Are you in a fog trying to find your way?

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 450, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

In any sport to win requires you recruit and get the best people. You then need to practice together and have a game plan against your competition, which you have scouted and prepared to play against.

Executing your plan flawlessly will most often give you then win and mistakes will most likely cost you the game.

Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 110, ƒ/1.4, 1/80

Many of my friends in communications are loosing their jobs. When talking with many of these professionals I have discovered a real lack of understanding of business. Many professionals are coming out of a fog and waking up in the middle of a game. They are finding themselves in the middle of a game for which they do not know the rules or the goals of the game.

By 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be independent workers. Today, there are already 53 million Americans (34% of the workforce) that fall into this category. That number is growing based on a number of factors. Some from employers who see this as a better choice and many employees who want more control over their lives as well.

It will become increasingly difficult to be a communications professional if you do not understand business. This is the game you are now playing. There just will be fewer staff jobs where other people take care of the business while you are just a writer, photographer or some other role in the industry.

Business Insights for my Communication colleagues just learning about business skills

First thing you need to know about every business is that you need to have good people skills because everything about business is about people.

Your audience for communicators is people. Your clients are people. Your stories are about people.

If you do not understand how to work with all these groups then you will not be successful.

Second in any business is your expertise with your product. This is where many of my colleagues are also getting tripped up. They think it is photography for example. I believe that the earliest cave man communicators didn’t have cameras and used other ways to communicate using visuals. I also believe that the storytellers around the campfires during the caveman times were the communicators of their time.

Today you need to be a excellent communicator. You may be stronger as a writer than a photographer or some other skills, but today you still need to be a person who can sit around the campfire of your community and tell those stories.

I think due to budgets of today for many professionals they will be responsible for more parts of the storytelling process than when they were part of large staffs where specialization was more possible.

A third thing you must master to survive in business today is having worked on your processes. You must be excellent at executing your job as well. This means not just that you know how to research a story, but you can take care of all the travel plans and budgets so that you can create an estimate that makes it profitable to do the work. Then you must also know how to bill and pay those taxes on your business.

These are just some of the process you must be executing at the highest standards to run a successful business. You need to master these before you do the last step.

The last thing you must master to get business is having clarity on communicating your business for customers.

Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1140, ƒ/1.8, 1/1000

How it works to get those clients

Your potential clients have communication problems that they cannot solve on their on. Many of these potential clients don’t even know they have the problem. Most of the world didn’t know they had a problem that the smartphone would help solve until Steve Jobs gave his presentation on what the iPhone could do.

You need to position yourself to fix those problems that you are an expert.

If someone asks you what you do when you are done telling them will they know what problems you solve for people and that you just might be able to solve their problem? If they see your marketing materials is it crystal clear what you will do to help them?

Be sure your marketing articulates the problems that you are solving for your potential clients.