Success Stories

Sandy Puc'   |   Sandy Puc' Portrait Design   |   Littleton CO   |   Website

Any review of a year in the life of Littleton, Colorado photographer Sandy (Sam) Puc' should come with a warning: "Don't try this at home." It would be hard to imagine any human being accomplishing as much in one year's time, but this is, in fact, exactly what Sam managed to do in 2008:

"After working with SuccessWare for only a year, we managed to double our sales with half as many clients and I tripled my take-home compensation!"
Sandy Puc'

• Conducted her rave-review "Bellies and Babies" tour, visiting 48 cities, with a total attendance of over 10,000 photographers.

• Served as a member of the Board of Directors of Professional Photographers of America.

• Served as president of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which assists parents and families going through the difficult time when they experience an early infant loss.

• Wrote her first book, The Sandy Puc' Guide to Children's Portraiture.

• Kept her 34-employee Littleton portrait studio operating at capacity.

• Finished her search for a new studio building. The 10,000 square foot building will house Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offices as well as her Expressions Photography business.

• Opened a new boutique shop in downtown Littleton that features exclusive furniture designs and gifts, along with a host of portraiture-related specialty items.

• Began planning a 50-studio children's portraiture educational tour for 2009.

• Continued her martial arts workout regimen.

These accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the enthusiasm Sam brings to raising four great kids with the love and support of her talented husband, Edward, who happens to be a world-class chef. When asked to name her biggest accomplishment of the year, Sam quickly replies that it was without a doubt teaching her 16-year-old daughter Katie to drive and coming to grips with the realization that her first-born was inching further along the road to adulthood.

How Does She Do It?

So how did Sam manage to evolve from a "mom with a camera," who began Expressions Photography in her bedroom, to a multi-tasking human dynamo with huge entrepreneurial and leadership skills? Sam credits her first giant step to recognizing that she needed business management help and doing something about it by attending Ann Monteith's Guerrilla Management Workshop in 2000 and again in 2001. "This experience opened my eyes to what business was all about. For the first time I could see and understand all the many facets of my business that had to be monitored and managed."

Getting on the "Right Track"

At the workshop she was introduced to SuccessWare, which she credits as her single most important tool for keeping her business on track. "I never had a problem with attracting clients," she explains, "but what I needed to learn was how to control my growth to remain profitable. SuccessWare helped me understand the importance of marketing to qualified clients because of the numbers generated by these clients. Without seeing these numbers, and how they relate to each other, the only way I would have to determine whether we were attracting the right kinds of clients for the boutique business we wanted to build would be by the cars they drove and the jewelry they wore, and that can be extremely misleading." SuccessWare is the only way I could objectively know that I was on the right track." The right track indeed: "After working with SuccessWare for only a year, we managed to double our sales with half as many clients and I tripled my take-home compensation!"

One Step at a Time

Because Sam sees so many photographers throughout the year — from newbies to veterans — she strongly advises them about the need to use SuccessWare so that they can take control of their businesses. Because SuccessWare has so many wonderful facets, she also advocates implementing it one step at a time: "We use every aspect of SuccessWare in our business, but I tell photographers that the best way to get started is not to wait around until the 'someday' that never comes to learn all there is to know about the program. Set small goals, celebrate each victory, and then move on to the next step. That way, before you know it, you will master the whole application. When you do this, you'll quickly recognize that every time you add one new piece of SuccessWare, it will change your business for the better."

Lead and Others Will Follow

Sam also has advice for studio owners who must rely on employees to enter their SuccessWare data: "Like most people, employees rarely like change. If you've collected data a different way, they are likely to fight you. But as a leader, it's your job to make them know from the beginning that your decision is not optional. Start using it yourself, and when you lead, others will follow. Today in my business, my employees believe so thoroughly in the advantages of SuccessWare that they will get on the case of anyone who is not making full use of the data it provides. That's when you know you've arrived!"

Planning for the Future

SuccessWare is the key ingredient in the creation of Expressions' annual business plan. All seven of the studio's managers participate in creating the plan. In addition to Sam and her general manager, the following managers are involved in the planning process: marketing, photography, sales, senior department, and financial. "Our annual plan has been the key to assuring that we are making the right decisions about our activities and our growth," she says. 

You can learn more about Sandy at her studio website.

For information on Ann Monteith's Guerrilla Management Workshops, visit AnnMonteith.com.

Next: Jamie Hayes & Mary Fisk-Taylor: A Profit-Producing Partnership

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