Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Organic Process Professional Photographer

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/5000
This "Chicken Man" was on the road between Tenkodogo and Ouagadougou in the country of Burkina Faso, West Africa. These are "free range" chickens that they tie their feet together to take them to market.

Instead of ordering "free range" chickens off the menu they are called "bicycle chicken." They get that name as you can see on how they are brought to market.

We hear today the benefits of eating natural organic food. We think of organic as natural process.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/400
Mergers and acquisitions, which is inorganic growth, is an aggressive approach to growing a business. While most photographers are too small to think of merging or acquisitions the aggressive approach to business is what is hurting their growth.

When you start a small business, you must focus on growing your customer base, reinvesting profits in new assets for greater income, and improving productivity to increase your bottom line. All of these efforts are examples of organic growth. In a nutshell organic growth is focused on preplanning and being prepared for the future.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 125, ƒ/14, 1/250
Photographers need to operate their business like a farmer. He prepares the ground, plants the seeds, weeds the fields, waters the crop and when storms are predicted does what they can to protect the crop. The percentage of the farmers time is in the preparation versus the harvest.

Advice for the photographer

  • Dream first of what you hope for
  • Think of all the steps necessary for you to reach that dream
  • Invest your time and energy in getting the things you need to make the dream a reality
  • Create your action plan
  • Execute the plan
Couple major insights from the farmer. There is a season for planting and a season for harvesting. The farmer clears the fields when they first start. They may have to clear trees and brush as well as remove rocks and stones from their fields before they can plow the fields to prepare the ground for the seeds.

In West Africa the farmer is so poor they cannot buy fertilizer. It costs more than they will get out of the harvest. Many of these farmers will plant two seeds in field because if they get enough rain then one of the plants will thrive, but if it is a dry season the other plant will do better.

Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/500
This farmer here working the fields in Koudougou, Burkina Faso.  This is part of the bible school where they not only teach theology, but farming to help the pastors feed their families while they minister as a bi-vocational pastor.

Photographers may need to be bi-vocational as well today.

Overnight Success

You will look like an overnight success only if you are prepared. There are some things in your dream that you will try and force to happen. We all do this and then we slowly learn that sometimes the problem was we have been planting seeds in the fall and not the spring or we were trying to harvest in the spring rather than the fall.

Here are a few things to help you become that overnight success.

  1. Have an elevator speech ready [earlier blog on elevator speech]
  2. Have ideas ready for clients – Don't just show your portfolio, do some research and have some ideas that you can pitch to them when that opportunity presents itself.
  3. Prepared replies – Think about those situations that a client may ask you to do something and how you should respond. The more you can anticipate issues the better you will come off when they come up.
You have heard of Natural Leaders–Well they are really those who have invested a lot of time on the front end. You may have also heard of those who are "Good Natured." Well most likely they have thought about situations enough to one know how to respond or to understand how a situation isn't a problem to begin with anyway. You know how to go with the flow because you have thought enough about things prior that your response is actually well thought out.

This is a really key thing to understand. You need to know enough about your industry to be able to know how to be very flexible and when to take those "organic moments" and speak into them. 

A farmer who has plans to put the seeds into the ground one week and realizes that if they move it up a few days they can take advantage of the rain verses loosing days because they were delayed.

The photographer who has invested some time into thought about their business is prepared like the farmer. So the question is how well prepared are you?

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