As independent business owners, it’s easy to think we got it all figured out and under control. The truth? We really don’t. When I started my first personal chef business nearly 15 years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I had gone to culinary school and felt confident in my culinary abilities and knew that I made great food that people would want, but I had no clue how to create systems and processes to help my business run more efficiently or any legal implications of my business whether it was a trademark, etc.

After going to the school of hard knocks, I decided to lay down my pride and hire a business coach. It’s not necessarily that my business was doing horribly, it’s that I wanted to grow my business even more and I didn’t know how to do that. Hiring a business coach was the most money I have ever invested in my business up to that point, and it was scary as ever, but I knew that it was the best thing I could do for my business if I really wanted to make a difference and some serious money.

I attribute most of my success to the mentors and kind people who have helped me along the way. Why is it helpful to have a business coach? Because they obviously understand business and can offer an objective, outside opinion. Don’t you often feel stuck in your business because you’re “in it” 24/7, non-stop? Well they can help you get out of your own head and focused on moving the needle.

So when do you know it’s time to hire a culinary business coach? There aren’t many of them out there, I am one of a few that I know of but for the few of us that are here, when do you know it’s time to hire us? Here are some tell-tale signs.

7 Signs It's Time to Hire a Culinary Business Coach Chef Deb

1.  If you are stuck behind your stove – If you are going to grow your business, it can’t be done with you behind your stove all day every day. Now I don’t mean you can’t cook, after all, that is the whole reason you built your company, but it means that if you feel that you are too busy working “in” your business rather than “on” it than it’s time for a coach to help you make that transition from behind your stove to “CEO.”

2. If you aren’t seeing your hard work pay off – You work hard. If you’re like me, you think about your business all the time, you come up with new ideas and improvements that you’d like to make. However, sometimes you might feel like you’re spinning in circles. That week after week you are putting in the work, you’re learning new ways to market your business or manage your employees, but you aren’t seeing the results you would like. Hiring a culinary business coach is a great way to see where you need to focus your efforts and how to break your goals down into manageable steps that you can actually accomplish.

3. If you want to save time and money – This might seem counter intuitive since hiring a business coach can be quite the investment, however in the long run you actually save money, because you are no longer wasting money on various ventures that don’t bring your business a positive ROI, then a culinary business coach can certainly lead you in the right direction. They also save you time trying to figure out this whole business thing on your own. There are a lot of moving parts for any business, so why not fast forward your growth and be years ahead on your learning curve?

4. If you have a hard time seeing the big picture – Let’s say you have built a successful culinary business, you are happy with it but you know that there is something else you can be doing to grow your business and really start seeing the revenue you deserve. If that’s you then hiring a culinary business coach will help you see the bigger picture and have a greater understand of what the next steps need to be. A coach guides you on what you need to focus on right now and what can be put on the back burner for the time being. When you have a leader who can see the big picture and truly understands your business and the direction you want to go, then they can help guide all of your every day actions to help you reach your goals.

5. If you feel overwhelmed or alone –  Let’s be honest – who doesn’t feel overwhelmed as a business owner? Managing a team of chefs, quality control, trying to network, keep track of your P & L statement, it all can be very overwhelming. A culinary business coach can take some of that burden off your shoulders and help you feel like you’re not alone. You have someone else you can rely on to help you figure these things out and someone you can turn to if you just need to vent or you need advice on how to handle a certain employee or how to be more profitable. With a business coach, there is no reason to feel overwhelmed because they got your back!

6. If you have lost sight of your purpose – I have met a lot of chefs who started out being passionate about their culinary business, but without realizing it, become disenchanted with the services or products they offer. In fact, most chefs who coach with me one-on-one, end up changing their brand entirely because it no longer fits their purpose, or what they want to do. For example, one chef that I coach tried to be everything to everyone. She offered personal chef services, catering, cooking classes, intimate dinners, etc. When I sat down with her to talk about her services, after our conversation I could tell that she only offered all of these things because she felt obligated, not because she wanted to. After talking awhile, she discovered that doing cooking classes is what she enjoyed the most and that she could build a whole new brand around that. Guess what? It’s working tremendously for her and she is getting gigs left and right and she now has a clear idea of her purpose, helping people be self-sufficient through cooking classes.

7. If you want your company to grow – I briefly mentioned this before, but if you feel like your business has reached a plateau and you are not seeing growth, it’s time to hire a business coach who can take things to the next level for you. Sometimes all it takes is a little kick in the side and an insightful business coach who has grown businesses herself and understands what it takes.

It can be difficult to admit you need help with your business or your “baby” that you’ve worked so hard to build. Hiring a business coach doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it means you are a smart entrepreneur and you realize that mentors can offer insights and ideas that you’ve never thought of and a support system to help you get through the tough parts in your business.

If you’ve read this and you see these signs in your own business, feel free to reach out to me, I would love to be your mentor! You can contact me here. 

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