So I joined a book club! Can you believe it? I know, pretty awesome right? It’s six of us photographers from The Photography Issue Facebook Group and it’s my first month being part of it and I’m loving it so far. Book reviews are required at the end of each month, which at first I thought would be horrible but it’s actually pushed me to evaluate each chapter after reading it, take notes, and then shorten them into this list of lessons learned for my review! So I loved it. The book we had to read this past month was “E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. I took so many notes but they’re quite lengthy and personal, so I thought a list of my favourite takeaways from the book would be better :) After writing out the review I thought I might as well share it here with you guys, too. *WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD!*
ONE. My business must be run less according to what I want, and more according to what the business needs.
TWO. I need to be less afraid of outsourcing the things I don’t need to be doing so that I can focus my efforts on other, more important things.
THREE. My aim should be to provide something that satisfies a need in the marketplace that has never been satisfied before. Think out of the box.
FOUR. The Entrepreneurial Perspective – one in which the future is envisioned and then acted upon. “In other words, I realised that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one.” – Gerber.
FIVE. It’s not what you sell. It’s how you sell it. “What Ray Kroc understood at McDonald’s was that the hamburger wasn’t his product. McDonald’s was.” – Gerber. How do you sell your product?
SIX. “Your business is not your life.” – Gerber
And while I KNOW that my business is NOT my life, I really do want my business to be a part of my life in a loving, honest, sincere, natural and organic way. I think that would be beautiful. So I’m not sure if I’m totally on his wavelength on this one, but I did like what he said here: “Your business is something apart from you, rather than a part of you, with its own rules and its own purposes. An organism, you might say, that will live or die according to how well it performs its sole function: to find and keep customers Once you recognise that the purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life, you can then go to work on your business, rather than in it, with a full understanding of why it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.” - Gerber
SEVEN. “Work on your business, not in your business.” – Gerber
This really accentuates the fact that I need to improve the business as a product as opposed to solely focusing on the product in my business. I feel like improving my business as a product would improve business as a whole. “Where working on your business rather than in your business will become the central theme of your daily activity, the prime catalyst for everything you do from this moment forward. In other words, pretend that you are going to franchise your business. (Note: I said pretend).”
EIGHT. Value matters. Provide value that goes above and beyond all expectations. “What is Value? Value is what people perceive it to be, and nothing more. So what could your prototype do that would not only provide consistent value to your customers, employees, suppliers, and lenders but would provide it beyond their wildest expectations?” - Gerber
NINE. Order Matters. “A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they are doing. A business that looks orderly says to your people that you know what you’re doing. A business that looks orderly says that while the world may not work, some things can. A business that looks orderly says to your customer that he can trust in the result delivered and assures your people that they can trust in their future with you. A business that looks orderly says that the structure is in place.” - Gerber
TEN. Consistency matters. People like to know what to expect. That is what makes them return over and over again and become repeat customers. I loved this. I want people to know what to expect when they come to Alex Beadon Photography.
ELEVEN. Innovate, Quantify, Orchestrate. I love the idea of looking at various things in the business almost as an experiment. I like the idea of asking, “How could this be done better?”, making a change and being able to numerically measure whether or not it has improved sales and then orchestrating those changes. BAM!
TWELVE. Create your life actively. Know what you want. Imagine it. Be it. “I believe it’s true that the difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next.”- Gerber
THIRTEEN. “Create such organisation in your business as if you were making it to be a prototype for 5,000 more just like it.”- Gerber
I loved the ideas of job descriptions for yourself, work rules, etc.. and I will be applying these to Alex Beadon Photography this week! I will have an “admin” job description. A “marketing” job description. A “photographer” job description. etc… These will collide with rules such as dress code, behaviour, etc.. so that I can really be the best I can possibly be and create a unique and consistent experience for my fabulous customers.
FOURTEEN. Focus on what your customer feels as she leaves contact with your business. THAT is what you sell. “In the factory Revlon manufactures cosmetics, but in the store Revlon sells hope.” This leaves me wondering, “What do I make my customers feel?” This is so important and something I have been thinking about a lot.
FIFTEEN. Customers are so perceptive to every single thing about your business, from the colours, shapes, sounds, smells, clothes etc.. Make sure everything is done properly and with purpose.
Overall I think the book was pretty awesome. I’d rate it a 7/10, and that’s pretty high if you ask me. It didn’t 100% apply to the kind of business that I’m in, but I still felt that there were so many parts of it that were still very relevant. So even though I didn’t agree or couldn’t relate with every single aspect of the book, I really enjoyed this read. It opened my eyes to a few things in particular and has really made me ask some very important questions. I know without a doubt that the answers to these questions will push my business in a positive direction – and that’s all I could have asked for!
I will be posting all book reviews here on the blog each month, so if you want to keep up with us so that you actually know what I’m talking about next time – the book is going to be ‘The Heart of Success’ by Rob Parsons.
Big huge hugs to you all and I hope you have the most beautiful Saturday evening :)