Wednesday, June 19, 2013
"You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step." - Martin Luther King Jr.
A business grows in steps. It takes patience. It takes planning. It takes faith that today's labor will yield tomorrow's fruit. John and Tammy Montgomery have been diligent to daily take the "next right step" since they opened their Home Video Studio a year ago - and its already paying off with rewarding projects, satisfied customers and increasing income. Meet Home Video Studio's June Studio Owners of the Month, John and Tammy Montgomery from Newark OH.
Like many HVS couples John and Tammy are a team, complementing each other with their respective strengths and abilities. John usually stays busy with the production, creative and technical issues and is the networking "face" of their business. Tammy keeps the business end afloat and, as administrative master, takes care of the books, pays the bills and, as she coyly admits, "keeps John from going down rabbit holes."
Another vital aspect of this dynamic duo is their tandem marketing. This is a necessary part of any Home Video Studio and rarely a day goes by that they aren't sowing seeds for future business. "Something that never ceases to amaze us is the positive energy that is created when we are active with our marketing," says John. "There isn't always a direct correlation between marketing and the business we are marketing for, but there does seem to be a correlation between being active in your marketing and having business come in."
John's successful modus operandi of taking the next best step began early in his life. John accepted an internship at a new local TV station while still in high school in Prescott AZ and, after a couple of months of running the teleprompter for the evening news, he was given an opportunity to work as a Master Control Operator. Upon graduating from high school he soon added production assistant to his duties. In 1985 (the same year he and Tammy married) he was promoted to Production Manager. Now John was a young man in all his audio-visual glory, spending two years as a one-man-band shooting, directing and editing numerous commercials and studio shows.
Tammy was born and raised in Arizona as well. She has always had a keen eye for visual arts as well, studying calligraphy and interior design after high school, as well as doing modeling work. Another area of keen interest for Tammy has been equestrian activities, an interest in which she was very involved, helping their daughter participate in Hunter Jumper events as well as Pony Club.
The Montgomerys changed course in 1987 when they heard duty call and John joined the Navy. Once again John followed his plan of stepping through the ranks - literally. He became a Damage Controlman and did his first at-sea tour aboard USS Okinawa (LPH-3). Then things moved quickly! "We were halfway into our deployment when Iraq invaded Kuwait," says John, "and ours was extended. We participated in both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and our deployment set a modern record for amphibious ships that was only surpassed last year." While on that tour he was accepted into the Enlisted Commissioning Program.
After John left the USS Okinawa he went to the University of Arizona, studying Political Science as a major and Russian as a minor. He also received his commission as an Ensign and soon was back to sea. He received his MBS at Naval Postgraduate School, with the highlight of his remaining military career as second in command on the USS Oak Hill.
As John prepared to retire from the Navy he knew he wanted to work for himself so he began to investigate various franchise opportunities. After considering some of them John heard the siren call of video again as he ran across the HVS franchise website in February of 2012. John and Tammy were intrigued by the prospect of a proven plan to make money in video. It also looked like a great husband and wife business. So once again, in systematic fashion, John and Tammy took the necessary steps to see if this would be a good fit. In March they attended an HVS webinar, in April they came to HVS headquarters for a Show-n-Tell and by late June they were installed and ready for business!
It's been a year now and these days you will find the shelves in their studio full of various types of video projects. "Photo keepsakes are always enjoyable," says Tammy, "because the clients are always thrilled to see new life breathed into their old photographs. Plus the keepsakes are usually done around a major milestone in someone's life." They are also currently in the middle of a DVD duplication project near and dear to their hearts for the Veterans Initiative Program involving a joint effort with the Vietnamese that is focused not only on recovering Americans, but also assisting the Vietnamese with locating their own troops who were buried by U.S. forces. Plus, they just wrapped up their first full production job, a four minute promotional video for Look Up Ministries. "That was satisfying because we could flex all of our skill sets and learn some new ones," says John.
What's their favorite Home Video studio profit center? "Honestly I'd have to say film transfer orders." John reflects. "There's something extra special about film. Often times it hasn't been seen in several years or even decades. It's rewarding seeing people reconnect with their old memories."
Besides learning plenty about modern video production the Montgomerys have learned even more valuable lessons about business. "This past year, has been a huge learning experience for us," muses John. "Neither of us had any business experience, and just about every pre-conceived notion about how to run a business has been challenged."
If they have seen anything it's that "Customers are everywhere" and a maxim they have learned early and apply often is "treat your customers well." John and Tammy have also seen the significance of a persistent market presence and follow-up: "Just this afternoon I followed up on a prospect who was going to come in and then got distracted by life. He thanked me for the call and said that he would bring his large order of video tapes in on Monday. Then a lady who came to our open house last November came in to take advantage of our Memorial Day sale e-blast special. All of this happened in an hour."
No stranger to setting and reaching goals the Montgomerys have set their sights, this year, on really becoming established in the community and being looked upon as the expert in "Video Services for Everyone." They know what it takes to reach their lofty financial goals as well. And we have a feeling, if the past is any indicator, that they will reach them as they always have - one right step at a time.