The situation on the COVID-19 and you
How to face the actual situation?
This virus is now spreading amongst the population and our health system although efficient, cannot cope with the anticipated surge of patients who have contracted the virus. There are high risks of mass contamination, therefore extending the restrictions asked by our leaders.
As of last week (March12) in Canada, many provincial premiers and federal officials have called for restrictions in travel, contact with other people, and even closures of nonessential businesses.
We all have watched the health officials in different countries telling us what to do, so no need for me to repeat here.
The only thing to remember is, we are all in this together and our combined efforts will help each one of us pull through.
As professional photographers, we do not practise an essential service. Therefore, we have to close down our businesses in compliance.
This action will have consequences for many. Some of us are fortunate to have a primary or secondary income to rely on; however, this is not the case for those whose only income comes from photography.
I feel it is our duty to ask everyone to take responsibility and respect the orders given by officials. In addition, we would like to give you a few ideas on how to get through this difficult period:
5 STEPS TO DO NOW!
- Close your places of business, now.
- Try to postpone all your appointments which were booked for the next 3 to 4 weeks at least.
- Do not interact, in person, with clients at this time. The use of video conferences may be an option to communicate with all your clients reassuring them into your precaution practices, your alternatives while insuring them of your availability to serve them when everything starts again as it will.
- By accompanying your clients in these steps, you wish to protect everyone. Showing empathy with anyone who has urgent needs. Your plan of action to alleviate their situation.
- Help your clients understand the situation where every member of your community has to do their part.
How to handle the lack of business and money?
Some government’s actions have already been announced; more to come. Stay well informed on a daily basis as not to miss programs which could be available to you. Particularly self-employed people. We are for most, self-employed and these measures do apply to us.
- PhotoCoach encourages you to apply for them as soon as they are made available.
- Again, engage in a conversation with each client to encourage them to postpone their appointments instead of cancelling them. This way you may be able to retain their deposits. Do not use these sums of money now; keep them aside in a separate account if possible.
- For those who lease their place of business, try to negotiate with your landlords to accept a delay in paying your rent (mortgage with the bank).
- Try to suspend all unnecessary services, like contract studio cleaning, garbage collection, during the shutdown to reduce your fixed expenses.
- Negotiate with your monthly subscription providers to postpone your subscription until all is back to normal. Some have already signified this possibility.
- If your studio is shutdown completely, lower thermostats, A/C etc.
- Contact your bank to negotiate a credit margin or an increase of your credit line. It’s in your bank’s own interest to do so. Governments may issue directives in this matter.
- Contact your insurance broker to see if you are eligible to business interruption insurance.
- Inquire about unemployment insurance.
What to do to take advantage of the shutdown period?
- Limit the amount of time spend watching the news, reading and watching everything online. Your mental health will be better for it.
- Take this time to evaluate your financial situation, use this time to make a budget for the remaining of the year, business plan, etc.
- Prepare your action plan (communication tools) for when the situation gets back to normal and it will in time.
- Catch up on any projects which may have been delayed for all sorts of reasons. Accounting, organization, workload, etc
- Catch up on all post-production, albums, etc.
- Clean up your computer.
- Do a full backup of all your files.
- Test new tools, softwares, to improve your workflow, time management.
- To become more efficient with your production time, check around for possible subcontractors who can offer post-production services at a reasonable price and good service. Contact them now and ask them if they would be willing to do some test images for you, complimentary, with the eventuality of you becoming a client if all goes well.
- It may be time to listen to those on-line programs you purchased and did not find time to listen to them.
- Then design your own plan of action to benefit from these new concepts.
- Look over your communications tools, sales techniques, your own branding.
- Work on your personal projects, website, social media pages.
- Search for creative ideas. The internet is a gold mine of information. We are sure you have mentors to got to.
- Check with your colleagues by Skype, Facetime etc.
- Create your own mastermind group to encourage each other in the difficult period.
If you have any more ideas you would like to share with members, share them on our Facebook page.
The Team at PhotoCoach cares in helping each photographer in business. We are a solid community and by sticking together, we will get through this.
It is the responsibility of each one of us to become the solution to this crisis.
Our thoughts go to all who may have contracted this virus and we wish them well.
Take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones.
And stay home!