As in any other business or venture, sustainability remains a great challenge to most photography firm owners in Malawi. In many cases, quality has been compromised and delivery has been made out of the agreed period. In fact, companies have fallen as a result of lack of sustainability strategies.
Daniel Soko, Executive Director and Founder of Star Media, is of the view that improper business plans in photography is the major contributing factor to low growth or seizure of operations of photography companies. Established in 2013, Star Media has grown from strength to strength.
The success of Star Media has been harvested from integrity, royalty, and good relationships with clients. According to Soko, building relationships in the business has greatly contributed to the sustainability of his company since it has always made it possible for him to generate income at all times.
“Clients need you as a business person to give them full attention whenever they are accessing services from you. You cannot just treat them anyhow, especially when you are dealing with female clients. You will appreciate that women easily attach emotions when doing business and you have to be clever enough not to fall into their trap,” explained Soko.
Soko added that professionalism in the photography industry is one key rule for sustaining the business. “As a professional photographer you have the Do's and the Dont's if you are to make things right in this industry. Always treat everyone with respect and dignity. Although it is mandatory to create relationships for the success of every business, it is your responsibility to always check on the degree of the relationship for fear of ending up in a friendship.”
However, he pointed out the need to keep skills and knowledge updated as it always adds value to your business. Soko said that he spends most of his time digging out more from books and the Internet and exploring more skills and secrets in photography.
“No one is a know-it-all. If you want to grow, learn to appreciate other people's work. I always spare a good time on YouTube and Instagram appreciating other people's work. It really helps in sustaining your business,” said Soko.
He said updating skills is essential in every business as it is always adds value to your current status. As in the law of the lid, the higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.
Soko said that whatever you will accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others. He has trained two people in photography who always cover him in case of his inability to execute his duties. “The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others,” he narrated.
Patronizing events like Mzuzu Pitch night under the leadership of Wangiwe Joana Kambuzi from the Mzuzu Entrepreneurs Hub, which happens every month in Mzuzu, is also said to have greatly impacted the sustainability of his business as it has given light to financial management skills which is another major challenge to entrepreneurs.
Star Media specializes in wedding photography and videography, individual portraits, cooperate events, documentaries, and is one of the major photography companies in Mzuzu having worked for big clients like Airtel Malawi, Africa Lift Inc, Zabro-Williams Foundation, Ned Bank and Chatonda Lodge