Learn from Businesses Outside of Photography.

Too often photographers want everything they learn to be presented and packaged specifically for the photography industry.  I think this is a big mistake.  I learned more that could help my photography business reading the 4 Hour Work Week and the E-myth than I did at the last photography convention I attended (although I think both are important).  I can honestly say that I have learned more things about running a successful business from my friends and acquaintances that are Doctors, Restaurateurs, and business owners than I have photographers (No Offense,  I have much more in common with you guys and my photographers friends have inspired my photography, but we are talking about BUSINESS HERE!).

To me the greatest parallel businesses I find are restaurants.  They have an ego-manic (the chef) who must sub-due the focus on his “art” (his food) to focus briefly on the running of a business.  People don’t need to eat out, just like they don’t need to have a professional portrait taken, but clients sure enjoy both.  There are also parallels in the type of restaurants when compared to studios.  Fast food is comparable to the department store and mall photographers.  The cheap Mexican and Chinese place are comparable to the cheap studio with the tacky furniture.  There are parallels in higher end business as well.

The point is we know photography, when we do something stupid in our photography business we justify it by saying it is because photographer have always done whatever it is.  But when you compare doing that same thing in another type of business you can quickly see how bone-headed the business practice really is.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on March 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “Learn from Businesses Outside of Photography.”

  1. would love to hear what things you learned from outside the photography business that has helped in your business!

    • Wow, almost everything, my entire business is set up just like my doctors office. I don’t do anything in my business except photograph and map the direction of our company. I have learned how to identify my clients just like a restaurant does. They don’t hide their menu and try to appeal to everyone. Sales, from my BMW sales person, time share salesmen in Mexico, Tom Hopkins, Friend on mine that owns a art gallery. I try to look at each business that I do business with as a place to learn something. I have gotten ideas for advertisements from the salon/day spa my wife goes to. There are great ideas in every business you visit, provided you do business with a business like yours!

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