Recession Survival Kit

10 Ways To Use Better Workflow and Keywording To Beat a Slow Economy

Improved use of resources and clear thinking are essential for picture businesses to survive the economic downturn. Here are 10 ways you can utilise outsourced image workflow and keywording services to get your images to market, make more sales at lower cost and outperform your competitors.

1. Get a Better Ride On The Production Rollercoaster

Why is it you have to wait so long for an ice cream at the movies? It’s because even a cinema chain can’t afford to have enough staff to match the rush of people who turn up for the relatively infrequent movie session times. That’s one of the reasons multiplexes are a better financial bet than their predecessors, because they maximise the number of session times to justify having higher staff numbers to sell more food and drink.

Photo libraries have the same problem. Images don’t turn up in a constant stream. So you have to make a compromise about whether to be overstaffed to always have enough available to meet production and keywording needs, or be understaffed to save money which slows down production and harms sales. Outsourcing workflow and keywording can enable you to benefit, much like a multiplex cinema, by having a company handling workflow for a number of libraries so you can get images to market without blowing your wages budget.

2. Go 24/7 and Improve Sales Opportunities

If you haven’t already got a 24 hour, 7 day a week production flow how are you competing in hard times against bigger players who do (or at least get close)? While you’re asleep your competitors are getting the job done and making sales – sales you’ll never make. Outsourcing workflow and keywording can give you the 24/7 coverage you need without busting the bank.

3. Move Staff into Sales Where They Should Be

Got staff keywording, captioning, sending images with FTP? Chances are those people have got more talent in other areas where they would be better deployed. Outsource your workflow and keywording and get your staff where they should be when money is tight, making more sales, working on credit control or taking photos.

4. Match the Big Boys

In a tight economy the big players usually do well, or at least survive. Why is that? One reason is that they have enough resources not to have to hit the panic button and suddenly cut back on quality, time to market and other crucial elements that keep sales going. If sales are hard to come by, this is even more crucial and can mean the difference between survival and failure.
For smaller companies (and some big ones) cuts still need to be made in hours or jobs so often the only way to do this and still maintain sales momentum is to outsource workflow and keywording.

5. Save Your Sanity and Devote More time To Management

When the going gets tough, owners of smaller businesses will thrust themselves into the fray in an heroic effort to reduce labour costs with some DIY. Apart from the fact that such a strategy seriously devalues the worth of a business owner, he or she can quickly become overwhelmed with work. This is no way to live, and no way to run a business. How can you make clear decisions at a time when such decisions are needed more than ever, when you’re irritable and falling asleep at your computer?

Outsourcing workflow and keywording can enable you to take care of the day-to-day tasks with minimal employed labour while you concentrate on getting business done.

6. Avoid Costly Monitoring

Keeping systems running, production flowing and making money is a necessity, but how much of the cost is taken up with simply having people around to make sure things are going according to plan or in case something happens? This could be everyone from a middle manager, a supervisor or the person you have on at nights. Ask yourself if these people are really necessary. With outsourced workflow and keywording all those jobs can be matched to your production flow so you don’t have people in the office unnecessarily. Do the figures, and you may be surprised how much money you are paying.

7. Reduce Overheads

The amount spent on direct overheads such as power, rent, health insurance and so on is often underestimated when calculating the comparable costs of having staff or outsourcing. But there are bigger overheads associated with doing workflow and keywording in house: the costs of hiring, training, disciplining and organising your workers, not to mention the costs of unexpected absences and people quitting at just the wrong time.

Doing a full calculation of the cost of your present staffing could reveal that outsourcing workflow and keywording will bring you bigger savings than you had realised.

8. Turn Liabilities into Assets

When sales are more difficult to come by it is a waste to have money spent on obtaining and organising images only for people to have trouble finding them. Likewise, if times are tough it’s probably too costly to hire staff to do keywording. Even a limited amount of keywording and captioning done by a professional service on a per image basis can help you get extra dollars from those images you’ve worked so hard to bring into existence.

9. Positive PR

At a time when doom and gloom are the order of the day you can get some positive PR by announcing a new programme of keywording, better searchability or faster processes. Such information not only helps with picture buyers, it will show you that you’re on the ball and an attractive prospects for photographers looking for new representation in troubled times.

10. Expand the Business

Believe it or not, there are opportunities to expand during a financial downturn. In fact that’s when many of the more astute entrepreneurs do just that. If you know of another photo library which is struggling due to poor systems, a difficult-to- search archive, and over staffing you might be able to add profitable images to your library by merging, buying the archive (for a good price) or forming an alliance.

One of the principle problems with such moves is that the healthier company is faced with taking on staff and overhead costs and is unable to scale up offices and equipment quickly enough to make such an acquisition quickly and smoothly. Outsourcing can give such companies the sort of scalability they need within a short space of time, and enable them to realise labour savings as well.