Today we’re going to do a 10 episode recap (Episode 15-25).
00:00-5:35 – intros
5:36-7:55 – Importance of pivoting your business
7:56-8:53 – Business plans are more of a guideline
8:54-10:29 – Video is a high touch business
10:30-15:00 – Learning how to delegate work is also about knowing how to communicate that to your employees
16:33-18:05 – Solopreneurs need to develop emotional support networks
20:29-22:02 – Educating your client on the video process
22:03-26:16 – You need to discover your clients challenges
26:17-28:14 – Educating your clients on your process & Your process
28:15-33:52 – Improving your Proposals / Proposals are just a recap
33:53-35:11 – Your processes
35:12-38:54 – Revisions, checklists, setting expectations
38:55-44:59 – Biggest challenge is yourself, need people around you that you can trust, hiring the right people, vetting
45:00-48:44 – Payments
49:49-50:58 – Entrepreneurs need to build a new skill every year
50:59-58:00 – Video as an investment
58:01 – Outro
Watch the Episode
Dario Nouri: Welcome to Creatives Grab Coffee Episode 26. Today is our 10th episode recap. As much as this is for our listeners and viewers, this is more so for ourselves because we learned from season one. We did 14 episodes and we didn’t take notes on them so now we have no idea what we discussed on those episodes.
Kyrill Lazarov: I think we got the gist of it. A lot of it kind of went into the back of our minds for those particular episodes. And then we just started implementing it throughout the year in 2021. I think one of the biggest was mainly to continue to foster relationships, build your online presence, focus on SEO, treat your business like a business.
Dario Nouri: A big focus was on creating strategic video content. A lot of guests were talking about that.
Dario Nouri: That episode was about the importance of pivoting your business. What Bee Video Productions did with her business was that she was shooting mainly live action video and then when the pandemic happened, she wasn’t getting any of that. So she pivoted into animation video and its worked out really well for her. In the past her business was 90% live action and 10% animation. Now it’s the other way around. So the main lesson from that is sometimes you need to pivot your business to survive.
Kyrill Lazarov: You have to adapt your business during difficult times. Adaptability is so key. Any of the businesses that failed or went under during the pandemic, it’s because of that they didn’t get the chance to adapt.
Dario Nouri: Another topic we discussed is that business plans are just a guideline. I found this pretty funny because it’s a good way to get your business started. Thinking about what you want to do, how you want to do it, especially when you don’t have a lot of experience.
But it shouldn’t be the be all, end all. If you put something in your business plan that shouldn’t be necessarily set in stone. If you need to adapt, if you need to change your business model, you can by all means go for it. Growing your business fine is an ongoing process and it’s constantly changing.
Kyrill Lazarov: Another one I really liked is that video is a high touch business. And what you meant by that is that there’s a lot of touchpoints in the video process. You’re constantly guiding your client through it, getting their input, having a checklist and everything. It’s not really an automated process. There’s a lot of involvement in it. You have to involve your client because you want to make sure that what you’re producing for them is exactly what they want.
Dario Nouri: You made a good point during that episode. You said you can’t delegate a role you don’t know. You need to have at least a little bit of experience in varying roles. Just so when you are hiring or delegating tasks, you know what to expect.
Kyrill Lazarov: I’ve also learned that as long as you also know what you need from this role, what the responsibilities are, what the standards are, you’ve researched the role and you know that it could be very helpful for your business.
Dario Nouri: You also need to learn to communicate clearly to be able to delegate business tasks and roles. Matthew Collins, from Capture the Moment Media, talked about how you need to delegate, but you also need to know how to communicate properly because as an entrepreneur, if you’ve been doing it all yourself, you kind of have the gameplan kind of in your head but the person you’re hiring might not have that game plan or your vision.
Kyrill Lazarov: We also touched on SEO, which is really important to the success of your video production company.
Dario Nouri: Brigette also mentioned that it’s hard being a solopreneur if you don’t have a team. For her when she closes a good project she doesn’t have anyone to high five except for herself. She has overcome this by developing a strong network with the other businesses around her office. If you are a solopreneur, it’s good to develop a type of network of other businesses so you can have that sort of emotional support system in place, not just for when you’re running into problems, but also when you’re doing well. It’s just good to be able to talk to someone about that.
Kyrill Lazarov: On Episode 17 of Creatives Grab Coffee, we had Judah Hernandez from Black and White Media. One good point he made was about the need to educate your clients on the video process. You have to be open to explaining the most basic of things to your clients because it helps them understand how video fits within their business. Most leads don’t know how the video production process works. And that is part of the reason why we’ve been focusing a lot on creating education video content on our blog. And it’s really helped a lot of our leads and clients understand how we work.
Dario Nouri: Another point that was made was that you need to discover your client’s challenges when you’re talking to them. If you don’t know what pain points they have, what challenges they’re facing, what problems they’re trying to solve, if you don’t understand that, there’s not much you can do in terms of a solution. Sometimes clients might come to you already knowing what those are, which is great because then you can get started on the solution right away.
Kyrill Lazarov: Sometimes they’ll come up to you and say, we need this type of video and we just need a number for it. This is the type of client you either need to educate or avoid. The reason for this is because you don’t go to a doctor and tell him what to prescribe to you. You go to a doctor to get his opinion on your problem along with this solution.
Dario Nouri: The best way to do this is to keep asking questions. You need to discover your client’s challenges and then prescribe the solution to that problem. Again, find the problem and deliver the solution. That might not be what they want to hear but at the end of the day they are approaching you because you are the expert in video production. If they don’t trust your expertise then they should find somebody else.
Kyrill Lazarov: Some leads are simply looking for yes men. If they’re not willing to listen to you and trust you then that’s a very good indicator of the type of relationship you might have with them. And you have to decide for yourself, are these the types of work relationships you want to have with your clients, or do you want to form a partnership or collaboration, something where you both work together and grow from?These are questions you have to also ask yourself.
Dario Nouri: Your client relationships need to reflect your philosophy. So if you’re pitching results based videos, you also want to have results based relationships right. You don’t want a relationship with a client that ends up with zero results, right? If you create a video just because you are a yes man and it wasn’t the right video for them and the end result is negative, then you’re getting nothing out of that relationship either. Sure, you’ll get a paycheck, but is it a continuous paycheck? Probably not.
Kyrill Lazarov: You bring up a very valid point because one of the things I even tell a lot of leads now is that we’re not looking for a one off project. That’s not what we’re looking for. We don’t want to just take this lead and do a quick video for them, send them on their way, and that’s it. That’s not what we’re about. We want to grow with our clients. We want to see them succeed. I tell them this even in our first introductory call, because I need to let them know right away what my intention is of working with them and how I see our business relationship moving forward. And a lot of the time I get great responses from that because they are intrigued since a lot of people don’t tell them that right off the bat.
Dario Nouri: Yeah, I think a lot of production companies, when they get a call from a lead they don’t dive deep into the lead’s problems. They just ask technical questions like when they want the video by and what type of video it is. They might not even ask the budget until deep into the sales process. This goes back to client education. A lot of clients are not familiar with our world. So this is why you have to really educate them, not just on the video process, but your process as well.
Kyrill Lazarov: Exactly. And if you don’t know your processes. You got to sit down and figure that out. This was another thing that helped us. We sat down and outlined and detailed our processes outside of the production process. We went as early as the intro call with the lead.
Dario Nouri: Let’s go to the next point, which was working on your proposal. Judah mentioned that when he really puts a lot more effort into his proposals, that’s when he started to close a lot of projects. I agree with his point but we personally have taken a different approach to this.We don’t refer to our proposals as proposals anymore. We refer to them as a summary meeting. Chris Stasiuk from Signature Video Group pointed this out for us. Your proposal is simply a recap of everything you have discussed. You are not introducing any new information in this part. You just state what they came to you for, what you recommended, what it will cost, and now you have to ask them if they want to move forward with you. That is how you have to look at it.
Kyrill Lazarov: I’ve noticed the word proposal is exactly like the RFP word, it puts you in a position where the client is there to judge you and what and what you’re going to provide them is not good enough and that you have to dazzle them. That’s not, that’s not what the point is. The dazzling comes later when we actually produce the content for you. The way many companies do proposals is they discover the clients challenges, problems, and provide a solution at the end of the sales process. Also, delivering a proposal or RFP for a project is a broken system because the way the lead will interpret or present it to their decision maker is not going to be exactly like how you presented it to them. It turns into a broken telephone game.
Dario Nouri: You need to loop in the decision makers to your sales process. Cameron from Your Story Agency discussed how he presents his proposals directly to the decision makers. He makes sure to get the decision maker on the line because there’s no point playing that broken telephone game where you pitched yourself to someone who now has to pitch you to someone else. That type of system is completely broken and you’re most likely not going to get the project doing it like that. And if they don’t want to follow your system then that’s a red flag. This goes back to vetting your client properly and getting them to go through your process. Your process is in place because through trial and error you have figured out what works best for you. If you break that process then you are repeating mistakes and wasting your time and money.
Kyrill Lazarov: The process is not just for us but it’s also for the client. It is designed exactly in a way that helps deliver a good experience for them. I remember early days we would work on a client for a project. They would ask for a video, we would produce it for them and then that’s when the revision process would get out of control. This resulted in lost time and a reduction in profits.
Dario Nouri: So this kind of loops into checklists as well. You need to have a checklist for your clients and you need to let them in on those checklists so that they’re going through the process with you. This starts from onboarding all the way to off boarding. This helps ensure that you both are doing your due diligence and not have the business relationship turn sour. This also helps set expectations for both parties by assigning roles and responsibilities.
Kyrill Lazarov: Another point is that you need people around you that you can trust. Obviously this goes to having a strong team and just being able to delegate the work to people that you trust.
Dario Nouri: Regarding payments, we now charge 50% of the project due one upon contract signing. This is to ensure that the client is 100% on board with us and also so that we can pay off all project costs and freelancers right away. Not following this can result in some pretty big consequences if your client is slow to pay or if they back out of the project entirely. You could be left owing your freelancers or rental houses money or you might have to go into debt to pay everyone while waiting for the payment to come through.
Kyrill Lazarov: Another point is that an entrepreneur has to develop and learn a new skill every year. You need to grow with your business. If your business is growing and you aren’t, then something’s wrong.
Dario Nouri: Another point is that video is an investment and you need to make your leads understand this. Once you do that, then what happens is that they will become more open minded to creating more content. They will stop viewing the videos as content and start looking at it more like an asset that will give them a certain ROI. That’s why you need to ask your leads what they are expecting to get out of the video content? What results are they expecting? And they need to be able to tell you, I’m going to get $100,000 out of this. When they start telling you that then it’s a good jumping point to then get them to invest a little more to create more assets. During your discovery call you need to ask them what’s the budget they have set aside for this investment? They’re always taken aback by that. But it’s true if you’re just getting the if you’re paying for video and not thinking about it like an investment, what are you doing? You’re just wasting money.
Kyrill Lazarov: That’s exactly it. They’re wasting money. They’re wasting their time. Most importantly, they are also wasting your time.
Dario Nouri: We’ll end it off here for today. Thanks for listening and make sure to subscribe to Creatives Grab Coffee for more content on the business of video production.