by Den Lennie Issue 97 - January 2015
Lets not beat about the bush here. If you have set up a business then the number one priority should be to make money.
If you are not seriously focussed on profit then you need to take a long hard look at yourself and ask why did you decide to set up a business at all? If you only want to shoot for art or fun then you are an amateur - it\'s that simple.
Being an amateur is ok - but this book is about business and to run a successful business then you have to make profit.
All too often I hear pathetic excuses about \'art\' and \'selling out\' from people who simply do not have the balls to make it in business. Business is hard and its unforgiving. If you want adulation, then get yourself a twitter account, give everything you do away for free and answer every daft question that gets thrown at you... people will love you publicly and maybe you can feel good about \'sharing so much\'.
Similarly if you ever do a job for free in the vain hope that later on a client will come back to you and pay you then you are deluded.
Fashion brands are notorious for this sneaky tactic.
They\'ll call you up, wave their brand under your nose, talk up how much work they have and how much video they\'ll be needing going forwards. This could grow into a great opportunity for you in the future... but, (there\'s always a but) "We don\'t have much (or any) budget for this project so if you could do this one for free, we can get to see your work and then we\'ll pay you for the next project".
The trouble with that is you won\'t make any money and after giving one job away for free - when you do start to charge your clients will be shocked..."but you used to give us that for free".
People who do free are not valued... period.
Clients will often use this tactic to get a discount from you. "If you could do us a deal on the pilot them when the series come in you\'ll get first shout and we\'ll have a proper budget.\" If this happens to you run!
In all my years for doing broadcast TV the pilot budget never went up when the programme was commissioned. Their attitude was always "you did the pilot for x and so there\'s no more money for the series\" (usually followed by - can we have a better deal because its a series).
The same thing happens with corporate clients. There is very often a lure of more work. It almost always never comes to anything.
Work for agreed sums and if someone is after a deal there are ways to show value add or perceived discounts but only if they are willing to concede something in return.
For example if a client wants a price break then I may agree to a percentage saving if they pay the invoice in full up front.
But this is a very rare occurrence and I usually save it as a negotiation tool. Large corporations have very strict payment terms in place and while the person you may be dealing with is looking to bring a line itemised budget in at a certain cost ( to satisfy his or her departmental spend) the accounts department almost always run things very strictly with very little room to bend.
So when a marketing department want a deal - they have to go and speak to accounts and see if they can make an exception so that you can get paid faster... I find this approach is a good relationship tester because if your contact really wants to save some money and you can get paid faster then thats a fair deal for both parties. If they cannot get you paid faster, the quote remains unchanged.
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