The sudden economic impact of COVID-19 hit Fisher Studios immediately. Gone were many of the opportunities which required a photographer. Social distancing made many bookings impossible. Commercial clients squeezed their marketing budgets. Projects were put on indefinite hold.
Like so many business owners, David Fisher had a choice: to wait out the pandemic and hope business returned or be proactive byusing crisis to re-examine his business and make changes to help it to thrive in the long-term.
Reimagining the future
Before coronavirus, business had been steady and there had not been much need for David to market the business. However, the new realities of trading, including far more online made it clear he would have to adjust, find new customers and new ways of reaching them.
“My vision for the business was to build on the service “brand by bringing more talent on board so that the business was not limited by my own capacity and skillset, enabling me tocreate a more resilient business and one with real potential for growth”, David explained.
His analysis of the business carried out during the pandemic revealed gaps in the skills he would need, especially in marketing, social media, and photography for ecommerce. He also saw new opportunities emerging, including product photography for the growing number of online traders and portrait photography for people who needed to upgrade their online presence with better headshots for professional networks such as LinkedIn.
Signposting and help from OxLEP Business
Fisher Studios came to OxLEP Business to speak with the Skills team about apprenticeships and the Kickstart scheme for young people. David saw it as a way of changing the business and gradually broaden its horizons with new talent.
With finances a concern for every business, he also had free advice on financial management offered by a partner organisation.
A meeting with an OxLEP Business Advisor to look at the challenges faced by the studio helped David Fisher to create a 3-stage employment strategy, laying the foundations for the future. As David explained: “I found the meeting incredibly insightful and really appreciated the clear perspectives, ideas and suggestions. It provided me with some clarity and confidence especially in terms of my plans to recruit and was just the impetus I needed to move forward.”
Already Fisher Studios has a new marketing and business development assistant who is working to raise the company’s profile and generate new business leads. David hopes that after the pandemic crisis eases, he will be able to hire a new photographer with the right flair and the type of skills to tackle the new and emerging markets.