Three and a half years ago, I was working at a marketing communications company and was able to save some money to either buy a car or do otherwise, I did otherwise and rented a tiny little garage and turned it into an eatery.
Today I won’t be posting a recipe or telling you about some delicious meal I ate somewhere, today, I would be passing over some life and work lessons. You read my blog all the time, respond to my post and sent me email and text messages, so I think it will be cruel of me not to share what I learn with you.
“When the Egg breaks” and this is definitely not an egg to be used for a cake recipe or fried with vegetables for a Frittata, this egg is the most fragile you would come across ever!!
When I started my business, I was working an 8-6 job at east legon, closing and getting to the eatery was a real rough one. I would get calls from my then manager and chef for permission to buy one ingredient or another or at times, a staff called to report a fight.
Most people certainly think owning a shop, selling any item and making your daily sales makes you an entrepreneur but I strongly beg to differ, having a business is not waking up at 6am and annoyingly walking to the junction or driving your car to the office and hopefully getting the job done.
Today I will share with you some of my mistakes and hopefully you would avoid them to make you a better EP
The line between hobby and business
A hobby could easily turn into a business and vice versa, but this transition share the thinnest line I have ever known. Being passionate about the food business, I had to figure out that I could not handle my business like cooking for a handful of my friends or just making myself a portion meal. The moment you cross that line, you owe your customers MORE! More effort, more taste, more delivery and more reasons to come back.
A business is not a favour to another, you need not think in that coconut head of yours, that you are making mankind a favour, that without your no one will eat or you are the best (allow me to relate it to my field). When a hobby becomes a business, remember you NEED others, you need “these” others to trust you.
As a business, have your house in order, I won’t sit on my badly scattered bed and tell you it’s a one day affair to get the house in shape, it could take forever but do make an effort and it would be worth it
The Big Cs
Hello, is this Jay? Please I would like to order a cake for Saturday
What type and flavour please?
I really don’t know
Ok, what about a chocolate cake with white choc cream?
Hmm, I don’t really like chocolate
Ok what about a red velvet?
Me, I don’t like all this red velvet cakes going around
Then I guess a vanilla should be good?
You know what, I will ask my mum and call you back…….
Customers, they could be the most annoying people in the world to the kindest people but most importantly they are the PEOPLE you need most!!
You cannot be a taxi driver and drive and pay yourself?
You cannot be a bank teller and have only you and your colleagues’ money in the bank
You definitely cannot cook food, eat it yourself and pay…..NOOOOOOOO
Last week, I disappointed a customer of mine and I still beat myself for it. It felt worse than when my first muffin turned out hard as rock, or when I burnt my banana cake. A couple of days later, the costumer openly displayed her disappointment of my action and she definitely had all the rights to.
Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated, it’s not enough to give them a good service ten hours after they need it, it counts to be give good service by good timing. Serving your customer is like seeing your doctor, you cannot serve them if you don’t listen carefully! When you break that egg with your customer, you can’t fix it back…no cello tape or glue will help!
Lead by listening
I do not mean lead by fishing for compliments, you can only be a good leader by listening to the people you truly patronise the service…your CUSTOMERS!
I won’t say I readily like to listen to criticism about my business, it kills my heart, it drains me to hear of a bad experience from a customer and it takes me a while to sink it in, but I have realised how important it is to pick the comment and wake up from the slumber and get to it!
Over the years, I have been eager to explain to customers why their food gets served late, why we don’t have a courier person to deliver our meals? but I began to realise your challenges are not your customers concern but how you solve it. The method of solving makes the customer appreciate the service when they find out later.
When you take that money or not
These days, there are various forms of payment, ½ before service or 30 days after service or the most preferred full before service or the most often used “giving your word”. No matter which option you go for, it’s your responsibility to deliver and deliver on time.
Have I taken money of customers and still delivered poorly—CHECK
Have I done jobs without payment and delivered excellently?—CHECK
Have I waited for more than 30 days for my payment and still waiting—CHECK, but none of these are excuses to make you deliver less than your standard.
As soon as you take any of the above moves, the “event” becomes yours, the wedding is yours, the funereal is yours so you “cant” be late. You have no cause to be? You need to deliver and when you don’t…you have lost your ego, your right and your opportunity. It would be tossed in frying oil and tossed like morning bofrot and guess what? the customer would be right if you put yourself in that position.
I have learnt mine and shared with you, we all have one embarrassing experience to share, but these stories is to make as better EPs, stronger and wiser. It helps us on our feet to fix our houses and make a herd of customers who will come back.
With all this, there is one thing I have learnt, when you break that egg, which you will break once or twice, remember it cannot be put back, but it has a way of giving you back a new window of getting other eggs and this time when you do, you must hold it like it’s your life.
I am young and I am learning….learn with me
I just broke an egg and I don’t like it!