I entered the year 2012 with a clear intention on what I want to do.

Because in 2011, I didn’t like the way the company was going.

Despite many of the great clienteles and experiences we had that year, we’re becoming too big too fast, while slowly losing our passion and direction. We hadn’t attracted enough of the right kind of clients, and we feel that we only did what we did for the money.

But most of all, we’re doing what everybody else was doing. Everything is automatic.

Sure the money was good, the Excel graphics were going up. But as a passionate, idealistic company, I saw that we’re going downwards.

And for me, being passionate and being able to stand up for something are the most important things you can build in a company.

Like I’ve said many times before: I don’t what this company to become a prostitute.

This is not to say that revenue is not important. Because how do you build a company full of dreams and passionate people without revenue?

But there’s a lot of difference in getting paid for being a prostitute and getting paid for doing what you strongly believe.

So I initiated the changes that we affectionally call The New Direction. (Hey, what can I say, Glee was so hot back then.)

Here is some of the key writings that reflect that direction:

This is when I promised things are going to change around here.

This is when I shared what I think good pictures are all about.

This is a quote from Seth Godin that I think reflect this industry right now.

This is when I wrote about why we put sambal on everything and the reason why we don’t have album revisions.

This is when I said that photographs are not CCTV recordings, where everything is recorded from every angle, all the time.

And the latest are my interview videos on should or shouldn’t you do a prewedding and my invitation to do more preweddings in our own country.

We also spend time, energy, and money on doing projects that we like. Most notably was The Exhibition Lagu Baru. I love the fact that our first solo exhibition was not about ‘weddings’ but about ‘telling stories’. There’s a difference there.

* * * * *

What happened after these changes? Well:

A lots of potential clients never called back after a meeting. Then the phone calls/emails did not come as often as it used to.

We halt the momentum that we built until 2011. And:

Our profit this year dropped to just 15% of what we made last year.

That’s a lot to take 🙂

But we expected this. We know this would happen. Markets don’t like change, especially changes that do not give them a ‘better’ deal. So we’re prepared for this hit.

Still, that’s a lot to take 🙂

But is there any good to this foolishness? Did we find what we are looking for?

Well, what I can say is, in 2012:

We stood up for what we believe.

We stopped saying, “Welllll…..” (then a long pause, than weakly said),”we can do that….”

The clients that showed up in our doorstep, even though there’s fewer of them now, are the clients that believe what we believe. And I think that is the most amazing clientele a (creative) company could have.

We became amazingly sharp: We know why we are here, we know who we are, and we know where we are going.

In terms of style and character, we see more clearly the vision of what we want to become, so we stop shooting everything under the sun, and we become more focused.

More and more crazy-talented people are offering themselves to join our crew, despite the long and hard work we’re heading.

And since there’s no revisions now, the team’s energy is used to make breakthroughs and build quality, instead of servicing clients that are not our right fit from the start. And should I state the obvious that they are more happy and passionate now?

* * * * *

So what are the points that I’m making?

1. The New Direction Intiative is a success.

It’s been a hard and long journey, but I think we successfully steer the ship into the right direction this time. Turning the ship’s wheel might be hard work, but keeping this company on course is a much bigger challenge that awaits us this year. Support us, and pray for us.

2. You have to pay for your dreams.

By your time, your energy, your money, and your lack of good night’s sleep. You will have to pay.

Because if you’re only doing what everybody else was doing, you’re taking the low-risk, return-guaranteed road that everybody else is using. And that is not a dream. That is mediocrity. And beware, mediocrity will strangle you slowly from outside, and from the inside.

So if you want to build your dream: You will have to pay. The bigger the dream, the more expensive it is.

3. Money is a whole lot of things, but not everything.

If we made the decisions we made in 2012 based on money, and not on vision and passion, we will definetely have more money now. But not for long I suppose. Just a quick cash. In the long term, vision and passion will flourish and stand the test of markets and time.

4. We’re coming back. In a big way, in the right way.

This year, we’re feeling, hoping, and praying, that the seeds we’re planting will bear their sweet fruits: Healthy profits, matching clientele, passionate projects. And thank God, a lot of the things we’re experiencing now is signing us that we’re headed that way. So many clients already sign up for the year 2013, and so many projects are on our plate already in this first week of the year.

* * * * *

So was 2012 a bad year?

Not one bit.

Have you ever heard the saying: “An arrow can be sent forward only by pulling it back.”

We’d like to think that 2012 was the year where we stopped shooting blindly everywhere, stood still, examined where we want to go, aimed the bow, and pulled back the string.

2013 is, hopefully, where the arrow will be released and hit the target.

Let’s get to work.

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5 thoughts on “What Do You Think Happened When A Company Lost 85% of Its Profit?

  1. Ko Edward I am huge fan of your writing. Ko bolehkah request supaya tulisannya lebih besar lagi ? karena sudah di-zoom juga dari komputer saya tetep kecil jadi susah bacanya 😛 Thank you Ko. Jesus bless you & your family!

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