The key to business growth is simply to get more clients. Right?
The truth is, business growth is about far more than taking on more clients. In fact, saying no is vital for any business to progress.
Early in my business as a Seattle area photographer, I took on every kind of photo session. I photographed birthday parties, weddings, cake smashes, engagement sessions, and even proposals. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things, they were not what I was passionate about. These jobs were not doing the kind of photography I wanted my business to provide.
While I highly recommend you give things a try as you’re starting out in business, there will come a point when it is time to start saying no.
How can saying no help with your photography business growth?
Saying no will allow you to specialize, or niche down, into what you truly love.
When you are specific about the type of work you accept, you become the expert. By only taking on specific types of projects you will grow in your experience and expertise in those areas.
Business growth will happen because you will be seen as the expert for those project types. Furthermore, as you niche down your messaging and your branding will get more clear.
In order for business growth to happen you must have the room in your schedule.
Again, I fully understand needing to take on projects to pay the bills. However, when you are taking on clients who aren’t a good fit, they often lead to unhappy clients, rough sessions, and/or happy clients that refer their friends. But do you want referrals from clients who were not a good fit for your business?
The goal is not just business growth, but growth that is sustainable and with clients and projects you love.
When you start saying no to projects and clients that are not in alignment with your brand and photography business, you leave room for the right type of clients to come in. By saying no, you not only have the physical space on your calendar. You also have the mental space for building your brand, marketing to those dream clients, and serving those dream clients well.
Saying no opens the doors for the right yeses, which equals business growth for you.
I know firsthand, how important saying no is for photography business growth. Once I had a better understanding of the types of jobs I wanted to offer (families, newborns, maternity, and branding), I started saying no to anything that didn’t fit in those categories. As I only accepted clients and projects that fit my brand, my photography business growth exploded.
So how do you know if you should be saying no?
Use your gut to determine what to say no to.
If you are struggling and feeling stagnant in your business, consider what you’re agreeing to. How are you feeling about the projects you are taking on. If, in your gut, you are dreading a project, then likely, it is one you should have said no to.
You can use your gut when you are feeling unsure about a project. Ask yourself how saying yes would make you feel.
I should clarify. A gut check “no” isn’t from a place of fear, but a place of misalignment of the project and your business goals and brand.
As you learn to listen to and trust your gut, your business growth will skyrocket.
For more business growth tips and strategies, head to the blog articles for photographers. You will also find regular inspiration, actionable tips, and more in my newsletter for photographers.