Building Your Business – One Bottle of Water at a Time

Building Your Business – One Bottle of Water at a Time

Intro by Skip Cohen

Nicole Begley’s archives never disappoint me. She’s hitting on two simple concepts, exceeding client expectations and making yourself habit-forming. It couldn’t be easier to understand and even easier to implement.

Years ago I remember Bambi Cantrell talking about doing wedding premier sessions in her home. Long before it was easy to put together a slide show, she was scanning the negatives and setting up a presentation style that often brought her clients to tears.

The room she used for viewing images was stunning and warm, like a living room out of a home in a magazine. She handed the bride, groom and often the parents a pad of paper with instructions to write down the numbers of any images they loved. She brought out champagne and strawberries and started the music, manually running the slide show.

Within minutes “Mom” was crying and by the end so was Dad! She turned looking at proofs into the last event of the wedding itself. Working with Bambi became an experience, and her clients came back again and again as their photographic needs expanded to other family members.

So, while Nicole’s using the symbolism of a bottle of water – she’s really encompassing everything you can do to turn working with you into an experience. What are you doing to make yourself different from the competition and make yourself habit-forming?


By Nicole Begley

I live deep in the suburbs. There is no walking to dinner or hopping on public transportation. Until recently, there was approximately ONE yellow cab in all of Pittsburgh. This has all changed due to one little word….UBER.

We all know that the “sharing” economy has turned many industries on their heads. Think about how Airbnb and VRBO have disrupted the hotel industry. What about companies like Netflix and Spotify? Simply pay a membership fee and have access to EVERYTHING!

Uber has taken the old school taxi world by storm…and it’s because of the little things.

Obviously, there are some big differences that help them be so successful. The app technology that makes hailing your car fun, no need to carry cash, the double review system.
There are also little things that some of the individual drivers are doing that we, as entrepreneurs, should take notice of.

A friend of mine just took an Uber from the airport and in the car was a cooler of soft drinks, waters, and a variety of snacks. Simply brilliant! If the driver picks up these items at a big box store, they are literally pennies each. However, this little tiny thing creates huge waves! My friend told me, I’m sure she told others, I’m telling all of the interwebs….and I didn’t even experience it myself!

This is the type of word of mouth marketing that our businesses need. It’s not through fancy referral programs, it’s simply by exceeding our customer’s expectations.

I recently heard this line, and I can’t for the life of me remember where….so if you know please let me know so I can give them credit!

Meeting customer expectations is customer service. Exceeding customer expectations is customer experience.

How are you setting up to exceed customer expectations in your business?
• gift for the dog
• hand-written thank you notes
• bottle of water at the session
• special gift with their order
• chocolate at the ordering appointment

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This article was written by
Nicole Begley

Nicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, is an animal trainer turned pet photographer based in Pittsburgh, PA who also travels the world teaching pet photographers from every corner of the globe. She is the creator of Hair of the Dog, a site dedicated to helping pet photographers run a profitable pet photography studio and has authored a book - Pet and Horse Photography for Everybody. A member of PPA since 2010, Nicole has earned her Master of Photography degree, Photographic Craftsman degree, as well as her Certified Professional Photographer designation. Her work has won several awards at local and district competition, as well as a four-time medalist in the International Print Competition.

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