There’s no crying in baseball, and there’s no complaining in video production. When you are fortunate enough to be working in a field you love and on the career path you chose when you were in high school, there is no complaining allowed. When you are lucky enough to be running the company you started at age 17 when you are age 42, again there is no complaining allowed.
But there is such a thing as discussing challenges, and I don’t take for granted how great it is to have the challenges we face today. One big challenge is how to stay motivated to continue the sales and marketing efforts when every member of your team is booked solid. When production is running at full capacity, how can we find time to cut a new demo reel, refresh the website and shoot pictures and video of the crew on a shoot.
In running a business there are so many levers to push forward and pull backward, the right configuration is never clear. When we have a full production schedule does that mean its time to cut the Google adwords campaign? Does a full schedule mean it’s time to hire? If we had more video editors would more work come in? The slow period may have been last summer but its not a distant memory.
It seems like just yesterday we were doubling our ad spend, firing up the emails and telephone prospecting, joining every chamber and association, hitting all the networking events and so on. Now it seems if we land another client we would need to schedule their job for sometime after I retire. Of course that woudn’t really be possible as I plan on working until I die.
Seriously, after thinking it through I have come to the conclusion that the marketing effort needs to be consistent, steady, and completely unrelated to how busy or slow we are. It may have taken me 25 years to figure this out, but the slow period was probably caused by a lack of prospecting and marketing activities during the busy period. A rush of work that pushes production beyond capacity was probably caused by the intense marketing push during the slow period.
A business owner who does the selling may be tempted to jump in to operations during the busy period. Or, during the busy periods it is easy to slack off on the selling for any number of reasons. I may be guilty of resting on my laurels. It’s easy to lose touch with customers through the illusion of a rush of work. Sometimes in a rush of work we were let the website content go stale, ironically during a period of endless cool stories, pictures and relevant happenings which we should be sharing. Maybe we were too busy shopping for new equipment we need for a job that is happening right now.
All of these things can lead to a situation where the prospecting and marketing machine simply runs out of gas. The reality is, that’s when it needs to be fired up and running on all cylinders, just as it was when we were slow. It’s a cycle, and the slow period will be shorter and less crippling if our prospecting and marketing efforts carried on uninterrupted through the rush of work. Stay the course, forge ahead, and find the time to return calls and connect with good clients and friends even when you couldn’t possibly take on one more project.
Sell when you are sold out. Like everything else in life, its a balancing act. Find the right balance between production capacity and prospecting efforts and then keep that secret formula hidden. After all, it could take up to 25 years to figure it out.