Are You Focusing On The Right Things In Your Business?

With the recent mass power outage in Ottawa, there are a ton of stories being passed around, recounts of adventures, and despite all the negative things that have happened, there is still so much positivity in the air. I am so proud to be a part of a community that lives that way. And, of course, I’ve got my own story to tell–but it isn’t about ME, it’s about YOUR business.

I was lucky enough to be able to photograph all of my clients over the weekend with natural light, and that my studio was at an acceptable temperature throughout the day (thankfully no newborn sessions, just older babies and expecting mamas). I had all forms printed out beforehand, and batteries charged, so I was well prepared. See mom; my Murphy’s law mentality DOES come in handy! Had I not previously practiced with natural light instead of my strobes, I do not think the days would have gone so smoothly.

My husband on the other hand, was not so lucky with his work…He works at a grocery store, and when the power goes out, the clock starts on the lifespan of the food. With no generator, they were at the mercy of room temperature. Thankfully, head office sent a refrigerated truck so that they could rescue as much meat and cheese and dairy as possible. After a long day, he was sent home to rest, and the managers stayed to load the truck. This is where the difference in perspective of the lower level employees and managers really comes to light. He arrived the next morning to find only 2 out of 3 of the counters being loaded from his department: the deli meats and the deli cheeses, but NOT the specialty cheeses. He knew beforehand that the department was going to suffer a loss, but the fact that the most expensive and profitable counter was left out to rot made it a devastating loss. The manager’s perspective was to save the most as possible, which meant to focus on saving TWO counters instead of just one. The in-it-every-day perspective would have been to focus on saving the items that would result in a much larger financial loss if left out. These are both valid options, but one is of course better than the other. Do YOU know which is which in YOUR business?

Do you know which items or services in your business bring you the most income? Do you know which ones are loss-leaders? (you don’t profit from them, but they bring in the clients) Do you know which items you spend way more effort on then required, for very little reward? If you answer ‘No’ or ‘Not Really’ to any of those, then you know exactly what is next on your to-do list. Knowing these things allows for you to better plan your day-to-day business, but also know what to cut back on when things get busy and you need to focus on bringing in the money.

For me, it’s cutting back on the DIY stuff that saves me lots of money throughout the year, but also takes a lot of time to do. So I spend the big bucks on that new prop (if I even need it!), and better spend my time onboarding new clients, and fulfilling current client orders. And in the recent years, I removed several products from my print menu that took a LOT of time, without making me any profit–it was always about breaking even in order to provide these lovely items to my clients. Now some are still available, but at a price point that makes everyone happy–including myself! And there is nothing wrong with that!

Now back to YOU. What are the things that make you the most money, the most happy, and what could you cut out entirely or outsource if you needed to? Happy to help you work through it in the comments!

stephanie de montigny SdeM handrawn initials ottawa blogger