Archive for the ‘Entreprenuership’ Category
Friday, May 17th, 2013
It’s the end of the workweek here at The Reid Effect Production Studios. Like you, I’ve spent my days trying to accomplish as much as I possibly can, trying to make my work excellent and effective. It’s been a good week, but I’m tired.
If you’re a small business owner, your week has not only been about producing an excellent product or service. You’ve likely spent as much or more time agonizing over a way – THE way – ANY way – to get the word out about what you do. Me too, and it’s been tiring. Since I work closely with several businesses consulting with them on Marketing strategy, my brain occasionally nears overload as I also try to translate someone elses WHY into an effective WAY to reach the public.
The hard part for us small business owners is that there are so many options when it comes to marketing our business, and the options are growing every day. It’s a blessing and a curse that we all understand. New technology or social media allow us to work faster and more efficiently, but finding the right fit can take time we don’t have. Most of us can’t afford a marketing director to lead the way, so we attend conferences, read books and listen to podcasts to learn their job too. And one day soon we’ll carve out some quality time to implement all the new knowledge we’ve accumulated. Right?
Here’s where this particular blog entry may take a turn for the worse, because unfortunately I don’t have a solution to this problem. The truth is that it’s hard work. And it’s going to stay hard work. The challenges of a struggling economy, difficult employees, too much competition, and how to spread your message will visit you again next week – same time, same station.
So here’s what you do. You finish up for the week and head on home. Take some time out to appreciate the beauty of life and demand from yourself a few moments that aren’t consumed with the complexities that are your job! Maybe spend a few minutes remembering the passion and calling that brought you to where you are today and remember that there really are some very good reasons you love what you do!
Monday morning will roll around again soon enough. And you won’t be like the vast majority of the population, trudging their way through heavy traffic on their way to a job they hate. You, my friend will be trudging your way through heavy traffic on your way to a job you L.O.V.E. Because this is not a job, it’s a calling. It’s what you were made for and you are great at it!
So tackle those challenges as they come. You’ll take them on and come out the other side victorious like you have with everything else. Refresh yourself this weekend and then get back to your regular, awesome programing.
Fade to Black.
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
When I first began in production, I was shooting wedding videos. At the time, that was all I did – weddings. That was a niche. After about a year and a half of doing wedding videos, I began to figure out how to mass-produce these baby’s with minimal effort.Â The result was a template. Otherwise known as the kiss of death.
Too many in my profession, and I would guess in many professions make the mistake of confusing the template with the niche. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially when we’re all so focused on the bottom line, and how to maximize profits. The temptation comes just as we begin to master our particular niche. We know more than anyone out there about our client and the product we’re creating, what works and what does not. It’s what sets us apart from the other guy out there who’s trying to be everything to everyone. We’re smarter than that. We know our clients like attention to detail, and thats where we shine.
And the work begins to pile up. Word is getting out that someone has mastered the perfect baby-shower cake, or designs the best real-estate websites, or makes the best wedding videos. Life is good, and very, very busy. This is where I entered the danger zone. Instead of approaching each wedding individually and creatively as a master of that niche, I began to combine elements I liked from different productions, arriving at the perfectly designed wedding video.
Here is the scary part, especially for us creative types out there. At first, the template works great! All the great design work you’ve done is paying off. Your customers rarely overlap, so they have no idea that the product going out the door is a widget you’re cranking out on an assembly line out back.
Ok, that may be exaggerating, but here’s the point.
What suffers first is not your product or service, but your creative intuition. It breeds laziness in the one area we cannot afford to be lazy. As a small business owner and/or creative talent, there has to be a steady whirlwind of creative thought going on. The template simply kills that process because no more creative input is needed.
And inevitably, that creative laziness will show up. Maybe not at first, but eventually the greatest baby-shower cake becomes cliche; or the technology changes, rendering your amazing real-estate websites obsolete without the newest app integration. And where oh where are the creative juices that used to flow so freely?
I no longer do weddings, but the danger is still prevalent in the work I do today. From TV show Pilots to Documentaries, all the way down to the basic corporate client I work for, I’ve learned to employ one basic rule of thumb to each project.
Before I begin developing any new content for a client, I devote some time to these questions:
what can I do on this project that I haven’t done before?
What is at least one thing I can do that would really make this project shine?
And finally, What have I done before that I need to let go of for this project?
Taking the time to ask these questions can keep a fresh approach to each project, each cake, each website, even if your work is within a specific niche. And most importantly, it will keep you growing and improving creatively.
What niche market do you provide to that has the potential of becoming template?
Are there any tricks you have learned to avoid this trap?
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
Right now I’m on my way to Nashville from Phoenix to help a producer with a very simple shoot. I’m flying to Colorado in two weeks to do the same thing again. And in both places, there are probably a hundred different production company’s that are perfectly suited to do the job.
So why is my client paying the extra dollars to fly me to these locations? It’s a good question with a simple answer; one that should serve as an important reminder to me of the power of customer service. In a nutshell, he trusts me. I’ve obviously done previous work for this client, and he knows he can count on all the basics that seem so simple, but are missing in the day to day practice of entrepreneurs throughout the country.
In any business, there are some basic rules you’ve got to follow if you want to build that trust with your clients. Here are just a few:
1. Be on time.
So simple, right? It really should be just common sense, but you’d be surprised how many small business owners have carried lazy habits into their interaction with customers. Your clients may be working on a tight schedule and the last thing you want to do as a valued part of their team is to show up late.
2. Dress nicely.
I’m in an industry that abuses this one to the max. For many in the video production industry, our training began in school or shooting live productions where the dress code is always black. And since we’re a bunch of techi’s with no interest in fashion, it soon becomes a smelly, wrinkled, severely faded black. Your client deserves better. And dressing nicely may well be the thing that sets you apart from your competition, strange as that may sound!
3. Behave professionally.
It may be that once again this apply’s mainly to my industry, but I go on way too many shoots where the crew is nearly unmanageable because of all the joking going on. If it’s my crew on a job, I expect a very high level of professionalism. That doesn’t mean that a sense of humor or well placed joke can’t serve a purpose, especially when we often have on-camera talent that is nervous and tense, but I want my client to know we take every production seriously.
4. Know your craft.
As a small business owner, it can be tempting to take on any project that pays – and learn on the fly. This can be the kiss of death to your reputation and should be avoided at all costs. In my industry, we videographers have a strange need to do everything ourselves. What we end up with are very few masters of anything. One of the biggest factors in the growth of my company was when I let go of this need and began instead to focus on delivering the best quality in every area of production, even if that meant bringing in a pro in a specific area. My clients don’t care how it happens, as long as they end up with a product they can be proud of.
It seems obvious and simple, and it is, so make sure you’re doing these things! I know the truth. I know I’m not better than all the videographers in Nashville. But why should my client take the risk of hiring someone who might be unaware of the obvious when they can pay a few extra bucks and count on professionalism every time? And there are a dozen more simple details that could be on this list. Just remember, it’s often the small things that can make the difference between growth and recession.
What are some of the small things you do to build that trust with your clients?
Friday, December 9th, 2011
We just finished putting together an updated client list from this year to go out with new quotes. We want people to see not only the number of clients we’re working with, but also the range and variety. It’s not exactly a rock-solid litmus test as to the vitality and raw talent of a company, but it does give a nice little, ‘20 words or less’ profile of a company. As an example, here are the first ten on our list:
American Design, Ltd.
Laser Spine Institute
Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation
Insight Global, Inc.
Financial Design Group
Calvary Christian Center
What does that list tell you? For us, it’s confirmation that we’re not allowing ourselves to be relegated to a particular niche in the industry. We never want to be just the ‘commercial go-to guys’, or the ‘documentary production company’, or the ‘really-great-at-graphics guys’. Does our creative, innovative team make us a great fit for low budget doc’s? Yeah, for sure. But our ability to work with people also makes us a great fit when your small business is wanting to capture some real-life testimonials from customers.
As long as we keep working with such a broad spectrum of clients, we know it will keep us moving forward. We hate the word template! Templates get as boring to make as they get to watch.
Variety of customers means variety of content and creative out-flow, and that suites us just fine!
Are you ready for 2012?
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Ever been body surfing?Â You know that feeling when you’re on the crest of the wave and it’s just about to go plunging down, vaulting you forward while you struggle to keep balanced and in control?Â Then you know how things feel here at The Reid Effect.Â It’s not just lots of spinning plates, or overloaded workloads.Â It’s that feeling that you’ve reached theÂ corner and you’re going into the turn – and it’s not just more of the same when you round the bend. It’s an entirely new road.
Don’t get me wrong -we LOVE what we do here. We’re passionate about each project because this is what we love to do.Â I think that is in fact what is bringing about these changes.Â For years now we’ve worked hard to approach each production with this mindset;Â What can we do that we haven’t done before?Â What can we improve on, where can we learn, and how can we make this client absolutely certain they got MORE out of this project than they anticipated?Â Â Â I firmly believe that this mindset, along with the awesome talent of our team, is what has brought us better and better jobs, better clients, and opportunities we weren’t even dreaming about several years ago.
Not to say that it’s a foregone conclusion.Â Climbing the wave is the easy part.Â Not getting crushed as you ride it down is the part that requires hard work, careful attention, and perfect execution using all the skills you’ve developed up until this time.Â Â Â With pilots for two TV shows being finished up, potential work with company’s like Xbox and some large, local clients, we’re more aware now than ever of the need to excel in everything we do.Â So what can you look for when it comes to The Reid Effect in the future?Â I’m not sure of the details yet, but whatever it is,Â we know it will be infused with the attitude of someone who is passionate and committed to their talent and trade.Â As always, stay tuned and check back often.Â Â Â If you’ve not already, join us on Facebook to keep up to date with the daily details of what’s going on!
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
As we head quickly towards tax time, The Reid Effect has, like everyone else, taken a look back at the past year to see where this recession left us standing.Â On the radio and TV, all we hear is layoffs and cutbacks.Â I admit to even hearing about budget cuts from a number of my clients.Â All signs were pointing to bad business – all signs that is except for all the new, good business we were doing at The Reid Effect.Â We saw a growth of nearly 50 percent!Â How is it that we avoided participating in this recession?Â I think like most – we just kept on working hard, putting out quality video productions and treating our clients like we would want to be treated.Â We focused on what we could do, and didn’t spend a lot of time on what we couldn’t.Â Â PeopleÂ and businesses don’t tend to plan way ahead for the kind of projects that we produce, so we still get nervous wondering what’s around the corner for us, but for now we’ll continue to do what works – working hard to stay relevent and at the top of our game in the field we’re in.Â By the end of 2010 we may not even have the time to turn on the radio or the TV – who knows what we could accomplish then!