Most of us can follow a simple recipe, but what happens when we have to improvise? If you have to substitute an ingredient, or some of the variables change, how well are you at adapting to them?
Would you serve up a dish to someone without testing it first?
Having the right recipe in business is no different. Your business provides for your family, it serves as a provider for your customers and is the vehicle to your freedom. It’s critical to make sure that you have a really good business recipe before you dish up “the food”. It’s like baking a cake; you must have a really clear recipe, with the right ingredients, to get the desired result.
Whether you’re starting a new business or have been running your business for a while, how often are you testing your recipe? When elements change, do you just manage as best you can or do you have a formula for overcoming any obstacles that get in your way? What can be done better to make the recipe even more successful?
Having a really clear model before you serve your customers, is critical for your success. Is your current business model an effective one? By that, I mean, are your services or products serving your customers well, are they coming back for more, do they tell their friends about you, are you making a profit, is your team working together like a well-oiled machine, do you have enough cash-flow to sustain your business operations and pay the wages, and is there enough demand to continue providing the same products and services for the foreseeable future? If the answer is yes, then well done – you’re among the few who have got the (initial) recipe right.
But as with all recipes, you must be able to adapt to change. What happens if your customer is gluten free? What if they are allergic to egg? How are you going to bake a cake to meet their requirements? If your industry standards change, if your competitors are producing better products and providing greater services than you, will your customers start going to the competition? You must constantly test and measure your product, and be ready to supply the best to your customers. You must have the support, the systems, and practices in place, to continue successfully running your business. That is the key point here – success doesn’t breed success. If you are successful now, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right recipe for future success. Your business should always be a work in progress and it’s so important to continually work on it and assess its performance, for it to continue serving its purpose.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is there a market for your product or service?
Do your customers want what your business is providing? You might think your product is great, but is there a market for it? It’s especially important when considering a brand new product or business idea that you do enough research to understand the industry, the customers you want to attract, and make sure that they actually want what you are going to provide. Is the need big enough to sustain your business indefinitely?
Are you giving your customers the best product or service available?
If you answered yes to the question above (and identified that your product or service is wanted), the next thing to ask yourself is; what can be done to make it better? Who else is selling a comparable product on the market? How will you stand out? What can you do differently or better than your competitors? If you want your customers to give great feedback and send more customers your way, you need to give them what they want (and continually assess the marketplace to make sure you’re keeping up!).
Are your numbers working?
It’s important to look deeply at the numbers to make sure your business is actually viable. There’s no point being in business – even if you’re doing what you love – if the numbers don’t add up and if the business doesn’t provide for you. If there are no profits in the business, or if there isn’t enough cash-flow to sustain the business long-term, you’re going to continue circling the same circle. How much do you need to run the business and how much do you need to live on? If there isn’t enough bang for your buck, you must assess why the numbers aren’t working and identify what changes can be made. Is it worth investing more time & money in?
What needs fixing?
Inevitably, there are likely to be areas of your business that don’t work quite how they should. Perhaps your team aren’t fully engaged, which leads to errors being made and decreased productivity. Perhaps you don’t have enough automation in your processes, and time is wasted doing the same thing over and over. Maybe you’re doing it all alone, or don’t trust delegating to anyone else, to your own detriment. Whatever it is, there are ways to work through issues that you’re facing – often having professional coaching or an outsider’s perspective, can help you overcome these common hurdles. If your business isn’t scalable, your recipe isn’t quite right.
I remember a florist client approached me and we were looking at how many sales she would need to make in orders to support her business expenses, mortgage and personal expenses. Sadly, it was out of her reach to make the amount of sales required to meet her expenses – including the house that provided her family with a roof over their head.
So it’s very important to make sure that your business model is sound, that there is enough margin in your products and that you call sell your product for an amount that will make your business profitable. Make sure you’ve done your homework, make sure you’ve tested your product, and make sure you’re constantly working on your recipe to make sure it stands up against the best of the best.
If you want to have the highest chances of success, make sure you get the recipe right. You wouldn’t want to receive a burger that’s missing the patty, so don’t serve a sub-standard meal to your customers and don’t employ a team without knowing that your business can provide for them, too.
Copywriting Credits: Renee Jongsma
Image Credits: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash