This business, a photographic studio, had operated successfully for more than 27 years. However, the introduction of phones with cameras had really put a dent in the business.
At Omania Terry Efficiency Experts we often see businesses that have not moved with the times and the technology or have not stayed up-to-date in the way they do business. They are still operating with old, inefficient systems and using outdated processes.
When the team at Omania Terry met with this photographic studio client she was frazzled. The finances were out of control; she was struggling to get clients to pay invoices; the studio was a mess and she had trouble finding and keeping staff. The upshot – she was behind in completing orders and really struggling to keep the doors open.
Worse still, this was overflowing into her personal life – with a family and husband and house to keep, it was affecting her health.
All this chaos meant she didn’t know where or how to start, or what to do.
Omania Terry to the rescue
Omania and the team reviewed the business and identified a host of problems that needed addressing.
Finance: Upon review the team found that the book keeper was coding things incorrectly which was not reflecting the true financial position of the business. Her tax bill was out of control and needed reviewing. She had too many credit cards and bank accounts – result, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Aged debtors needed serious attention, and someone needed to get on the phone and start calling these debts in!
She needed to find a new accountant who would work for her and have a book keeper who was looking after the accounts properly.
Brand refresh: Her brand had served her well in the past. However, it was tired and unfortunately quite tarnished. It was time to refresh and revamp the business and make it relevant for today, not yesterday.
Clients: Omania and the team reviewed all clients and worked out which were making money, and which were costing the business. The solution was to ditch family portraits that cost time and money as clients didn’t re-order. They also found she also wasn’t charging enough for these. While weddings take a lot of time and effort, by being choosy and pricing accordingly they could provide a lucrative return. However, the real money for her was in corporate photography. She had a lot of long-term, regular corporate clients – and strong relationships with them.
Costs and pricing: In addition to reviewing her clients the Omania Terry team reviewed her costs and placed an hourly rate on her time.
De-clutter the studio: The storeroom looked like a tornado had been through it. There were jobs all around the studio, paper and cardboard was strewn everywhere, receipts and post it notes all were over the place and notebooks with scribbles that made no sense scattered around. The seats in the office had disappeared under the clutter of folders, client work and paper.
IT systems: All files were saved on hard drives stored under the desk. They kept crashing her system and was slow.
What we did in the beginning
The Omania Terry team made two immediate and major improvements.
- Decluttered the office: sorted items into groups of: throw out – recycle – shred securely – send to client – file – client to sort. Also, they cleaned up and organised the storeroom repacking and labelling shelves and boxes. They archived old jobs marking boxes so they could easily be retrieved. Now locating old jobs for repeat business was much easier.
- Debtor control – the studio hired a part-time temp to work on the aged debtors and call in overdue accounts.
What happened 12 months later
Not all clients immediately see the benefit of, or implement all of our recommendations when we first start working with them. However, 12 months later we caught up with this client and found:
- she had a book keeper managing her accounts and keeping everything up to date including paying tax and invoices;
- the new accountant had managed to secure a $25,000 tax refund for her;
- she had corporate clients paying upfront before she did the job;
- weddings she had booked in were well paying and she was only doing family portraits for trusted clients who had worked with her for years;
- she was ready for the brand refresh we had recommended. Previously she was too afraid to let go of the brand she had worked so hard to build.
- Though her health is still an issue, she was ready to do what needed to be done to get that on track and keep it on track.
Not everyone is ready to do what needs to be done when we think they are. But they will in time … when they are ready. We are really proud of what she has done, and look forward to following her progress in the future.