The title of this business book by Eli Broad appeals to my creative side. As a small business owner and a creative, we know that being unreasonable can result in breakthroughs or at least original thinking. Broad is probably most known for his business and philanthropic success including KB Home, but in this book he explains a lot of his perspectives on how he ran his businesses and how he chose to run his life as well.
Some of the best lessons that can be applied to a photography agency or any small business that appealed to us included the following:
- Delegate! This is pretty obvious and something we’ve learned but still struggle with. As most photographers start out on their own, we’re often the photographer, sales team, human resources dept, office supply manager and almost everything else! But to grow, you have to be able to let go of things and trust them to others that can do them better. As you learn to let go, you’ll realize that you can focus on the more important things that you excel at and therefore grow your business more effectively.
- Take Risks! Another pretty obvious one and here in the San Francisco Bay Area, folks seem to thrive on failure and not be afraid of it. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? That’s one of the important questions to ask as well as “what do I have to lose?”
- Marketing is key! We’ve always embraced marketing since photography, in th
e commercial sense, is often used in marketing, if not straight out advertising and promotion. But the key to marketing is always keeping in mind what your clients want and need. If you don’t have a client focused perspective, then your marketing may not be making the impact it could be. And related to this, Broad emphasizes the importance of the story you tell. We’ve been reading a lot of business and marketing books and this topic comes up again and again. As a visual storyteller, we may know how to tell stories in images, but it’s vital to be able to do so in words.
All in all the book is a quick read and has some good lessons in it. One of my favorite quotes is the following: “Demand the unreasonable of yourself and you will exceed everyone’s expectations, not least your own.”