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COMMENT What does your perfect business look like? by Den Lennie I t’s always a good idea to try and visualise what your ideal business looks like. Given you are about to (or are already) be spending a large proportion of your waking hours for the next 5-10 years working on or thinking about your business then you may as well make sure you know where you are going with it. Now everyone is different but I fi nd that writing down goals and aspirations helps me to rmaintain focus on the fi nal destination. Step 1- Pick a niche One of the most common mistakes I see fi lmmakers make is they try too hard to be a ‘jack of all trades’ they’ll advertise themselves as corporate video production, event fi lmmakers, PR fi lms, commercials, weddings in some cases and a whole host of other services... (web design, video duplication ... and so on) Stop! Generalisation is a big mistake, actually, make that a huge mistake. When you dilute your product or service offering, you commoditise yourself and are opening yourself up to price based buyers. (more on pricing in a later chapter) You do not want to compete on price. (it’s a dirty race to the bottom) It’s far better to specialise and become the number one choice for your customers in that fi eld. This can be very counterintuitive and will feel uncomfortable for some of you. But remember if this was easy, then everyone would be doing it. You want to be working towards becoming a specialist. When you are a specialist and more importantly the very best in your fi eld, pricing becomes elastic. If you had a busted leg, you’d want a specialist orthopaedic surgeon working on you right? not a GP. Think about that for a moment. Now I’m not saying you need to be the very best in your country, just perceived as the best to your chosen customer niche or in your local area or say within a 100 mile radius of where you live and work. When clients are looking for a video production company, its highly likely that they are not looking for anything other than someone to come and deliver a result. They certainly 46 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 96 DECEMBER 2014 don’t care what camera you are using and most likely haven’t got a clue about sliders, colour grading or any of the other paraphernalia that surrounds video technology. It’s all about them feeling comfortable that you are going to be trustworthy enough and skilled enough to deliver the result they want. They are not looking for you to win your next award off the back of their video production. For the most part the majority of corporate clients are conservative and want a safe good looking video that looks as if it could be shown on TV and no one would know the difference. Step 2 - How to choose your niche Start by thinking about what you love to shoot, what are your favourite types of client projects? What is it you would do every day if you could? Once you have fi gured that out you need to ignore everything else and just focus on building a business around that specialism. In my corporate production work I specialise in making launch fi lms for the fi lm and TV manufacturing industry. I love making them, we are very very good at it, nobody can make them as fast as we can and as a result of having no competition we can charge a premium rate for the work. We make good margin on every project which means we don’t have to take very many. That in turn means my clients get very personal attention from us and they keep coming back for more. It’s a win-win situation. They are happy to pay our prices because we over deliver and they get the results they desire and much more. The bottom line, is they get a great deal of value from what we offer to them. My motto in our production business is ‘Telling stories That Sell’. We give our clients so much more than a video, they get a consultative relationship that extends way beyond just delivering a fi lm. We make ourselves invaluable to our clients and we make their life easier and so they keep coming back, because it’s easy. By the end of this book, you will have a deep understanding of how attract clients that come back again and again because you make it easy for them to do business with you. So think about what your ideal business looks like. Once you identify that you can begin working on the mechanics that surround it.