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Words of wisdom

I always like to write about businesses when I have a great experience so I have to share this one. Now that everyone has some kind of device for taking photos, whether it is a cell phone, an iTouch, an iPad or of course a digital camera, everyone has become a photographer.

However, when I needed to get some new PR photos done, I decided to go to a professional photographer and I made an appointment with Brooks LaTouche.

As well meaning as some of our friends are, they just don’t have the right light and techniques to take a really good photo. What I love now, and I’m sure that most professional photographers so as well, is the fact the cameras are now digital, so dark rooms and negatives are now extinct. And since we all love instant, you can see how you look, and discard the ones that just not cutting it before you even leave the studio.

Some people are very photogenic and take great photos. Unfortunately I don’t fall into that category so I had to go to the studio on two occasions just to get it right. The first time the electricity went off during my photo shoot, something that apparently rarely happens in Belleville. I would be paranoid to think it had anything to do with me.

When I received the first set of photos by e-mail, which I had approved at the studio, I began to see little flaws that I didn’t notice before, so I asked the very patient Enrico Brooks if I could come back and try again. He was very accommodating. This time, we had no interruption of the electricity service and I managed to get some shots that I like.

Now you know how it is with everyone today, we like everything instantly, so I asked nicely if I could have them e-mailed to me that day. Unknown to us, photographers sometimes like to “Photoshop out” some of the imperfections that they see in the photo and that takes more time that we uninitiated folks realise. Anyway Enrico said that he would do his best to get them to me that day.

Would you know that when I got home, after I had done a couple of things, and got something to eat, I then turned on my computer to find that the photos were waiting in my Inbox? The photos got home almost before me. Now that is what I call service. Thankfully I was happy with them and didn’t have to go back for another try.

As with many other businesses, photography is a changing industry and the rules are continuing to change. As I said, almost everyone now has a camera of some sort and very often, where they would have hired a professional to take photos of a special occasion, they are now just asking a friend or someone with a big camera who looks like they know what they’re doing, to take photos.

That means that photographers like Brooks LaTouche have to see “what they have in their house” and how they can use their skills and resources to earn income by other means. So areas like restoration of old photos or reprinting of photos taken years ago that would fill us with nostalgia today, become sources of revenue.

Then, of course, there’s the other side and that is reducing expenses. Recession forces you to begin to really look at how you spend your money and to find ways that you can save.

So my visit to the photographer has provided three pieces of wisdom that I have shared with you:

* Exceed your customers’ expectations and they will tell everyone about you.

* Look at what skills and resources you have in your business and find new ways to use them.

* Look at all the expenses in your business and see where there’s still fat that you can trim.

Do those three things and you’ll sail through this recession and come out with good habits that you can keep even after it has become a memory.

* Donna Every is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA who worked with Ernst & Young for ten years before starting her own Business Advisory practice. She has written four books including What Do You Have in Your House? Surviving in Times of Financial Crisis and the newly released novel The Merger Mogul.

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