Since chefs respond well to food (am I right?) I thought I would provide an analogy that might be useful to you. In my upcoming book “So You’re a Chef Now What? Managing Your Business, Your Money and Reputation” I talk about three phases of business. I want you think of it as a three-course meal. We have the appetizer, main course and the dessert.
The first phase of business is called “Foundations.” This is where you are dreaming up your business and constructing it the way you want it. During this phase you get clarity on your business concepts, processes, policies and procedures. You know who your ideal client is and you design systems for an incredible customer service experience. Some things will change as you move through this phase, some things will stay the same. Even though these systems might change as time goes on, it’s important to have a solid foundation for your business to grow.
The second phase of business is called the “Growth Phase.” In this phase you refine your processes, expand your offerings and elevate your entire business to the next level. See how amazing this dish is? That’s what your business in this phase! You have a more complete understanding of your customers and their needs, being consistent in branding, You’re clear about who you are and what you do and your brand reflects that. During this phase you should try and become well-known in your community and becoming the go-to expert in your field.
The Third and last phase of business is the ‘Expansion, Measure and Improve and Innovate Phase.” I know, that’s a long name for it, but it describes it perfectly. During this phase you have solid repeat customers who are your biggest fans. You can measure your growth and adapt to any changes needed. Pay attention to your numbers and find out what they’re saying. This phase is marked by someone who can stay a step ahead of the competition and you stand out because of your quality offerings. There is a constant re-education in this phase where you constantly looking to improve your business. Just because you’ve reached this “sweet spot” doesn’t mean you quit trying!
There are more details to each phase which I talk about in my book, but this is the basic idea. No phase is better than the next, (don’t we all love the appetizer, main course AND the dessert?) they are all necessary to achieve a successful culinary business. Your goal should always be to get into Phase 3 and go from there!