We recently attended a change of command ceremony involving our son, who’s moving on to a new assignment with the army. While I love the flexibility of being in the private sector, I realized something as I met many of his staff and associates – everybody knows what their job is and what’s expected of them. There’s an infrastructure of responsibility in place that’s well-defined.

I’ve been in so many studios over there years and worked with even more freelance photographers. In the majority of businesses, there’s little structure but incredibly fast response time when something unexpected comes up.

As sole proprietorships, so little is defined, and while it’s great to be flexible and be able to pivot, does everybody in your company understand their role? Many of you are like me – a one-man band or one-person band if you want me to be more PC.

Even if you’re the only person in your company – have you defined what needs to be done with every customer?

  • Do you have a system to follow up on customer satisfaction?
  • Is there a system in place to handle screw-ups immediately?
  • Do you have a contact tree in place for outside support when something goes wrong?
  • How often do you check your website for load times, as well as on different platforms?
  • Do you need more help? And are there things that a family member could help you with?
  • Do you have a network in place for support in those areas where you lack the expertise to solve problems?

The bottom line is easy – take the time to think about what it would take to make your business run like a well-oiled machine. And when something does go wrong, what do you have in place to resolve issues quickly?

Even flying solo as a business owner…it still takes a village!