Episode 4 of 5, From IPI Members Retreat, Henderson, NV DIMAcast #267 August 1, 2011 Tom Skaggs Alan Logue Blosser's Camera & Portrait Hutt Street Photo Studio Warsaw, Indiana Adelaide, South Australia www.Blossers.com www.HuttStreetPhotos.com.au 1 Bill McCurry: Out at the IPI Member Retreat in Henderson, Nevada ran into my old friend Tom Skaggs, good morning Tom. Tom Skaggs: Good morning. Bill McCurry: Tell everybody in the DIMAcast world where you’re from. Tom Skaggs: I’m from Blosser’s Camera and Portrait Studio in Warsaw, Indiana Bill McCurry: And tell us about your store. Tom Skaggs: I have a little camera store, got a studio and recently got into more school photography and that sort of thing to be able to find other things to sell and do, besides what we used to of course. Bill McCurry: How many IPI shows have you attended? Tom Skaggs: I’ve been a member – I didn’t think about this, I’ve been a member probably for 10 - 12 years, so a lot of them. I actually have not missed one since I’ve been a member, I’ve been really fortunate that my schedules let me be able to be at every one of them. And used too, we had two a year, now it’s down to one main one. 2 Bill McCurry: So Tom, what’s one of your take home ideas from the IPI Member Retreat? Tom Skaggs: Cathi Nelson, that personal photo organizing was a fascinating topic to listen too, mostly because her approach to a problem that we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of customers that have an overwhelming amount of images, they’re not bringing things in to get a book made or something else done, or they’re reluctantly bringing some slides or something and instead of that just being a frustrating problem, she’s learned, a way to monetize that problem, by actually helping that customer in a way, truthfully I never thought of. I’m old school enough to think that customer has got to take the time and trouble to bring their problems to me to solve. I never really thought about, you know what? I can go to you and help solve your problems and you’ll pay me to do it. That just never crossed my mind, and I am fascinated at the concept of I can do something like that, in a way that will actually make some money and really help the customer. I just really truthfully blown away by that today. Bill McCurry: And our loyal DIMAcast listeners will 3 know we just did a DIMAcast with Cathi Nelson, if they missed that show, go back and pick up what she… Tom Skaggs: Yes and if you did miss that show, definitely go back and listen to it. There’s a lot to learn there. Bill McCurry: So for Blosser’s you’re going to bring that concept to your customers? Tom Skaggs: I’m not exactly sure, how much of that I’m going to be able to incorporate. It’s really a new way of thinking and I’m definitely excited about the concept of someone being a personal photo organizer and then using my store services. Offering them that discount for scanning services – printing service, album making that sort of thing, that’s the first things definitely easy. However, now I think I feel a little more comfortable with customers that you have pretty good relationships with, and the conversation could definitely lead to actually being able to go and start being able to help them, go to their house and actually help them do this. I’m going to give it some serious thought, see if it’s something that we can add as a staff person, or certainly work on a way to encourage some personal photo 4 organizer to just utilize the store. The first part that definitely helps me gets me the most excited is that, you know, the cliché of out of the box thinking is sometimes overused. Just the concept of taking something that’s been frustrating and difficult and monetize it. That’s opened my mind to a new way of thinking on maybe as a – there’s a neat way to solve that problem that I wasn’t thinking of. Bill McCurry: Tom, you’ve been to a lot of IPI Member Retreats, what are you thinking it’s really going to improve your business? Tom Skaggs: Most of us are, if you will, in some ways smaller businesses than we used to be. We don’t have the extra people around. It’s really hard to get a lot of projects done, even sometimes the small project. So one of the things we learned when we did the marketing program, the first time, was we thought we put this stuff out there and that everyone would just grab it, use it and it would go nuts. But we found out that the effort involved in implementing it, was more difficult than what we anticipated, so we thought, we got to make it even easier, we got to really make it turnkey and so what we’ve got is a few we’re calling them developmental labs. Brent likes to call them business jars, or jars. One of the labs we’ve got is about custom framing, I don’t do custom framing, I really don’t know that much about it, I do know I have people coming in my store asking about it, because there’s fewer custom frame shops in my town 5 than there used to be. I’m open to that and as I know that you used to have I’m sure you still do, your little No Lists, and if you keep saying no to something, well maybe you should start saying yes to it and what’s nice about these jars of business labs, is if you will, IPI has done the homework on what’s involved, what’s the material, who do you contact, they’ve made it as easy, if you will as pie or as can be, so that you know what to do. A lot of times in our business, you know, there isn’t the instruction booklet, but this time there is and we’re utilizing people that have been in the business, put things together to make it to where at whatever level you want to start, it’s as easy as can be. So I’m – I myself personally am seriously considering adding custom framing, because I know what to do with it, I don’t have the time to try to implement something that won’t work, I don’t have the time to try to learn how to implement something that I don’t know what to do with, so this takes a lot of the risk out of it and it makes it as easy as it can for me to go ahead and implement it, and add that service to my store and in low course the whole point of adding that will be, there should be some profit there. I don’t want to waste my time unless I can earn some money doing it and the way they’ve offered this custom framing particular jar I thinks’ going to work excellent. Bill McCurry: Okay I’m thinking you’re going to go into glass cutting, you’re going to go into frame cutting; you got different worker’s comp issue . . . . 6 Tom Skaggs: Yes, there can be a whole lot involved. What do I know about custom framing? I don’t want to do it, I mean because you’re right, there’s a lot of work there, there’s cutting corners and all this sort of The IPI Member Retreat featured numerous active thing, I guess cutting frame demonstrations of various developmental Labs by IPI. These concepts were laid out in blueprint format so IPI members could predetermine the value to their business, corners would be the way to the steps they needed to do in house or outlab and a blueprint for simple cost effective implementation. say it, but what IPI’s put together is a program to where you’re able to offer the service and someone else does all that work and then after someone else does all that work, they send you that finished product and you’re still making a great margin. It simply couldn’t be easier. Bill McCurry: So you’re thinking of installing a frame shop in the back of your store? Tom Skaggs: Well I won’t have to put it in the back of my store, because if you will, the friendly UPS man will make me a frame shop without my customers 7 really knowing how we do what we do. I believe we’re going to have to have a little panel of frames – of corners and a few things like that, the implementation of course will involve software and the ordering system and all, from what I understand, I’m want to be able to show my customer a wider range of product – from – with including their photo, with the frame corners and the frame matte’s, they’re going to see what they want – be able to pick out what they want, as beautiful as they want it to be, as many mattes or whatever’s involved, they’re going to order it, we’re going to order it for them, and they’re going to think that we’re in the back working, you know, diligently cutting, putting things together, but the whole orders going to happen at the click, of a mouse and that products going to come in, we’re going to slip a photo into it and finish it and we’re going to have a terrific, beautiful custom frame that I did very little work on and yet make some money on. I heard some of the IPI members talking about a frame shop in a box, is that what you’re talking about? Tom Skaggs: Yeah, you know that’s a great way to phrase it, because from what I understand the level is, you’re able to have nothing except, my understanding is the camera that photographs the artwork or photo, the computer screen has the moldings and the mattes, the different levels, you’re able to pick all that stuff with the customer, they’re going to see their finished product if you will, 8 on that computer screen, you’re able to – at the click of a mouse order all of it, someone else, somewhere else can build it all for you and at the same token I understand you’re able to do more with that, if you want to have your own frame shop out of the box, and do more things yourself, you’re able to do that. I’m looking very forward to the frame shop in a box. Bill McCurry: So you want to be able to offer it to your customers without incurring a capitol cost of all the equipment… Tom Skaggs: Absolutely. Bill McCurry: - or the worker’s comp issues or any of that. Tom Skaggs: Yes, absolutely and fortunately the margins are still so good, that I’ll be able to do that. Bill McCurry: Did I understand you to say in Warsaw, Indiana because of the economics or whatever, there’s fewer frame shops and now people are coming to you? Tom Skaggs: Yes. Over the years we’ve had the occasional person ask for custom framing, but it’s definitely happening a lot more, I’m not really sure why, I’m – I’m sure there’s some great margins there for us to be able to do what we want to do. Bill McCurry: So you want to see Blosser’s offering more services? Tom Skaggs: Absolutely. 9 Bill McCurry: You’re following the IPI blueprint. Tom Skaggs: Yes. Bill McCurry: So you’re okay that the IPI team put this together, you’re just going to buy it and follow their lead? Tom Skaggs: Oh absolutely. We’ve got great consultants that know the business, they’re going to know a lot more than I do and it’s, you know, let’s not forget that there’s still that networking aspect of it, so I can talk to guys that are still doing some custom framing and all, get some other ideas and promotions The whole purpose of the IPI development lab is to make it as easy as it can be so that someone like me or anybody in IPI can go ahead and implement it without – without it being difficult, they’ve taken the hard part away, so that I can follow that path and do it. Bill McCurry: Okay so what are some of the other things that IPI is recommending to members? Tom Skaggs: At the moment, besides custom framing, we’ve got a video archiving. Sports and event photography is another jar or development lab that we’re working on to be able to do as well. Bill McCurry: Tom, I noticed you were writing in a blueprint book, what is that all about? 10 Tom Skaggs: Well as you know, and I’m sure many listeners know, it’s great to go to these retreats, seminars, PMA’s, and boy you hear some great ideas and you really want to do them, I mean, I – I come home with the best goals of anybody and – and yet when you get back or you’re behind because you’ve been gone, there’s all these other challenges, and you know, you can lose that enthusiasm pretty quickly, it seems like the world’s always against you when you want to move forward than . What IPI’s come up with is these business blueprints if you will, and it actually says from idea to implementation, if I can say that word correctly, it’s a brainstorming and project management worksheet. So the questions are already written out, you’re just kind of filling in the blank. So as you’re listening to the different seminars, and the IPI Members received multiple business opportunity different talks, you can fill in Blueprints – each designed to help the member evaluate the myriad options available for revenue enhancement and profit generation. 11 the blank of what ideas and things you’re wanting to do. My goal is, when I get back I’m going to go oh yeah, that’s – that’s who I thought this would be for, this is what I thought I could do, this is where I thought I could do, how I could do it, so it’s –it’s kind of a worksheet, actually we call it that, a project management worksheet. Sounds really official doesn’t it? But I think it’s something that will really help, I mean let’s face it; we need all the help and encouragement we can get to keep going and doing these things. Bill McCurry: Now what it sounds like is a critical thinking path, for you to follow… Tom Skaggs: Yeah. Bill McCurry: -as you’re sitting in the IPI sessions trying to listen to the various speakers and figure out which ones you’d do to add revenue. Tom Skaggs: There you go. Yeah, I like that. It’s a good description. Bill McCurry: But how many pages is that then? Tom Skaggs: Well, you can have a lot of projects it’s – there’s more than one page in here so you’re going to get a lot of ideas here, that’s the plan, to be able to implement and, you know, the goal of course is to implement as many as you can, but you can always go back and implement one or two, that’s the best, anything you do to improve would be great. So whatever tools that IPI can provide to help make that happen, I mean, because after all that’s one of the basic fundamentals 12 part of why IPI exists is to help the members be able to succeed and if this little booklet will help them map out a plan, write that plan down so that after they get back and the chaos settles a little bit, they’ve got their plan, hey we’re moving forward. Bill McCurry: What’s the best idea you’ve ever gotten from an IPI Retreat? Tom Skaggs: I think probably off the top of my head when you say that, is the personal coaching, the one-to-one personal coaching, where you got a customer or someone who may or may not be a customer that comes in asks you a question, on camera stuff, and you’re like you know, I can’t sit here for 20 minutes and tell you how to do this with your camera, the business model doesn’t work that way anymore, of course you don’t say that to the customer, so the personal coaching is you’re selling a certain amount of time for whatever project they want to know, so we encourage our customers to write down a list of questions, bring their equipment, bring their laptop, whatever they want to know and we’re able to charge them so much and hour, or part of an hour, to be able to solve that problem. And I’ll tell you what, it has been a fantastic idea, because it frees me from the frustration of knowing I’m helping somebody and not getting paid, to now I’m really, really glad to help them, because you want to help them… Bill McCurry: Yes. 13 Tom Skaggs: I’m a retailer, I want to make them happy, and so now I’m able to make them happy, help them with their problem and I’m making some money. I mean it’s a win/win all the way around, and since we’ve implemented that, I never had anybody have a negative response to that. They’re glad they have a solution to be able to find out their problems, and it works great. Bill McCurry: May I ask what you charge? Tom Skaggs: I charge $60 bucks an hour, minimum of $30 for half an hour and most of them run an hour, hour and a half. I find that after that it’s – you’ve kind of learned all you can learn and we’ve had several repeat sessions, but I really want them to be able to implement and think what we’ve talked about and they’ve learned – I want that to really sink and then to be able to really utilize it and use it. So they walk away knowing they’ve learned something, they’ve grabbed something and then of course they’re going to come back and learn more. Bill McCurry: Customers paying you 60 bucks an hour to listen to you and are you selling them something at that time? Tom Skaggs: You know, a lot of times that happens, I try to be real sensitive to the fact that they’re there to learn, but invariably a lot of what they want to know involves another product. So you’re able to help them get done what they want to get done and learn the particular thing and then generally also offer another product that helps them with that solution of a problem, so that’s definitely nice. 14 it’s great because we obviously do this in the store, so whatever product that it might be, maybe it’s an extra flash or something, I just walk right out to the storeroom, go get it, put it in the camera and start teaching them how to use it and almost always they buy it. So that’s another side benefit there as well. That’s a great side benefit. Bill McCurry: Tom Skaggs, thank you. Tom Skaggs: Bill, you’re very welcome, glad to spend some time with you. Alan Logue Hutt Street Photo Adelaide, SA www.huttstreetphotos.com.au Bill McCurry: Henderson, Nevada, the M Resort and Spa, is home of the IPI Member Retreat for 2011 and Alan Logue, Adelaide, Australia is home for you. Alan and Catherine Logue pictured at IPI Members Retreat, The M Resort and Spa, Henderson, NV – Alan Logue: Good day Bill. Catherine is former National Chair of Australia’s Society of Training and Development and owner of It sure is. Training For Learning Company. She gave an energetic and active session on successfully working with a multiple generational workforce at the IPI Member Retreat while husband Alan was out gathering money making ideas. 15 Bill McCurry: What would provoke you to travel 18 hours in an airplane to come to an IPI Member Retreat? Alan Logue: The idea of being able to swap ideas, get more ideas and I guess share, that magic word that we talked about with photographic memories, to be able to share ideas with other guys and girls that I have a lot of respect for. Bill McCurry: Now you were the second international member to join IPI? Alan Logue: Yeah, I was number two, Phil Gresham was number one and Phil convinced me that it would be a good idea to join, and for that I thank him greatly. I think we’ve been in IPI, probably three or four years and this is the second retreat we’ve been too. Bill McCurry: You recommend it? Alan Logue: Hutt Street Photo is built over a former alleyway Wholeheartedly, yes and I’ve between two buildings – it’s mini but might. got to say I do not understand why US member of IPI do not come here. If I can 16 travel 18 hours and eight or nine thousand miles to get here, then I’m sure there is some locals, guys listening who should be here as well. Bill McCurry: Hutt Street Photo, small, but mighty. Alan Logue: Yeah we’re doing some things that make a difference. We got a Noritsu mini-lab that does probably anywhere between one and a half and two thousand slide scans a week, because we promote it and we also do a bucket load of old Super 8 and standard movie scans because we promote it. Bill McCurry: And how do you promote it? Alan Logue: We do it on radio. We don’t do it in print. We’ve tried print in some areas, hasn’t been all that successful, but we’ve gone with radio, we’ve gone on a radio station that’s got the demographics that actually match the users, that used to use the old slides in the movie films and it just works. The day after the ads start, we know its working because people are coming in with movies and slides. Bill McCurry: Okay we better quit right now and listen to the ad. If you listen to the DIMAcast you’ll hear Alan’s radio spot on DVD transfer Alan Logue: Sounds good. If you listen to the DIMAcast you’ll hear Alan’s effective radio spot on scanning Bill McCurry: So you run those two ads? Alan Logue: They’re the two new ones that we’re running, Bill McCurry: Do you notice one working better than the other? 17 Alan Logue: No they work just as well. Each one works just as well and we actually get people now coming in with bagfuls of not only slides, but movies. They just bring the whole lot in and leave it up to us to sort it all out. Bill McCurry: So you’re on the air constantly with these ads? Alan Logue: Every week, every weekend and we do full weeks of ads when we decide we want to do it, which is sometimes once a month, sometimes once every two months. Bill McCurry: What provokes when you do it? Alan Logue: Whether we need a boost in sales or whether we think there may be something happening in the local area that might happen to bring slides or movies up. But it’s generally because we want to promote it, we just want more sales in at a particular time and it’s always like we can turn them on and off with www.HuttStreetPhotos.com.au the radio ads. 18 Bill McCurry: Wow, so that’s basically baby boomers right? Alan Logue: Yeah that’s it. Bill McCurry: Now on the other end of the spectrum, you got something special for Holga Users. Alan Logue: Yep, well we won’t isolate just Holga’s. Holga’s and Lomo’s. We’re now going to offer a special processing service for them using a new, special aged color paper. Bill McCurry: And what is a new special aged color paper going to do for a Holga or Lomo user? Alan Logue: Well the new special aged color paper is actually 20 year old Agfa paper, which has got a very high, yellow base fog, but Hutt Street Photos – we figure that it will go with the style to which Proof That Size Doesn’t Matter some of those people want their photos and they want a different look, so we’re going to give them a very different look and it could even be that no one photo is ever going to be the same again. Bill McCurry: So it matches Holga. 19 Alan Logue: That’s right, that’s right. We’ve got a whole pile of five inch paper, which is what we’re using for it and it came about leftover from a deal that somebody else did and we ended up with it all. And we’ve been using it for wallet stuffers and for that it’s ideal, we’ve changed the colors of our wallet stuffers so that it’s the base color of the paper, but we just decided – I’m going to give credit to the guy’s from Dakis because it was one of the guys from Dakis that gave me the idea of the special aged paper look. Alan Logue: I guess from our point of view it’s a matter of you just got to promote what you’re doing, if you don’t tell people what you do, how are they going to know that you do it? We’re actually going to make a move into photo books and maybe we’re a late start or a late bloomer with photo books, but we’ve just had the PMA Show in Australia, and we’re going to go into doing our own photo books in store and we’ll start promoting that, maybe not as much as we’re doing the slides and movies, but we’ll work out how we do it and we’ll see how that goes, but again, like I said, if you don’t tell people what you do, how are you going to do it? Bill McCurry: What’s your goal for attending the IPI Member Retreat? Alan Logue: More ideas to do more things in our business. Bill McCurry: How many ideas do want to walk away with? 20 Alan Logue: Well I think I’ve gotten six in Australia, from PMA and I’m looking for another six or ten from the IPI Show and that’ll give me enough to keep me going for another 12 months until the next IPI Show. Bill McCurry: Alan Logue, thank you very much. Alan Logue: Thanks Bill, great to share. We would appreciate hearing your ideas, suggestions or comments . . . Brian Mundy Bill McCurry: Photomation McCurry Associates Anaheim, California Princeton, New Jersey firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 1-800-965-6692 (609) 688-1169 21
"Episode 4 of 5, From IPI Members Retreat, Henderson, NV DIMAcast"