For all you budding Master Chefs out there, business is a lot like cooking your favourite dish.
You just need to make sure you have all the right ingredients up front, have enough time to cook the dish just right, and from there the best aromas that will attract the ideal customer.
So how does this translate into business terms? Have all the necessary elements to run your business, plan how to pull all those elements together and then have the right marketing mix to attract your customers.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? If only business was as simple as cooking a cake or a batch of muffins.
Unfortunately, business sometimes feels like we’re cooking a Croquembouche and that’s not a simple process in any imagination.
The main ingredients
What are the simple ingredients you need to gather?
Well, people play one of the most significant parts in anyone’s business and having the right people in your mixture is essential. We’ve probably experienced the all-spicy team member before and we know how that can throw out a great recipe. First consider what kind of mixture of people do you need and most importantly hire them on how they would best fit in with your organisation. You can always train people technically but don’t try and change their personality to fit yours.
Your product or service is the next significant ingredient. Notice I didn’t make this the first. You need to pay particular attention to your product mix. If you only have one product or essential service, this may not seem so important, but you should make sure your products are complimentary of each other therefore enabling the opportunity for up-selling across the range. Be careful not to over load a product range and give too many choices. I’ve observed our fast food outlets, in an attempt to tempt our palette, significantly increasing their menus but I believe it detracts from their core business and it takes so long to now make a decision on what you want to select. Stick to what you’re good at and remove old product offerings when they expire.
The third significant ingredient is your location or presence in the market. Now location doesn’t mean where you in the street or which floor you’re on. It means where in the world do we find you? Are you only located in the local guide or can anyone in the world engage with you because you’re easily locatable via a Google search. If your business hasn’t made an impact on the internet yet, then why not?
The last significant ingredient is your business system. If you don’t have a system of how things are done in your business, you are setting it up for failure. The best businesses have systems right down to how to fill the photocopy machine with paper. It might sound crazy but he who fills the copier up incorrectly could incur the wrath of the copier monster- sounds like a scene from a scary movie. But without systems your business might look like a scary horror film to those coming in to join you. So get those systems under control.
The sweetener ingredients
Now there are many minor ingredients to running your business that you can’t forget to include. These would be equivalent to the seasoning or sweetening of your dish, depending on what kind of business you have. They are just as important to bring all the flavours together and without these mixed in; your business recipe might be a flop. This can include how you greet your customers to how you contact them to collect your money. All important flavourings!
Next is the time to bring it all together. This preparation is the biggest thing we as business owners can fail to do spectacularly. Sometimes it’s the excitement of a new product that drives us, and we can forget to take the time in planning how to present the product to the market. Or we employ a new team member and expect them to be productive from day one, without giving them time to get to know all the systems correctly.
Understanding the time it takes to pull a whole business together is crucial. Even if you have been in business for many years, you should still consider taking time out of your business regularly to plan for the coming year.
Proof of the pudding?
So the last part of a good recipe is the proof in the pudding. When it’s all cooked up, what is it going to smell like to attract me the ideal customer to partake in it? What is the marketing message you are sending out to entice me to buy from you.
Without the right marketing message you might as well be cooking up mass produced junk food! Your products won’t be seen as anything but the run of the mill if the marketing can’t draw in new customers.
You have to stand out from the rest. In this day of technology there are a lot of loud messages coming through to try and compete for your hard earned dollar. As a savvy customer, I’m looking for that little bit extra to show me I’m getting value for money. After all, the value I crave must be bigger than the price I have to pay to get me to buy.
So that’s how we liken a business to cooking. You just hope the tasting and enjoyment at the end meal is worth the blood, sweat and tears required to make it all come together. After all, trying to be a Masterchef is full of these ingredients so business must be just as simple!
©2011 Michelle Gargar