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POUNDS News
The Professional Photographer's Newsletterhttp://www.poundslabs.com/
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     We would like to thank you – on behalf of all of our staff in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston – for being the center of the Pounds family.  We are proud to begin our 30th year of service to our customers and industry friends.  Your support has been essential to attaining this notable milestone, and we will work hard every day to continue to earn your trust and confidence.  Whatever your goals and dreams are for the New Year, we hope that they include our company's products and services.  As you enjoy a wonderful holiday with family and friends, remember you have shared the gift that keeps on giving. . . you have captured the memory.

We look forward to your continued success in 2006!  Happy New Year from the entire Pounds Team.

The Future of Film at Pounds
As mentioned in our previous newsletter and in our November 30th statement insert, we will be implementing new changes regarding the future of our film services.  (Click here if you would like to see a copy of that announcement.)  Over the last 12 to 24 months we have seen a vast change in our business as the majority of our work has shifted from film based to digitally based. In 2006 we may find that it is no longer practical to print optically.  This does not mean that we will not be able support those of you who do not want to leave your film cameras behind.  We will continue to process film and service the optical photographer for years to come with a film to digital workflow. 

We are continuing to contact customers who account for most of our optical production to talk with you about your plans and how we can continue to support you whether you chose to stay with film or move towards digital.  If you would like to make sure your voice is heard we have posted a questionnaire on our web site.  Keep an eye out for more information about this issue in future newsletters and on our web site.

Houston Service Center
We have recently relocated our Houston Service Center.  Click here for more information.

PROS
Are you taking advantage of the free, easy to use, most talked about software on the market today?  To download PROS, just click here and go!  Pounds customers have access to an extensive range of products and services for every photographic event.  Where else can you find comprehensive solutions to your needs?

PROS Upload Scheduling 
PROS allows you the ability to schedule when your uploads occur.  A significant drop in bandwidth usage exists between 10:00PM and 8:00AM.  By scheduling your PROS uploads during this time of day, you will avoid tying up your PC with uploading processes during day-time hours.  Moreover, when the uploads do occur during this late schedule, they will likely take less time to complete.  Click to see step-by-step instructions on how to schedule uploads.

We appreciate your use of PROS and will assist you to make it less time consuming.  If you have any questions or concerns about this please contact us at digitalhelp@poundslabs.com.

PROS Gold and Silver Stamp Options
Gold and Silver Stamp options will soon be available through PROS on all Machine and Standard Unit Package Prints.  Keep an eye out on our web site or on the PROS Tip of the Day screen for more information about this.

PROS Minimum Order Requirements
There is a $5.00 minimum order requirement when placing an order through PROS for “Machine Print” products, as well as a $15.00 minimum requirement when placing “Pic A Pac” and “Memory Mate” type products.  If you are subject to Sales Tax – it will be applied to the minimum order requirement.  If you have any questions regarding order requirements, please contact customer service or e-mail us.

PROS Proof Ordering
To qualify for proof pricing, an order must contain at least 10 images, and have the same print sizes and quantities ordered from each image. 

2006 Graphics
Effective immediately, all graphics containing 2005 artwork will be updated to 2006.

Have something to say?
Good or bad, we want to know!  Tell us what you think of our products.  What do you like?  Not like?  What would make our products better?  What additional products would you like to see us offer?  Your valuable input will make our partnership stronger and more valuable!  Please send your comments and suggestions to poundsmarketing@poundslabs.com.

Ordering Tips and Tracks

Trace Our Tracks!
Order Tracking and Account Status information may be accessed from the Pounds web site.   From our web site, simply navigate and log in to Customer Home and select “Order Tracking and Account Status”.  Click on Order Summary to view orders from the past 60 days.  This page will tell you the date your order was received, the production due date, the date it was invoiced, and the date it was shipped.  By clicking on the order number you may access more information about a specific order - shipment tracking number and information.

PROS Order Summary
Now you can view your PROS Order Summary page from our web site! From our web site, simply navigate and log in to Customer Home and select “PROS Order Summary”.  Enter a Pounds order number for an order submitted through PROS and click on the “Get Page” button.

Mistakes Happen
If, by chance, you send an order electronically and realize you made a mistake, there is a possibility you will be able to stop the order when sent during the business hours of 8:00AM and 5:30PM.  Automated orders move into production within minutes of our receiving them, so if you need to stop or change an order and it is during regular business hours, please call us either toll free at  800-350-5671 or in the Dallas area at 214-688-1425.  Outside of normal hours, please send an e-mail to orderprocessing@poundslabs.com telling us in the subject line to cancel or change this order number.  Orders we are asked to change or cancel are subject to a $3.00 charge plus charges for any work that we have already performed.

Creating Multiple Final Prints on a Single Canvas Print Size
Customers using Photoshop or other image editing software to place multiple images on a single canvas print size should be aware of the restrictions related to lab color correction and mounting processes.  We can only color correct the overall canvas print size image and not the individual images contained within the canvas print size.  Moreover, our processes do not facilitate the mounting of individual images from the entire canvas print size. 

Multiple images may be created on one canvas but will be delivered as a single print.  No trimming or individual mounting may be ordered.

A single image of an odd size may be created on a standard canvas size.  We will trim the image to the final print size if the text “Trim to ??x??” is included on the canvas.  Mounting may be ordered and will be billed at the size of the canvas.  (An image trimmed to 9x12 from an 11x14 canvas will be billed as an 11x14.)

Digital Education

Pounds 2006 Digital Education Programs
Don't miss out on Pounds 2006 educational outreach near you!  In a collaborative effort with industry experts and suppliers, Pounds has developed educational venues to assist you in developing your skills and business for growth.  We are extremely proud to announce the dynamic lineup of expert speakers and topics that will facilitate your path to success!

Take your pick from high energy leading industry presentations to in-depth hands-on workshops where you'll learn successful marketing techniques, time efficient digital workflows and master the new world of digital capture.

The 2006 Education Agenda can all be found on our web site at poundslabs.com/digitaleducation.

Embracing Podcasts
Previously, podcasting was a technology that only techies would have known about.  In 2005, podcasting exploded and now it is a popular medium of spreading information.  In fact, the medium has become so popular that the New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen “podcast” as the 2005 Word of the Year.  As defined, a podcast is “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player.”  With that note, podcasts also paved the way to vodcasts which is used to deliver video on demand in the same way as audio podcasts are. 

What does this have to do with you?  Since podcasting is a means of spreading information, it’s a great opportunity to embrace the technology and learn new things.  With this, we would like to encourage you to subscribe (free of charge by the way) to the Photoshop TV vodcast.  Each week, the “Photoshop Guys” will give you a quick look into what’s new in the Photoshop world, show you real-world Photoshop tips and shortcuts, interview industry professionals, and more.  A perk of watching is not only gaining Photoshop knowledge and becoming a Photoshop guru, but you’ll have many opportunities to interact with the show and win many prizes such as iPods, books and more.

When you next get a chance, download (or subscribe) to Photoshop TV.  This weekly program is completely free to view.  There are also a plethora of other interesting Podcasts on the Internet.  Utilizing popular portals such as iTunes and Yahoo! are a great way to discover programs you are sure to enjoy.  So welcome this opportunity as a way to learn something new to help you succeed in 2006.

Photoshop TV:  Subscribe in iTunes   |   Photoshop TV web site
Related Links:  iTunes  |  Yahoo! Podcasts  |  Wikipedia: Podcasting

A Message from Kathy Howerton. . .
Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc.
Marketing Administrator

Creating and Following a Business Plan – What to do, How to Do It and Why. . .
     Why create a business plan?  The most important reason for writing a business plan is to develop a guide that you will follow throughout the lifetime of your business.  The business plan is a blueprint of your business and will provide you with the tools to analyze and implement changes that will make your business more profitable.  Consider the alternative – just drifting along aimlessly, hoping that one day good fortune will fall into your lap with little or no effort on your part!  Ha!  The goals you set, the customer you strive to create, and the methods you use will either contribute to or detract from your likelihood of success – plan well, develop a reputation for excellence, and remember – no customer exists until you create them.
     These following thoughts are intended to provide you with the direction and the tools you’ll need to build a financially rewarding and personally fulfilling business.  Keep in mind – one of the most important factors in success is persistence and willingness to work hard.  Have a passion for what you do and believe that you can do it. 
     A business plan seeks to answer three fundamental questions:  What do I want?  When do I want it?  What has to happen between now and then?  Start thinking with the end in mind.  Before you begin - you need to know where you expect to finish.  Develop an exit strategy!  Think of your long-term goals – the most obvious being retirement.  Some potential forms of exit include:  selling all or a portion of the business (knowing what kind of market you can expect for your type of business), passing the business to a family member (who will that be, how will you train them, when to make the transition), or the best option may be to liquidate (discontinue conducting business, sell off the business assets, pay off creditors, and keep the proceeds after taxes) - this is common for sole proprietor service businesses where income production is dependent solely on the owner practicing his or her skills.  If you are seeking lenders and investors to provide debt or equity capital for your company, they will want to see a complete, well-written business plan with a well thought out exit strategy.  An exit strategy is not a plan for failure – it is a plan for success!  Now, let’s get started. . .

Focus - “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”  Peter F. Drucker
Your immediate survival and your long term success are dependent on you succeeding in generating a sufficient number of targeted customers.  You must devote regular time and energy to creating future customers that are ever more profitable to serve.  Create your customer.  Satisfaction from what you do comes from the people you associate with – choose well!

Know Your Niche – Photography is based on capturing the memories of predictable life events.  Marriage, birth of a child, school, sports, career related events and so on.  Find out what they really want and need, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and create your pitch.  Make it so important that they will no longer want to live or work without it.

Analyze the Competition – How many photographers are in your area?  What products and services do they provide?  What do they do to create customers?  How can you differentiate yourself?  Investigate prices of other photographers, check out their Web sites and remember - the goal of your business is to make a profit.

Be Realistic – Set realistic, specific and measurable goals, objectives, milestones and targets.  You have to be absolutely clear about what you value and that can take some painful soul searching.  Some people won’t set goals because they don’t want to place limitations on themselves.  The reality is that you cannot do everything, so choosing is vital to getting what really matters to you.  One thing for certain, you’ll need to earn money to pay your bills and provide for the things that you want in your future.  Monetary goals need to be reflected in your budget so that your business plan incorporates the appropriate amount of activity necessary to achieve them.  With an effective plan you can either increase the number of clients or increase your profitability.  Earn the amount of money your budget calls for.  Objectives are things you must achieve to attain the goal – how many clients will you need to reach your goals?  Milestones are exercises that lead to attaining the objectives.  Targets are those manageable daily activities that lead to the milestones.  Schedule the time and place to meet new clients.

Marketing Strategy – Meet people, make friends, give service, ask for referrals – that’s it.  I wish there were more to it than that.  Grow your business!  The wonderful thing about a personal service business is that your number one objective is to meet people that will rave about you to everyone they know.  You can do that anywhere you like.  If you like sports – go to the games – these people have jobs, families, friends and neighbors.  The possibilities are endless.  Do what you love to do!

Marketing Plan – Marketing is simply taking control of a piece of a persons mind.  Your goal is to take and hold the number one position in the minds of your customers.  It’s all about positioning.  And if you cannot immediately get the number one position, take the number two position and be consistent.  Eventually the number one position will open up and you will fill it nicely.  Treat everyone you meet as a potential customer, show them what you do and the benefits of working with you.  Most people don’t know what they want until you enlighten them.  Go the extra mile and they will sing your praises. 

Implement the Plan – Being busy does not equate to being effective.  Did you work today?  Did you meet with someone?  Did you add a new client?  Time management is critical to maintaining any balance and keeping you on course.  Now – go out and do it!  You must go out and talk to people about your business.  And what you talk about should be aligned with your strategy. 

Review and Analyze – What gets measured gets done.  As a business person you must put in place a measure of accountability.  You can review your progress weekly and have fifty two opportunities to correct course.

"We would like to help you reach your goals by providing you with the tools, education, and quality products to service your customers.  Our goal is to send your business soaring in 2006. 
Best of luck and Happy Prosperous New Year."

-Kathy Howerton
The business that fails to plan - plans to fail.
By The Way. . .

Imaging USA – Right in your own backyard!!
January 22-24, 2006 – Austin, Texas
3 Co–Located Events – PPA Annual Convention, IAPEP’s Sports & Event Photographers Conference, and CPI’s Commercial Photography Conference! 

The 2 for 1 Buddy Pass is a great deal.  Only $189 for you and a friend to attend three big events. (Member rate for PPA, IAPEP, & CPI members)  For more information and a complete list of speakers and schedule information visit: http://www.imagingusa.org/.

Texas School of Professional Photography
Don’t forget! Only a few days remain until the Texas School 2006 registration begins.  For more information concering this year's TSPP, visit their web site.  To view the Instructor Gallery for 2006, click here.

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Date of Publication: January 1, 2006
Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc. • 901 Regal Row, Dallas, TX  75247 • (800)350-5671
©2005 Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc.  All rights reserved.  All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.