No. We’ve had to learn and grow every step of the way, and will, most likely, continue that way.
We were looking, but it was such a perfect fit that it felt like it found us.
Peter wanted to be his own boss. It was his idea to start a business and we wanted to do something that we would enjoy. When we found HVS we knew it was a great business but the decision was difficult because it’s still a risk.
It took a lot of prayers, sweat, tears and evaluation before we decided to go for it.
We are open 43 hours a week.
It was a bit slow at first, but it was great to learn and not be overwhelmed. I think it was a good pace – when we became familiar and comfortable we really started to build the business and make it grow.
I’ve learned so much from so many people. When we started I made it a point to learn from everyone we could. Listening to what others found successful (and unsuccessful) gave us a reference point from which we could plot a path. I’d say that other business owners, and especially HVS owners, have contributed the most to our success.
It’s no secret. Have the right mindset, set goals, choose what motivates us, execute the plan, review and evaluate, then do it all over again. Also, we have systems in place and we manage the system. Plus, we strive to be professional at every turn. We are organized and have a clean studio so customers have confidence in us and trust us with their most valuable possessions. Finally, we adopt a “givers gain” mentality – and we say we don’t have any competitors –only collaborators.
Oh, my gosh, yes! We have a great rivalry with other owners, all in good fun, of course, but it really helps keep us motivated, focused and pressing on toward goals.
Expectations are primary and when we don’t do as well as we projected we start to analyze why and what we can do to make next week better. However, I’d also say that customer service and treating people well on the phone in our studio has a lot to do with earning their trust and therefore their business. We really try to bond with our customers and let them know that we care about this work. We often say, we’re not selling pencils! What we do is important to our customers so it’s important to us.
The big six! I’m serious!!
[Note: The “big six” refers to the six major profit centers of HVS – Tape transfer, home movie transfer, editing, PhotoVideo Keepsakes, production, and duplication]
No, it’s doing all the things we’re supposed to do. Not all at once, mind you. But over time doing all the things we should. Of course, having done this for more than 6 years, we also have referrals and repeat customers. We absolutely need referrals and repeat customers!
We are always trying to grow - but that means we have to make bigger changes. We have not yet reached our capacity!
We did not receive the Rookie of the Year Award. This was a significant goal for us. We failed. But by having that goal we started off strong and never quit.
We didn’t win a Hanley for Rookie Video – we learned that the Hanley judges are not always right. [Note: this was said with a wink]
We don’t get many of the video production jobs we bid. We’ve learned that usually we can make more money in our studio and we trust we’ll get the jobs we are supposed to get.
It’s so easy to put your money in the “wrong” advertising stream. Sometimes it’s “try it and if it fails, chalk it up to experience but don’t do it again”.
Taking everyone’s advice. When we started I wanted to learn everything and I went into information overload and actually became so overwhelmed I was depressed. It took recognizing the cause and then letting things go to rebalance.
Making “deals” with customers! This was hard particularly in the beginning when we wanted work. We would make a great deal for the customer but not for us. Then we would be unhappy while doing the job. We learned that we need to make win/win “deals” that both the customer and we feel good about. If we feel like we are “losing money” we can’t do our best.
Keeping promises to ourselves – We keep promises to everyone else but don’t keep the promises we make to ourselves. If we say that we are going to take a break – but then get busy and don’t take that break, it’s bad. We need to honor ourselves as much as we honor others
I think anyone can do what we’ve done, if they have the right attitude and plan. It’s simple! Run this business like a business and take it seriously. Smile and treat others with kindness.