I once knew a guy named Jim who wanted to open a vintage clothing store. Although he had studied clothing design, he knew little about business, but that did not deter him, and off he want on his entrepreneurial (ad)venture.
At first, he stumbled, and had a very difficult time getting customers in the door. Then one day, he noticed that the large consumer electronics store down the street seemed to have a sidewalk sale every other month or so. My pal thought that if it worked for them, it might work for him.
So Jim began to plan a huge parking lot sale of his own. He bought extra inventory, advertised via flyers and in alternative newspapers, and prayed. On the day of his sale, the sun was shining and the turnout was better than expected. He tried it again the next month, tweaking his advertising strategy just a bit, and the results were even better. After his initial success, when the weather was right, my friend held a 2-day sidewalk sale every month.
Jim stumbled upon an important business lesson. It’s called “Finding a Successful Recipe.” Here’s how it works: When a chef wants to create a dish, he uses a tried and true recipe, one that works every time to create the same result. The same is true for a baker. If he wants to create a loaf of bread, he uses a reliable recipe to create the dough. He knows that a good recipe means a good result.
Well, if you want to make more business dough, if you want your business to be a long-term success, you must have a solid recipe too, a business recipe. That’s what Jim did and in fact, it’s the basis for all successful businesses. McDonald’s recipe is to give people predictable, affordable burgers, anywhere in the world. NBC has a recipe for comedies on Thursday night. It’s their recipe for success. If you don’t have one, then creating a successful business recipe is what you must do too. If you have one, then it may be time to create another.Actually creating a successful recipe is a three-step process.
Step 1: Brainstorm. Sit down and write down every kooky idea that comes into your head about possible successful formulas that might work for your business. There are countless ways that you can distinguish your business and create a successful recipe.
Once you have some ideas, eliminate the bad ones, and narrow it down to the top two or three.
Step 2: Once you have a list of potential goldmines (which is what a good business recipe is – something you can mine again and again), try them out. Yes, it would be great if they all worked, but the idea here is to discover your very best option, the one plan that can be repeated over and over again to bring in customers and money. Figuring that out is a great moment in the life of any business because it means that you will be able to be a long-term success.
Step 3: Repeat. You must make sure that you will be able to duplicate this success time and again, with measurable, predictable results. And once you have done that, you will have created a reliable, steady source of income that you can always count on.
If the good news about being an entrepreneur is that you are on your own, the bad news is that you don’t get a paycheck every two weeks. A good recipe can eliminate that negative.