Ron Rosenzweig sent me a link to this recent article by small business guru Steve Strauss. Steve lists what he thinks are the top 10 trends in small business for 2012. Many of these are some of my favorite subjects. While I agree with Steve on most of the trends he identifies I want to make the following comments:
Small business use of video is number 5 on Steve's list. Fred Light gave me another video popularity data point last week that relates more directly to real estate. Fred says he's speaking later this month at the real estate connect conference in NYC. He said in 2008 the video session at the same conference had about 50 attendees, every year since then the number of attendees keeps doubling and this year it's expected to be the biggest session at the conference and they are struggling to find a big enough room.
We've got a lot of broken institutions and even noble laureate economists can't seem to predict or agree on what's likely to happen next. I think it's pretty clear that the world is going through some pretty fundamental economic changes and it's totally unrealistic to think that there are going to be major improvements in 2012. Expect the economy to stay the same or get worse. However, don't make the mistake of assuming that because the real estate market is bad in your area, that it means the real estate photography business is going to be bad too. When the market is bad agents need your services more than when the market is good. Trust me, agents need all the help they can get to get homes sold these days.
The whole world is going crazy over mobile devices. Get used to using them to communicate with your clients faster and more efficiently and integrating them in your business. Your products have to be mobile device friendly because agents and buyers and sellers are all using them.
Social media can be an effective method of building your brand. It can also be a huge time suck if you are not careful. I think it's important to think more than Twitter and FaceBook when you think social media. Don't forget Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn are social media too. For photographers Flickr and YouTube can have huge importance.
Rise of The Self Employed
I see real estate photography as an example of a profession that you can take charge of your own success. One person with some special skills, knowledge and equipment can create their own business and support yourself and your family. This trend will continue and get bigger for obvious reasons.
This one is not on Steve's list but I think it's important to realize that the business environment is constantly changing. It's easy to fall into the rut of thinking that because you think you got things figured out at some time and place, don't have to keep improving your skills, your products and your business process. If you aren't continually improving, yourself, your skills, your products, your business processes the world will change out from under you.
Nobody said this was going to be easy!