Business strategy and what catching bubbles can teach you

 In For Photographers

What can business strategy have in common with catching bubbles? Well, I realise that seeing the link between the two can be challenging, but if you stay with me for a while, you will realise why the way you decide your business strategy can be highly improved by me playing with my son!
Everything started the other day in the park; Ethan was in serious need of running and enjoying a nice weather, and he asked me to play with his bubble mixture. It is funny how the more clear ideas struck me in moments that have nothing to do with business. This time was about business strategy and how you can make sure to invest your money wisely.
Let me show you the simple link between the bubbles and your business strategy

The short story before the business strategy

As I mentioned, I was in the park with my son, and he asked me to let him play with the bubble mixture. That meant that I was supposed to blow bubbles better than a bubble machine, and his role would have been the one of the “popper”. For almost ten minutes we had fun with me trying not to hyperventilate while making bubbles fly, and him running round and round popping them. He played with the energy and passion every kid have, as if the bubbles were magic creatures flying around. He did not stop running around, trying to catch first one bubble, than another. The wind was pushing them in every direction, and Ethan seemed not to notice that, in hopping from one bubble to another, he was catching little of them. Not, of course, that it mattered to him; however, this triggered a deep thought in me.
When it came my turn to catch bubbles (yes I did it, and yes, it was fun) I realised that my approach was much more methodical. I was following one bubble until I had it, and then I was jumping to another one. It is the same idea I have about multitasking: you can’t be multitasking. I hit many bubbles, but again, this was not what mattered in the slightest.
When Ethan finally had enough of blowing or catching bubbles and jumped on the swing, the idea that had been growing in the back of my mind for those minutes spent playing suddenly became real; I had just realised the issue many entrepreneur have with their business strategy.

Where the business strategy fits in

I have always thought that the saying “do not place all your eggs in a basket” is a dangerous one to follow if you are launching your own business. The more you “diversify” your offerings, the thinner you spread yourself. The more ideal clients you want to reach, the less you will know them. The more you jump from one bubble to another, without catching the first one, the less bubble you will pop.
Yes, that was what I saw: Ethan’s logic of catching bubbles was similar to the way entrepreneurs plan their business strategy; however, while for Ethan playing the game and having fun was what mattered, for entrepreneurs is the number of bubbles popped that counts.
When you launch your business, there are a lot of bubbles you can reach. Every bubble can be a specific type of ideal customer or a specific type of photographs. It is easy to jump from one to the other without having fist conquered the previous one. Everything is shiny and beautiful, and the neighbour’s grass looks always greener.

the “one paragraph business strategy”

Playing with my son made me realise the “one paragraph business strategy” for launching a business: focus on one thing, without trying to be the jack of all trades and the master of nothing.
To become (and remain) one the leading boudoir photographers in London, we went through dry phases; we saw months with very little income, and women looking at our work as if it was porn and not elegance. Get used to all of this, tighten your grip and move on in becoming the big fish in the small pond before jumping in another pond.

When is the last time you looked at the beauty of a bubble?

Let me finish with a simple thought for those of you who are (or want to be) photographers; when is the last time you looked at the beauty of a bubble? For the next few seconds just leave the idea about your business strategy out and focus exclusively on answering this question: how many times did you ponder over the beauty of the infinite colours that moves on the surface of a bubble? The shades, the reflex coming from the light bouncing on its spherical surface… photography is in the beauty of light; focus on your business strategy if you want, but remember that you are, first and foremost, a photographer. Discover and look at beauty everywhere it can be!

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