To Your Success in 2012

The start of a new year is a time of renewal. It’s a time of reflection and a time of goals. Running a business is all about creating an environment where everything is pointed toward long-term success.

Since completing my MBA and fumbling through my first business, one of my personal hobbies has become “the study of success.” What makes certain people and businesses successful? Why are some businesses that do, basically, the same thing more successful than others. Why is Starbucks more successful than Tully’s? Why is Target more successful than Kmart? What is photographer A more successful than photographer B? There are so many factors that go into success, it becomes a fascinating study.

Here are 7 things you can do right now to increase your success in 2012.

#1 Begin With The End In Mind

In his landmark book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People,” Stephen Covey notes that successful people and businesses begin with the end in mind. They don’t just say, “I want to book more weddings this year.” They say, at the end of the year ,I’d like to gross at least $XXX,XXX and have XX% of that come from weddings, XX% from after wedding sales, XX% from portraits,” etc. How much do you want to gross? Where do you want that income to come from? Do you want to hire anyone new? How much vacation do you want?

Already know what you want to accomplish at the end of the year? How about in 10 years? What will your business look like? Dream a little.

What do you want the end of 2012 to look like? In most cases, if you paint a clear picture, it will come true.

#2 Learn From The Past, Plan for the Future

Look back on your year. Look at all of your different revenue streams. Which was the most profitable? Which was the least profitable? Do you need to stop doing certain types of photography or selling certain goods and concentrate more on the more profitable ones? Take all the information and data (yes, you should have those evil spreadsheets around) and use them to plan for the future.

#3 Re-evaluate “Why?”

Why are you in business? What is your purpose in the market? Why are you a professional photographer and not a marketing director for Nike who happens to be an amateur photographer? If you need some inspiration on this one, watch this video.

#4 Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing.

This tip comes from the head of, Bob Parsons (more tips here). Keep an eye on your competition about 1% of the time, just to make sure you aren’t missing anything new. But 99% of the time, concentrate on your own business, your own craft, your own style. To quote¬†Masaru Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY: “You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others.” The new economy is all about carving out your own niche or being unique in the marketplace. Look at Target and Walmart, fundamentally, they sell the same things, but they are both very unique in both the types of items they stock and the kind of marketing they employ. You’ve got your own ship, you are your own captain, go someplace new!

#5 Synergize

No one person or one business creates success on their own. The truly successful person creates synergies with other businesses and people. They create win-wins. Reach out to other vendors in your market and work to promote them to your peeps. And when they do the same, your market share will increase much larger than it would if you tried to work on your own.

#6 Give Before You Ask

Never ask for referrals before you give them. Want that expensive dress shop in town, you know the one that caters to the brides with MONEY, to refer you? Ask yourself what you can do for that shop. Can you provide them some free prints for their showroom? Can you do a blog post review on them on your blog? Can you do a video interview with the owner and put it on your blog and send the video out to other wedding blogs in your market?

Give with no expectations in return. And, as time moves on, the return will be bigger than you’ve ever imagined.

#7 Use The Language Of Success

In his ground-breaking book, “Tribal Leadership,” Dave Logan talks about the language of individuals and companies being directly tied to their success. They interviewed everyone from criminals to CEOs of large corporations and everyone in between. Thousands and thousands of people were interviewed about their life, their successes and failures. They were separated into five levels of success, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, and then their language was analyzed. Guess what they found? Every person at every level of success used the same kind of language. That is to say, all Level 1 people talked the same and so on up the chain of success. Check the kind of language you use in your business and around your clients.

  • Level 1 Success – Level one folks are all about blaming the problems of the world on their lack of success. “Life sucks.” “The economy sucks.” The rarely have any successes at all.
  • Level 2 Success – Level two folks are all about blaming other people for their lack of success. Someone else has “taken away” their success. So and so is doing awesome, but my business sucks, it isn’t fair! Again, usually very little success for these people.
  • Level 3 Success – For level three folks it’s all about them. “Look at me, I’m awesome.” Level three people are never able to get beyond just a basic level of success because no one wants to work with them long term.
  • Level 4 Success – Level four is where most businesses stop. Level four is all about, “we’re awesome.” Look at us, we dominate the market, we have the best studio in town. There are many successful businesses that work, and have worked for years, at level four. They consistently grow their businesses at 5% per year and enjoy long-term growth. If you want to stop at level 4, awesome, not a problem.
  • Level 5 Success – Level five people and companies are the anomalies. They are the people and companies that can seemingly do no wrong. They seem like they are constantly in a blissful state of contentment and happiness and are just as happy to see someone else succeed as themselves. Their language is all about, “life is great,” “isn’t this an exciting time,” and “this industry is so fun right now.” Level 5 people see the world as a land of opportunity where all people can succeed. Level five people don’t “take” part of the market, they create an entirely new market–Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and the list goes on….

Our Commitment To You In 2012

Since last year we’ve worked hard and been lucky enough to have all of your support. We’ve doubled our support staff, our marketing staff and our development staff. We’re up and running at 200% and we look forward to bringing you (free) major upgrades to all of our programs. You’ve seen the huge change in Album Builder v4 that we brought, get ready for updates to all of our programs.


© All images copyright Andrew Funderburg and Fundy Software, Inc.