Video Production Business Tip – Distractions You May Encounter in Your Video Business

The longer I’ve been in business, the more ways I find there are to get distracted. There seems to be another business opportunity around every corner or at the very least, other ways to run my video production company that excite me but I know, from experience, won’t do a damn thing to move me forward.

Michael and I call these “squirrel” moments when things pop up that cause us to want to change the way we do business even though we have a proven method for growth. Being hard core entrepreneurs, we are always open to new things and the very second we see something that might benefit the company, we attempt to make it part of our process. Then, if we’re lucky, the other one will recognize it for what it is and start yelling “SQUIRREL!!” while running crazy around the room so the other will snap out of it and stay focused on the plan.

As it relates to my video production company, any time I’m faced with an opportunity that I’m excited about exploring, I first ask myself, “What’s that have to do with the price of eggs in China?” This is my way of asking, “How does this work with my business model and how is it relevant to my overall goals?”

If the opportunity will help me move forward, I’ll take the next step. If not, I try to drop it as fast as possible so it doesn’t cause a distraction that can cause me to be less productive… and less profitable.

Here are a couple examples of “squirrel opportunities” you should probably avoid…

EXAMPLE ONE: You do pretty well or at least okay as a wedding filmmaker but a buddy of yours approaches you about a new concept for a hunting show that will air on a network. You think it’s a great idea so you agree to produce the first couple of episodes. After spending days of shooting and weeks or even months in the edit suite to finish the episodes, you realize that your buddy doesn’t know anything about how to get the show on the air.

The only logical next step is for you to figure out how to pitch the show so your efforts up to this point haven’t been a complete waste of time. After careful research and several meetings with TV executives, you learn that getting a show on the air is next to impossible and even if you are successful, the money just isn’t there unless you get extremely lucky. 6 months to a year later, you are back where you were before except your wedding video sales are down 50% and your spouse is not happy that you are a month or two behind on all your bills.

EXAMPLE TWO: You are making pretty good money providing standard corporate video production services when you meet up with a person who has a passion for international ministry work. He just spent a month in Liberia and is determined to do something to help the people in a small village there learn how to become micro-entrepreneurs so they can live a better life. He approaches you about going with him back to Liberia to shoot and edit a documentary that can be used to raise funds and support from businesses and philanthropists back in the United States.

The opportunity to shoot a documentary in Africa gets you so excited that you fail to realize that the person you are dealing with has no way of paying for your trip and it will be completely up to you to either pay your own way or raise the funds. Since you’ve already “sold” yourself on doing the project, you become committed to doing whatever possible to raise the money including learning how to write grants, meeting with non-profit organizations to learn about other funding sources, etc.

Before you know it, it’s time to take the trip that your friend has already scheduled and you still don’t have any or all of the money needed to make it happen. At this point, you have to either kill the deal which means the last several months of research, meetings, etc. are completely lost or you have to reach into your own pockets (savings account or credit card) to pay your way so you can keep the project going.

No matter which way this scenario goes, your core business (corporate video production services) will suffer. If you decide to not go on the trip, you will be playing catch up for all the time you weren’t marketing, selling and producing. If you do go, you’ll be away from your core business even longer which will make it very hard to get back on track when you return. Imagine how much editing you’ll have to do after shooting non-stop for a week in Liberia! It will take months to get back to where you were before this journey began so you have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

Let me be clear on something. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take on projects that are good for your community or that help fuel your passion for things that don’t have anything to do with making money.

What I am saying is that your job, first and foremost, is to run a successful business so you can take care of yourself and your family. Until you have mastered how to run your business in a way that accomplishes that goal, you have to be VERY careful not to let distractions cause you to fail.