A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into. ~Ansel Adams
A couple days ago I stood along the street in front of a friend’s small business. I hadn’t seen him in several years and asked him how he was doing.
“Business is good.” He said with a confident smile. “We’re doing good.”
“I see your truck parked here all the time.” I said.
He laughed. “I spend more time here than I do at home. But in two more years, then we’ll be set.”
He paused for a minute.
I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. Was it about retirement? Or about the past? Six years ago he made a career change in mid-life.
“Just think,” he began, “we started with an old truck and a little savings. Now we have five offices and seven employees. We had a forty page business plan when we started and surpassed that in the first three years.”
While I agreed with him that his success was partially due to his 24/7 work ethic, I wondered if mapping a seven year business plan today was ‘practical’? Unemployment is still on the rise and nation’s debts are rising. Long gone are the days working for one company for thirty years climbing the corporate ladder. Those shirt and tie and blue collar jobs are out-sourced to other countries. On the other end of the scale, at no other time in the last 100 years with a little knowledge, common sense, sweat and determination, may it be more profitable and challenging to start your own small business. But a business plan? I wondered.
I wondered because of what is being called today the Generation Flux where there is no set plan. The business model is chaotic. How to prepare for it? By being diverse with as many skills as possible. Flexibility is the best defense in uncertain times.
Like every where else in the world, in motion picture, cinematography and the photography industry budgets are being cut. To succeed—creativity is in. Look outside the box. Knowing how to get a project financed is just as important as knowing how to light a set, get the best sound and white balance a camera.
In just the last ten years, cameras themselves have moved from bulky tape based Video8 cameras (standard definition 720 x 480 pixels), to HD cameras (1080 pixels interlaced and progressive for consumers and production), to the all digital Red 5K, 4K and 3K resolution (5, 4 and 3 times the resolution of HD cameras), to now the latest in technology–the pocket Lytro Light Field camera. Still cameras shoot video and video cameras shoot stills. Cameras like the Phantom Gold at 1000 frames a second in full HD show us life slowed down in an ever accelerating world. Production cameras that cost sixty-five to seventy thousand dollars were once the industry standard. They are now being replaced by ten to fifteen thousand dollar cameras making the consumers choice for how we receive our entertainment and information—the internet, alive with a plethora of video content. Making movies and taking pictures with an IPhone and posting it on the web is an everyday occurrence. The internet has become our own personal theater and our mega super store. Suddenly we’ve become paralyzed with choice overload. We can’t decide what to watch or buy. Trying to wrap a successful business plan around all this is like pulling a white elephant out of a top hat.
I think it all comes down to two things.
One. Having passion for what you do. And two . . . telling a story.
Some of the most successful people I’ve met aren’t the richest but are the most passionate about an area of interest in the world. Their bucket runs over with exuberance. They can tell you everything about the biology of an Archaeopteryx or an Oncorhynchus. This leads to them being passionate about books, adventure, travel, discoveries, birds and fish. I’ve met people passionate about mathematics. They want to know the “how is it possible” and the “why it happens” in a language of numbers, calculations and formulas. Their passion leads to discovery’s in medicine and engineering which helps others build upon their life’s passion. I’ve met artists in music, writing, painting, photography and dance. They’re passionate about what they do and all share one thing in common.
They all have a desire to tell a story.
They have a desire to understand so that they can share a story we can all relate to.
It’s all we really have. And having passion for what you do in business is not only a good plan, but it’s also a plan for life.