Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Surviving in a Recession

Before I start, this isn't a bit about saving money, recycling old furniture and finding bargains. If that's what you're after you're better off looking at Martin Lewis... This is more about being self employed at a time when people have less disposable income.

My business, like many others, falls into the category of "non-essential" or maybe even "luxury". It's not something people absolutely must have (like food) and it's not something people need in an emergency (like a plumber for a leaking dishwasher). Photos are very much a "nice to have" item. It's nice to have fun family photos to display at home. It's nice to have some sexy boudoir photos to give your other half as a gift. But these things are not necessities.

In a recession, people have less disposable income to spend on niceties. And the media's over hyped, sensationalist reporting of the situation makes people think they have even less than they actually do! The first things to be sacrificed are the luxuries. Fewer people will come to have their photo taken and the ones that do will spend less on prints and canvasses. So how do we deal with this?

For me, it's about making the most of what I have and trying to maximise what's available. I try to make myself as visible as possible so as many people as possible know about me. My website ranks well in Google. I have a virtual tour on Google and on my website, I'm on Facebook and Twitter, I have a visible shop front, I have leaflets and I network. I've also extended the range of products and services I offer to maximise my audience.

But what's more important is that I work hard to build and maintain my reputation and high level of customer service. Happy customers will come back. But what's more, they will recommend you to their friends which is worth more than any expensive advert I could put in the newspaper!

My business started in a recession so I haven't had to deal with a fall in revenue. In fact, year on year, my business has grown, which gives me a lot of confidence. So if I can ride out this recession and continue with the trend I've started, when the newspapers finally tell people it's OK to start spending again I can only grow even more!