7 things Small Businesses can learn from Chefs

by Anol

I am a lousy cook, but a big fan of good cooking shows. Why? ‘Cause I get many useful business lessons from the world class chefs. Seriously! Here goes few -

1. There is no secret recipe

Share everything. Chefs share there recipes will everyone, write books, host TV shows. Being open don’t take away any business from them, rather increase their reputation and eventually grow business. Share everything you learned with your present and prospective clients. If only hoarding the ‘trade secret’ can save you, you don’t have a sustainable business to start with.
2. Create an audience, not just a client base.

Chefs create audience, a group of targeted people who are always listening and tuning into chef’s recommendations. In business? Imaging the ‘audience’ of Steve Job’s hour long commercials! Enough said!

3. Presentation matters
No matter how good the food taste like, no one will like a badly presented dish. Presentation matters, in every front of business. Be careful how you present yourself - starting from your name-cards, PowerPoint presentations to website. If you don’t have the required skill, don’t take a chance - hire a professional designer.

4. Repeat yourself.

Chefs always repeats the ingredients and the process at least once. Follow that for every presentation or pitch you do. We might be center of owe own universe, but not for others. a quick repetition with highlighting key points is always a good habit.

5. Simplicity Rules

(Good) Chefs never suggest a complex cooking process or a hard to find ingredient. Simplicity is a key success factor. Edit away all the jargons from your sales pitch and business processes. Checkout Startcooking.com, great and simple recipes presented awesomely. In fact you can learn a lot about presentation from Startcooking.com. Here goes an example :

6. Try new new things
Not all the recipes are success stories. Keep experimenting and keep what works. There are many chefs, running shows and writing cookbooks for more than 10/15 years, still presenting always fresh and new things. Keep re-inventing, re-imagining.

7. Don’t waste peoples time
Good chefs are articulated and precise. They don’t waste time (again Startcooking.com is the case in point)

Be precise and to the point for all your business communications - emails, web page writeup, presentations. People don’t have eternity for your stories. Tell them how you are going to make their life better and shut up.

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Feb 19, 2009
Short and Sweet - Thanks for sharing !
by: Vincent Lai

The first SG Googler Chade Meng talked about this when he gave his talk at DSO last year.

I will try this in my pitch next week.

Thanks for sharing !

Feb 18, 2009
Great Insight
by: Serene Ong

I like your "secret" receipes, secret as in no secret. True, things can just execute by simple rule, but man wisdom twist it round and complicate matter.

By the way, I don't really like chef, my personal encounter with them are't great. But you succeeded in changing the aroma of the chef profile!

Feb 17, 2009
by: Pamela

Thanks for the nuggets of wisdom from a seasoned small business owner! I like the last bit - don't waste people's time. Got to learn that!

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