Thursday, May 02, 2013

Starting a New Business - the Systems Thinking Way

I am starting a new business. I am not giving up my work as a business advisor, but I do need a change of pace. Ten years of working to improve other people's businesses have taken a toll.

You might think "a change of pace" means I want to slow down. On the contrary, I want to speed up. The very, very slow, cumbersome, and obsolete systems and processes at most companies are very difficult to adapt to.

I need to do something challenging, and I need a test bed for ideas. I also happen to love photography, especially trick photography, so, I am setting up a photography business.

I am of course applying Maneuver Conflict and Systems Thinking ideas to the new business.

Here are some of the things I am doing differently from other photographers:

To succeed in business, you need to try a bit harder, and do things other people can't or won't do.
Finding a unique segment: Most photographers focus on weddings, portraiture or advertising. I focus on trick photography. It means I do something no other professional photographer in gothenburg does.
  • Lots of photographers shoot weddings. I am the only one that make the bride and groom fly, levitate, or be quite literally joined together. (You can do some amazing flesh manipulation techniques these days...)
  • Lots of photographers shoot children. I am the only one that can shrink a whole class of school children and put them in a lunch box.
  • Lots of photographers shoot products. I can make the products levitate, sparkle, etc., without an advertising agency.
  • Lots of photographers shoot portraits. Almost everyone does it using soft light and clamshell setups. I do that too, but I also offer soft light setups, hard light setups, night setups (in broad daylight)... and I can turn you into a zombie or cat creature.

Delivery: Most photographers deliver files on DVD, and framed prints. I deliver the files on USB sticks, because newer computers often do not have DVD players. I do deliver framed prints, but I also print on t-shirts, mugs, phone and tablet shells, and hundreds of other things. 

I bet people want to see, and show off, their pictures all the time, when they walk along a street, drink a cup of coffee, or pick up their phones.

My clients can order through a web form, and they can customize items themselves if they like, for example by adding or changing text, changing colors of items, and so on. I have set up a small public store to showcase 
what I can do.

Hadouken is a Japanese photo craze where you imitate Manga style fights, complete with Ki based energy attacks. Probably not what you would choose for a corporate group portrait. Then again, it might be...
Events and courses: I have started organizing photo events. The first one is a Hadouken photo event, on Saturday, 4 May. More will follow. If a special event is successful, elements from that event will be included in photography courses.

In short, I am constantly, and very consciously, looking for things I can do that will delight customers.
Will I succeed? I will if what I do is interesting enough: Interesting to customers, and interesting enough so that people will want to spread the word.

Here are links to my photography web site, and my photography blog.

Check them out. You might like them! :-)