   business plans (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/6211-business-plans.html)

Bob Zimmerman January 20th, 2003 01:12 PM

business plans
 
Anyone have some good ideas on how to promote a video business. Starting out by word of mouth is kind of slow!! It's to late to put a ad in the phone book. Plus my budget is really tight. Any small business owners have some stories on how you got started?

Dylan Couper January 20th, 2003 01:21 PM

What type of stuff do you want to do?
Weddings?
Corporate?
Adult?
Sports?

It all depends on what you want to do. Find your targeted clientel and market directly to them.

Chris Hurd January 20th, 2003 01:47 PM

A simple "yellow pages" ad in the phone book can do wonders... sometimes it's all you need to get started.

Paul Sedillo January 20th, 2003 03:22 PM

I like the old fashion way of just getting out and meeting people. You will be suprised at what you can come up with. There are several good threads that are at the top of the Taking Care of Business forum. Take a few minutes and read through them.

As Dylan mentioned, it also depends on the market that you are going after. If you are looking to pick up extra work, contact all of the local production houses and see if they need a freelance camera guy.

There was a thread on here that Dylan posted, which dug into this.

Dylan - What was the topic?

K. Forman January 20th, 2003 03:38 PM

I agree with Paul- Networking is how I got all of my work. I was in the same boat as you, no cash left over for proper advertising. Of course, that was also my downfall... or at least the beginning of the end. I still have most of my equipment, and hope to start again one day.
I wish you luck in the field.
Keith

Don Bloom January 20th, 2003 04:52 PM

Yellow Pages - Too expensive not enough return
Mailers Cheaper- Not enough return
TV/Radio- Ha! Sure!
Newspaper - See all of above
These are truisms in most major markets and since my ad buget was about A dollar three ninety eight, (it is still very low but not quite that bad) I did something I learned to do a lot of years ago. Talked to everyone I could. Always carry biz cards/flyers with me, always listen to what people are talking about and talk to them. In other words, NETWORK. Lots of work has come from someone who takled to someone who talked to someone ETC 4-5-10 people later. Months later! The best form of advertising is Word of Mouth. Let people know what you do and soon enough things start to happen. Spend what you have for advertising wisely.
Good Luck,
Don

Jeff Donald January 20th, 2003 06:34 PM

I struggled for several years not advertising. I belonged to community groups, business associations, Chamber of Commerce you name it, trying to network. After several years of just getting by I decided to get a yellow pages ad. I didn't like spending the money, but I needed the phone to ring.

I committed to about $400 a month in advertising. It was a big gamble, but I deemed the risk necessary. Seven years later, when I sold my interest to my partners, the company had 17 employees and sales well in excess of $1,000,000. Now I'm not saying all the success was due to yellow pages advertising. But the phone started to ring a lot more often. When I left, my advertising budget was close to $50,000 a year. The biggest bulk of that ($35,000) was yellow pages.

Jeff

Dylan Couper January 20th, 2003 07:14 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Sedillo : I like the old fashion way of just getting out and meeting people. You will be suprised at what you can come up with. There are several good threads that are at the top of the Taking Care of Business forum. Take a few minutes and read through them.

As Dylan mentioned, it also depends on the market that you are going after. If you are looking to pick up extra work, contact all of the local production houses and see if they need a freelance camera guy.

There was a thread on here that Dylan posted, which dug into this.

Dylan - What was the topic? -->>>

It was this one, I believe.
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...&threadid=5882

Don Bloom January 20th, 2003 07:16 PM

I don't disagree that advertising is extremely important to business. All I am saying is that most folks starting out in business, especially if starting from home (I run 2 businesses from home, including my video business, and make a very good income from both so I'm not knocking home based) GENERALLY have a pretty small budget for advertising. I actually spend a fair amount on adv. today, but have found that a very big part of my biz has always been from word of mouth and referrals. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you need to put the money where it does the most good and I know that in the greater Chicagoland area, with 6 collar counties and a population of about 8 million or more, advertising in the yellow pages (which 1???, what area??? I shoot all over the area,) can be very cost prohibitive. Not too mention the fact that EVERYONE with a video camera can shoot 'your wedding for less than the other guy,' of course my favorite is "You paid how much? I could have gotten it done for you for a lot less than that!" but that's a whole different subject...Don't get me started!!!
Later,
Don

Rhett Allen January 20th, 2003 07:24 PM

In my experience, the people who call on a yellow pages ad are just price shopping. It can get very annoying answering a bunch of lookie loos who aren't going to or who can't afford the service anyway. Find your target market and go right at them! If it's weddings, go to flowers shops, bridle shops, cake and caterers and anyone else involved in a wedding. That's your best "advertising-return" ratio.

Bob Zimmerman January 21st, 2003 02:34 AM

Sorry I forgot to put down what I'm going to do. I've done some weddings mostly and plan to go into a few other areas. I just got my business cards which I'll start handing out. Maybe leave some in bridal shops etc,
A couple of you said to go to production houses and see if they could use some freelance help. You know I was thinking about that, but wasn't for sure if that was the kind of thing to do. But I'll sure try it.

The new local phonebook here won't be out until December, so for now that is out.

Thanks for the feedback.

Paul Sedillo January 21st, 2003 08:15 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Zimvg304 : Sorry I forgot to put down what I'm going to do. I've done some weddings mostly and plan to go into a few other areas. I just got my business cards which I'll start handing out. Maybe leave some in bridal shops etc,
A couple of you said to go to production houses and see if they could use some freelance help. You know I was thinking about that, but wasn't for sure if that was the kind of thing to do. But I'll sure try it.

-->>>

I have a friend in Houston, who is one of the top wedding videographers around. He made it by getting involved with wedding shows. From what he says, these are the best way to generate new business. You should look into this in your local market.

Talk with the flower shops, DJ's, wedding dress shops, tuxedo rental houses, film photographers, etc. Meet these people and build a business relationship. Referals are a powerful thing. Getting to know these folks will pay off.

Dan Holly January 22nd, 2003 01:05 PM

In our line.......
 
In our line, it's kind of different but it may help you with ideas......
Today our advertising budget is still next to zero! That may change once we finish our film.

We started out with zero budget with the exception of our cameras, and no plan to market our service since we were all about getting the job done, and having fun while we were at it regardless of the outcome.
I actually made our 1st set of business cards on my PC and printer, but we found out it was a lot cheaper to just get them done, and even with good printers and decent card stock they looked pretty "B league".

With a vision to shoot a film slated for DVD, we were out there on weekends making it happen......
It's amazing how many people approached us on our shoots to say "what the heck are you guys doing, whoa nice cameras".
Instant networking achieved.....we would pass out our cards, mention our website/email medium, tell them about our film, tell people what we would do that filled their needs (if they had one), the list goes on. We also made a point to mingle with the locals at their watering holes after-hours (it's amazing how much work we got out of this scenario).

It's also amazing how many people have told us "you guys are a lot nicer than the people that were here from ESPN" (no BS at all).
People remember us, they've already forgot the camera jockeys names/faces from ESPN/etc.

I had one guy who is a die hard local Beta cam dude & production house who is always giving me crap about using DV.....
I finally laid my cards on the table with him recently and showed him our reel.....the next thing you know we are one of 9 cameras(1 XL1s and 8 Beta's) shooting a upcoming race next month. Which proves......it's what you put in front of the camera, not behind it.

Which brings me to the point.........
It's all about customer service when building clientele;
-if someone calls you.....call them back immediately, and give them quality information
-don't over commit yourself so you can't deliver a quality product
-if something is wrong with your service, fix it now
-if something didn't meet their expectations, do what it takes to meet their needs
-go the extra mile for the paying customer, and encourage referrals
-if someone changes their mind in mid stream, let them know right then and there how much their change costs you AND them

We've currently got so much repeat and referral business, we *have* to pick and choose, or we need to sub some of the gigs out.
Right now we are refusing to sub out the extra gigs because we don't have the time to manage the vision and quality of others.

Hope something helped here..........

Colin Zhang November 5th, 2007 05:13 AM

Well I can't really say much because I just do films as a hobby (although I have had some good jobs for my age: Team analysis videographer for US Olympics team, Special Olympics webcast camera, etc.) but I totally agree with the word of mouth. Getting out there with your camera also works well. I remember back in elementary school when I was filming my film that would eventually win the Film Festival people would walk by and say "Whoa, nice camera" and even now (I'm STILL in school and everyone knows me but most only for my films) a lot of people do that. In fact, one of my teachers offered me a job (I said "Well, it might cost you..." and her reply was something like "Sure")! Getting along with the customer helps a lot although it is hard when your tripod won't pan smoothly...anyway I'm going off topic and in general, I'd say ...Just take the advice that's already here!

Oh ****, I just realised this topic is 4 years old... ****!

Bert Smyth November 6th, 2007 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 39328)
A simple "yellow pages" ad in the phone book can do wonders... sometimes it's all you need to get started.

You know, I'd heard that, and that was my plan, but now there are two different Yellow Pages, the "Yellow Pages" and "Dex", plus a couple of mini phone book yellow pages. So come phone book time of year, we get about 4 or 5 phone books, anyone run into ths problem or have suggestions on which is the best one to put an ad in?


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