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Business Advice for Food Businesses

Peace and Joy

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Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

Peace and Joy

What does Peace and Joy have to do with being a business owner?  Simple: You chose to be a business owner, and there should be peace and joy in your heart for your business and the people who run it with you.    We all know that it has it's thankless moments. This blogpost is not focused on the thankless moments.  Rather, this blogpost is about the peace and joy you can get from being a business owner.  The best way to explore such an idea, is to look at a living legend:  Ari Zingerman.  Last month I attended a two day workshop called “The Zingerman’s Experience”, with one of my clients. The Zingerman's brand has a whimsical look, but thankfully for us, his whim took shape with vision, systems and laws of business.   When you, as an owner, get stumped, you might need vision, systems and laws for you and your staff. The workshop confirmed for me, yet again, that owners need support that keeps them on track. Consider if you have vision for your business, systems for you and staff to follow, and have you read the Zingerman’s Twelve Laws of Business?

VISION:

No doubt you have heard that your business needs a vision.  You might have done a brief exercise in vision, and even put it in your employee manual.  But honestly, it needs to be deeper and wider.  Vision is only useful if it permeates your business and is the message each staff member shares with fellow staff and guests/customers to your business.  The most effective way to make that happen is to set action steps that are based on the vision.  With action steps you achieve consistent strategy, and weave the vision into your business culture; it even matches the vision to the daily habits in your business.  Vision is your five year plan. Action Steps place you on that road map to getting to the goals of the five year plan. 

 

SYSTEMS:

Simply put, systems are what makes your world go ‘round.  Systems keep your product consistent, your daily operations functioning (void of chaos), create a method for distributing your product, and creates the vibe/culture that keeps customers/guests delighted, and coming back.  The systems helps guide every aspect of your business.  It is even true that a clear vision attracts the right staff to your business, which naturally builds solid foundation for growth.  As a business advisor I know that the concept of systems is cringe-worthy: if you do not have them, it seems like it will take forever to build them.  If you have some systems but they do not give you positive results then you have to revisit whether they actually match the action plan (which supports the vision).  If the systems are not based on expectations then they are simply not useful, and are not supporting you.  Your business can be chaos-free and embody peace and joy.  And you have to jump in and create systems that your staff follow.  This will build the consistent and beautiful business you envisioned from the start.  

TWELVE NATURAL LAWS OF BUSINESS:  You may never have thought of laws for your business.  In the words of a yogi, “it is returning to your center”.  In the words of a Wall Street businessman it’s what drives your business forward.  In the words of Martha at Cavalletta, “it’s a set of rules that reassure you, when faced with a new and different issue in your business.   With that brief introduction, read through the Twelve Natural Laws of Business, and see how pertinent they are to your business.

I wish you Peace and Joy for this holiday season, and I wish you Peace and Joy for your business. Be assured that it is possible.  Start off the new year thinking and planning of how to achieve more peace and joy in 2016. 

 

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COLLABORATIONS:  BRIGHTON, UK vs BALTIMORE, MD

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COLLABORATIONS: BRIGHTON, UK vs BALTIMORE, MD

Creative Morning, Baltimore's presentation entitled "Collaboration!" was perfectly timed.  Baltimore is a collaborative town, and the results are great for our community. Collaboration in Baltimore's food community is attracting attention by chefs and business owners in other parts of the US.  During my Food Journey in the UK last week I wondered how the well-known foodie of Brighton UK is embracing collaboration.  Last week I met Kanthi, owner of Curry Leaf Cafe and Olivia, Marketing Guru at Terre a Terre.   I asked the question,  "how well do the community of restaurant-owners collaborate in Brighton, UK?".

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BUSINESS OWNERS: SELF-APPROVAL

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BUSINESS OWNERS: SELF-APPROVAL

Let me tell you my story about approval from a business owners’ point of view.  While running my cafe I would notice something in every new employee.   Their need for approval, and disapproval.  As new staff each baristas and cafe staff would receive the one to two week training.  After our training period,  they were expected to do their job.  “Okay, your have our training, we don’t need to shadow you anymore.  You are awesome.”   Then, I would start to notice the desire for approval. As the owner, I did praise them.  It kept them energized, and kept the team together.  At the same time, I couldn’t figure out why approval was so necessary given that their experience in life and a job was just starting.  Turns out, this is a vignette for every business owner. 

 

Being good at their job was fantastic, but as an owner I didn’t have a lot of time to laud them with compliments. Our day was full:  7am opening to 4pm close, and the prep list and front line list gave everyone structure and tasks to complete. “just initial what you did, so I know it’s getting done” was a common method of approval.   And, yes, mix into this, staff showing up late (excused or unexcused), complaining (lots of things to fuss about as a new adult) or feeling ill (Monday, Monday!).  These too are on the spectrum of getting attention/receiving disapproval.  Why was I caught in needing to hand out approval or disapproval.  The phrase, “just do your job” rang loud and clear in my head, and my GM’s voice. But this was their first or second job.  They were just starting on the road of adulthood.  Until that point, they had been getting approval or disapproval from two main areas of their life:  Nurturing from parents and critical approval through school teachers and grading.  That was all they knew.   So here’s the funny thing:  most of us didn’t get the memo:   when you enter the work world, outside approval ends.   Adulthood starts, and suddenly no one is handing out approval.   

 

Take this to the owner level.  As a business owner, you are told, “it’s lonely there”, “you wear lots of different hats”.  But again, no one sent you that memo, either.  Approval is simply missing.  You have to stay centered, you have to find your focus,  reset to the original plan, and not waver.  That is hard.  Customers might approve or disapprove of your product or delivery.  Is that your source of approval?   Should you follow their comments?  Only if it is aligned with your original mission.  Fair to say that having that zen focus, and self-approval does not come easy, but if you give it a little focus, you can train yourself to self-approval, and recenter to your goals.   I know: easier said than done.  Here is are three simple questions to ask when things get foggy

 

1)    Can I find a question or statement that will help me reset?

2)   Can I run this business so it becomes more successful, and less chaotic?

3)   Can I set aside time each week to make sure I am happy running my business (and that it is not running me)?

 

It’s my hope and desire that these words seep into your working owner brain.  They can help you focus on your business…and avoid getting bogged down in your business.  

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