Chef Deb

Spring Cleaning Guide for Culinary Business Owners

Spring Cleaning Guide for Culinary Business Owners Chef Deb

It’s that time of year again where people are spring cleaning and getting rid of the clutter in their life and making room for some fresh, new possibilities. That means it’s time for you as a culinary business owner, to de-clutter some of the things in your own business. Funny enough, I just experienced one of the toughest weeks of running my business and it taught me how important it is to let go of the things that are hurting your business or keeping you from doing your best. Spring cleaning can help you do just that!

Here is a little spring cleaning guide that I put together:

Get rid of toxic employees that are hurting your business –  Some of your employees might be toxic to your business. I have certainly had a few of those. I kept them around longer than I should hoping that things would improve. Well sometimes the best thing you can do to spring clean your business is to let people go who are creating negativity or hurting your reputation. I know that some of you might be worried that you can’t find a replacement, but somehow it always works out for the best.

Decide what you can swap or go without- I don’t know about you, but as a small business owner, I rely on a lot of tools to keep things running smoothly like Leadpages, Infusionsoft, Zoom, Evernote, etc. However, sometimes I don’t realize that I am paying more than I really need to for something. Take a look at your bank statement and see what recurring invoices you receive and if it’s completely a necessity or not. I did this a few months ago and realized I was spending too much on a webinar platform and found one that had better features and was cheaper. I saved nearly $50 a month just by looking into it further and swapping it out.

Clean out your email list –  This might not be the most fun thing on your to-do list (I never said spring cleaning would be fun!) but it’s good business practice to go through your email list and figure out who has been opening your emails and who hasn’t opened your emails in the last year. If you find some people like the latter, then unfortunately it’s time to take them off your list because they’re not longer engaged with your business.

What you can do is send out an email saying that you’re “spring cleaning” and have them opt-in a second time to help weed out those who aren’t really interested. I think my list is due for a cleaning.

Figure out what marketing techniques aren’t giving you a high ROI – We all know that marketing is a complex, multi-dimensional effort so if you don’t stay on top of it you can easily lose track of what’s working and what’s not. Do your bank account a favor and calculate how much employee time (or your time) and money you have put into certain marketing efforts, like advertising in a magazine or running Facebook Ads or doing a tasting station at an event. If you aren’t seeing a high return on your investment or any ROI for that matter, it’s either time to get rid of it or re-work the way you approach it.

For me, I was realizing that I was spending thousands on tasting stations at foodie events throughout the year. While I love getting out in the community, these events don’t often lead to new clients. Maybe one or two within a 6-month period. That’s when I decided that while I can still be involved in these events, I would be much more selective in which ones I would participate in.

Re-decorate your office – As a small business owner, you probably spend A LOT of time either in your home office or your kitchen office. The space that you work in has a lot of influence over your attitude and general feeling as you work. Might sound cheesy but it’s true. Maybe it’s time to re-decorate by adding some awards you’ve received on your wall to motivate you to keep pushing forward. Maybe you need some bright artwork to keep you attentive and feeling vivacious while you work. Whatever will make you feel comfortable and happy, make this space your sanctuary. After all, you will be spending a lot of time there!

End memberships that are no longer bringing you value –  As a culinary business owner who is serious about growing your business, I bet you participate in a lot of chef chapters, organizations and groups where other chefs and foodie entrepreneurs go. Take a look at the memberships you are a part of and decide if you get enough value from them or not. Stop going to the meetings if it’s no longer helping you. I have been a part of a chapter where things got very stale so I decided to join a new group where people were more active and helpful. Sometimes it’s hard to leave a group you’ve been a part of for years, but you have to do what’s best for your business.

Clean out Dropbox and organize your files/folders – This might be a cliche spring cleaning tip, but it’s a good one! I use Dropbox to store most of my client menus, documents, videos, etc. and I will admit that there is a lot of stuff in there that could probably be deleted. Have your admin assistant (or yourself) go through the most important folders and weed out the materials you no longer need to keep record of. I find that searching for files in Dropbox is a lot easier when there is less “junk” in there.

If you want to take this a step further, start going through your files and organizing them into folders that make sense for you. I hate loose documents that are just sitting in Dropbox with no “parent folder” so start organizing menus by creating folders for clients, folders just for catering clients, categorize your recipes, food photos, etc.

There is so much more you can do to spring clean your culinary business, but these are some ideas to help you get started!

Cheers to fresh beginnings!