Friday, 22 January 2010

Tough times and productivity

It's an interesting time for everyone right now. Of course, you don't need me to hark on about how the economy is on its knees and how companies are struggling to survive, their owners wondering how they are going to pay the bills just so that they have a base to work from.

Stress and concern is around every corner, and we all handle this in different ways. My take on the situation is not quite so head-in-the-sand as some people's. Yes, I've felt the effects and yes, I am looking forward to a return to normality (whatever that may be). But at times like these, I tend to get somewhat philosophical and just push on regardless. Sounds like an obvious approach, right?

Time, that ever-precious commodity, takes centre stage - and I'm not one to sit and twiddle my thumbs as the hours pass by. In recent weeks, I have been preparing for what lies ahead and taking care of tasks which might otherwise find themselves pushed further down the order - to the point that it could be weeks before they get done. Such activities are not reserved for moments of quiet, though; for me, January is always a month of gathering thoughts and looking ahead.

Take yesterday, for example. Following an early start and a networking meeting, I scheduled a get-together with a photographer friend, to get some objective, constructive criticism about my website. As regular readers will know, I am not at all happy with the current site. In consideration of its revamp, I was (and still am) completely open to suggestion and feedback.

We discussed where my company is heading, where I want it to be in 6 months' time, and what I need to do to get it there. We considered all manner of issues from website styles to functionality, cost-effectiveness and client appeal. It was a very frank and worthwhile meeting.

The result of those two hours? I now have the design process of my 2010 Commercial/Editorial website under way and, more importantly, I have a 3-phase marketing plan set out in the Moleskine which will take me right up to March. At that point, I will be following a separate, but mostly similar, plan of attack for the Wedding side of my business.

Out of the apparent gloom of this rainy January morning, I am genuinely excited.

All too often, we get too close to our businesses, our projects, our day-to-day running of things. We fail to see the glaringly obvious flaws when it comes to the way we operate and the ways in which we might make improvements. It is not unusual for people to get on the defensive when offers of support and advice come their way, but I have no issue with asking for opinion; it is only in so doing that we develop as professionals, as artists and as individuals.

No comments: