Saturday, February 21, 2015

Business lessons from the kitchen

Photo by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsule
Do you like to cook?  How you operate in the kitchen can be an indicator of how you run your business.  

 For example, if you stick to the letter of the law in your recipes, it is quite likely that you are not so comfortable with risks. Whereas on the other hand, if you always tweaking a recipe or making up your own, going with the flow is more your comfort zone, which means you may not always stick to the tried and true.

I’ve written about this before, but recently I came to a couple of new conclusions.  Being the long weekend, and loving to cook, I decided to try some new recipes, which my husband will be quick to tell you, with mixed results.

First a disclaimer, when you live on a farm, miles from the local grocery store, 
improvising on ingredients becomes a way 
of life.  So when I decided to cook a Thai side dish that required molasses, I knew I was stumped. 

But guess what – you just have to google what can replace molasses in a recipe, and your question is answered.  How cool is that?  All of which shows that there is never one right way to do something.

However, having said that, the meal itself was not a great success.  It tasted good, don’t get me wrong, but I cooked too much.  I guess I still haven’t got used to cooking for two, instead of four. 

Not wanting to waste it, I plunked most of the food on my husband’s plate.  Now, we can do this in business when we give our clients too many options or too much information – the end result is the same – overwhelm. 

Just too much to take in or eat in one sitting.  So note to self, think about the amount of information/food is sufficient and enough to whet someone’s appetite, so they are ready for the next course.

My second lesson is when I decided to follow a recipe – a new experience for me – but I misread it.  I did it wrong.  However, quickly realizing what I’d done, I went with the flow, improvised and the end result was tasty. 

The same is true in business.  You can be told what is required and try to do it by the book, but if you goof or it doesn’t feel right, all is not lost, you can do it differently.

When my children were little, putting food on the table was frankly more of a chore.  Just making sure they ate, liked the meals was challenge enough.  A bit like when you start your business – you make do, accepting what works to keep your clients happy.

Twelve years into my business, I have come to realize that I can actually shape the menu – at work and at home. I no longer have to offer the basics, I can afford to take risks and elaborate.

I know my ingredients and I am not scared to mix them up – be it in the kitchen or in my business.  What about you? 

For further reading - What's Your Recipe for Success


Unknown said...

I love this analogy Anne. Gives food for thought (I know bad pun!). Now if I could just follow my business the way I create in the kitchen I would really be cooking up a storm!

Unknown said...

This week I gave a client too many options and now I am doing them all. More work, same income. Food for thought (pun intended)I will think more carefully next time. Perfect timing Anne for this well advised piece!

Unknown said...

Hmmm... this is so interesting.. My husband says that I am a messy cook. I do love to use every utensil in the kitchen and add a little of this and that. If I REALLY think about... YES I may be doing the same in business.
I believe in tweaking when necessary and trying new things.. BUT when something feels right (or tastes right).. don't mess with the recipe..... tweak it. but don't change it!
I have so much to learn!!!

Thanks Anne for a great visual and mental exercise!