View Full Version : Your Competitor(s)
10th of January 2005 (Mon), 22:12
I am not in the photography business, but I do have a business that occupies me full time. I make it a point to know my competitors and actually invest a lot of time in researching them, studying them, and figuring out what they do better than and me and what they don't do better than me. I then plan strategically each year on how to take away market share from my competitors based on what I find out from my competitor profiling activities. In my line of business (importer of finished granite products), the only way you can grow is by doing this, since it is a fairly mature market.
10th of January 2005 (Mon), 22:27
Personally I feel everyone who owns a camera is my competitor or instructor. I'm not insecure it just makes me better in what I enjoy doing. That is the first thing that comes to mind when I'm out. :)
I do know some of them & we do get along. I still attend classes and fellow students has the same ideas. It's better to work together & capture the market than fight & lose it all.
Overall I feel that most competitors can be & is one of my partners. The reason for this is that they know the business, market & how to shoot. When they or myself have a job to big you can always call on one of them to help get the job done. Everyone does not have the same interest or like to shoot the same subjects as each other so there is room for being friends.
A long time Pro here told me I won't get every job I go for or is called about. Build a style and reputation for doing good quality work @ market value, your customer base will grow.
I don't hold any grudges life is too short for that, I do proceed with care when I know I've been robbed & stabbed in the back.
Las Vegas Has a big market and room to share. The ones who short change themselves to beat another photographer out of a job usally don't last long.
11th of January 2005 (Tue), 04:00
I have a story about one of my competitors, maybe not interesting but I found it starnge. I believe that competition is healthy, I also believe thatcompetitors can help each other. I had 3 enquiries in 1 week for dates that I was booked, in my region there was one other photographer that I felt had the same style, same prices same products as me, so when the client asked for a recommendation I gave this persons name. The client then came back and said thanks very much and that she had booked this person. fter recommending a few, I then sent this perdon a mail basically telling her what I had done and that I likled her style blah blah blah and hey how about we strike up a "on recommendation basis" relationship, you scratch my back , I'll scratch yours if we are both booked. I said we could meet up exchange portfolios, discuss how we work and get to know each other. The response, a short sharp "no thanks". Thats what I got, all got "no thanks".
So now if customers ask for recommendations, I say I dont have any. Is it me? Who loses there then. My view is some people are so far up there own backsides and ruthless that they can't, won't work with anyone else. Competition is good but there is a limit.
11th of January 2005 (Tue), 06:52
dpp good story and I can relate to that. I learned a long time ago that if I am worrying about what my competition is doing then I am neglecting my own business.
I believe I might have sent that girl an email back and said that the next time somebody asked for a recommendation of someone, she would be the last one I would think of. I would also ask her how she thinks she got the jobs I sent to her, pointing out that without my recommendation there is little doubt that she would have even been called.
She should have been jumping at the chance to have lunch with you and exchange info.
If you do have a competitor and a client asks about them, acknowledge them but, don't start bashing them. Steer the client back to why you are the right one for the job. Not why they are the wrong one. I did get a job once simply because I didn't bash the competition when asked about them. I just said I knew of them and explained about my services and avoided saying anything bad about them. I guess when the client asked them the same question she could hardly get off the phone with them because they were making me sound like a fly by night rip off artist. One thing that they told her was we were new to the area and had changed the business name at least 2 times in 2 years. When confronted with this info, I laughed and gave her a number where she could call the BBB and inquire as to when we went into business. At that point she said she didn't really believe them and if I was willing to have her call the BBB then I should be the one to be believed. I could have told her all kinds of stuff I had heard about the other company but then she would be at a point where she didn't know who to believe, as it was I reinforced to her about why I was the one she should contract with with positive information.
In short, you will always have competition, no matter what business your in. The more you worry about what they are doing is less time you spend looking at what your doing.
11th of January 2005 (Tue), 07:57
The response, a short sharp "no thanks". Thats what I got, all got "no thanks".
Not meant to insult, but meant to make you think... Perhaps she thought your work wasn't up to the level of quality that she could recommend.
Personally, my reputation - nothing to do with photography, but in the computer field - is worth far more to me than some work for someone I don't know. Or even that I do know, actually, given that I once told someone not to hire my brother because he wasn't good enough. Cold? Perhaps, but my brother was sub-par, and I wouldn't hire him, so how could I recommend that someone else hire him? My reputation is worth too much, and the people who know me know this.
Remember that your recommendation has an influence on your reputation, and this is not something that I'd play with lightly.
11th of January 2005 (Tue), 08:28
Depends on whether you are talking about day job or photography.
For day job (SETA* support to USAF), I know my competition well. Great folks for the most part constantly trying to hire me away from my company. My company would also like to have some of them, but we don't try as hard being a not-for-profit company. But when it comes to getting contracts, very nasty competitions for the most part and never ever ask who much they make.
For the photography, I know some of my competition and some I get along with and some hate the fact that other photographers exist at all. About once every 6 months or so I do a search on OMP* for Virginia photographers (or a zip code/radius search). There are some who I think do a far better job then me and the majority are no copetition as far as I am concerned. The last time I did the search I felt there were 5 photographers on OMP in Virginia who both did similiar work to me and were at my level or better. There is even one in my same town who I would love to work with if I did not have my day job as I love his and his wives work (he does the pictures, she does costumes/makeup). The next nearest photographer I admire from that site is a 90 minute drive away and then 3 hours for the next few (DC area).
There are times when I see their work that I think my stuff stinks, but then I just look at the other 50+ photographers and realize I am not doing that bad. Most of the ones I admire have been professional photographers for more then 12 years. For me it has been a low level hobby until about 4-5 years ago.
I have always believed competition is good as it makes me aspire to a higher standard. If I did not at least feel I was in the top 10% I would probably never even consider photography as a job (versus a hobby).
My most interesting experience with other photographers in the local area was the sunset story. Four of us showed up for one very spectacular sunset at a local beach. Two were willing to talk, the other one obviously didn't want to talk to two of us, but was willing to talk with the pretty female student photographer. I believe it was because he felt she wasn't competition, just a potential date. At least that was the impression I got. I also got the feeling she felt the same way as she cut of conversation with him quickly, but stood talking with the other two of us for awhile.
*SETA =Scientific and Engineering Technical Assistance (or so I have been led to believe)
*OMP = www.onemodelplace.com (great site for models and good site for photographers as well - you need at least 5 good pictures if you are a model and a whole lot of great pictures and pay the fee if you are a photographer if you want business off that site)
11th of January 2005 (Tue), 21:02
This couple was already married, and they weren't even smart enough to remove their wedding bands.
Thats funny :) Thats like robbing a bank & leaving your ID
12th of January 2005 (Wed), 06:51
Scottes, maybe so, then that just makes her damn rude and gutless, if people dont like my stuff I'd rather they tell me
12th of January 2005 (Wed), 18:06
This is SUCH a funny topic. Photographers in my area seem to be ridiculously paranoid. I know of people who talk crap about me even though they don't know me. They've never met me. There have been a couple of interesting fabrications going around about me. The funniest one was that I was supposedly running a hidden (secret) pay porn site. This one cracked me up. I would never run a porn site (or shoot porn) and most folks in my area know that. But if I did, I would be smart enough to make it publicly accessible so as to actually generate money. I heard this rumor 3-4 times and finally figured out where it came from. Each time I was asked about the rumor, I asked the person who told me about it how much sense it made. I guess this person had to say it was a SECRET site because there was nothing to show anyone. You can figure out what they thought of the idiot who made this up.
I was planning to have lunch with a buddy (buddy A) one day when another buddy (buddy B) of mine called me and invited me to lunch. I called the buddy A and asked if this fellow (buddy B) could join us. He agreed and said that a buddy (buddy C) of HIS had called and asked to join us. So, we clarified the plan with everyone just to make sure no one would be surprised. Buddy C immediately expressed concern that buddy B was going to be there since they were "competitors". Buddy C said that he would absolutely not discuss business. We all agreed that was fine. When we me, buddy C called and said that he had reconsidered and would not join us as long as buddy B was there. Can you believe this? They had NEVER even met and buddy B was actually a complete neophyte to the business (should have been no threat to an established guy--especially if they didn't talk shop).
This story isn't unique. Apparently there are LOTS of people who feel this way in our area. They won't converse with, dine with, etc. anyone else in the business for fear their business will be stolen. I share my work publicly and I discuss ideas, how I did stuff, etc. Some people can't believe it and think I should keep quiet lest someone steal my ideas. How silly. As if I am doing something that I should protect like a state secret. What a kick!!
12th of January 2005 (Wed), 18:10
Oh and I have just about completely stopped referrals. They almost never paid off (not even a thank you). They were never returned. And in a couple of cases, it cost me in reputation and my clients were not well treated.
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