Thinking about Value

For my quarter 1 startup business challenge, I’ve been working with Anna Krachey on a professional headshot and photography business called PictureDay ATX.

One of the challenges we faced was gaining enough customers. One of our original strategies was marketing towards co-working spaces in the Austin, TX area. The idea was this: we would partner with a co-working space, and market to their members via in-office flyers and internal email lists. We would then come to the co-working space for an afternoon, take headshots one after the other of their members, and make a bunch of money!

As a former member of the co-working space WorkBar in Boston, MA, I saw a photographer use this very model quite successfully. *HOWEVER* things didn’t work so smoothly for us. It turned out many co-working spaces either had photographer members who provided these services to the other members for free or discount, or the space provided headshots as a perk.

Thinking about value, we realized that we couldn’t provide much value if any to co-working members. How can you compete with free?

So we focused on the personal value we provided to our customers. Being able to see yourself in the best possible light – both literally and figuratively – provides tremendous value. Additionally, many people don’t like having their picture taken. So, being able to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for our customers while getting their picture taken, also added a great amount of value to our service.

While we did fewer headshot sessions than we would have with co-working members, and spent a long amount of time with each client, we were still able to make a significant amount in sales. We also found that the positive experience we provided clients resulted in our customer spending an average of about 63% more than they originally planned – they had a great time and loved the photos Anna shot, that they wanted to purchase more photos or additional retouching services. While customers might have ended up spending more, compared to established competitors who do this full time, we were still a bargain. We ended up providing value – both in the product we delivered and the experience we provided – to our customers, and both Anna and I came out enjoying it at the end!