Posted on February 03 2017
When you run your own biz the pace is pretty frenetic – there’s the day to day to deal with not to mention longer term strategies. However as we all know businesses that are truly successful are the ones that plan in advance – and having ideas that will magically take your business to new heights is not always easy.
Sometimes I stare at that computer screen and rack my brains given the parameters that I work within. We’re a small company (much smaller than most people realise) and every member of the team is doing the job of 2 if not 3 people. Other challenges are the perpetual cash flow nightmares that all retailers will be familiar with (we pay a whacking great amount up front for all our own-label to go into production – 8 months before any of it hits any shelves). That has an impact of cash flow and the stress around that is a whole other blog post, but let’s not go there today!
Today I’m here to tell you that you cannot let constraints slow you down. You have to think big if you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game. Even more so when you become successful and more and more people start copying you – it’s imperative to stay ahead of the game.
Obviously you can do things like work out, change up your routine, walk the dogs, mediate all of which are super important but here are some other things I do when I feel I need to shake up my business.
I look at different industries, huge players like the beauty, fashion and food industries and see what they are doing. Is there anything that will inspire me – maybe they’ve collaborated with someone cool, launched an unusual pop up, shaken up their industry. Other brands have take up a residency in a different country – Noma is popping up in Mexico. I saw a Chef’s Table how recently on the chef Alain Passard and his lauded restaurant L’Arpege. Passard spent three decades – and earned 3 Michelin stars I might add! – making and cooking with meat. Then one day he stopped. He had enough. He rested and that retrospection gave him the idea that a beetroot could be cooked in a salt crust like meat or celery could be smoked. He then took all meat off the menu (in France! Can you believe it?) and started again but this time with vegetables. He totally and reinvented his restaurant. He got slammed and laughed at initially but he stuck with it – he is the guy that invented the farm to table movement. Who knew? I thought it was a recent thing, but he was pioneering it years and year ago. I was blown away by his bravery, conviction and bold change of direction. He changed up the direction of his business. With that came a new outlook, new tastes, new smells oh and Michelin stars.
Now you might ask how on earth a French chief and his famous restaurant could possibly affect my business and the plans and strategies I put in place. Bear with me! As a biz owner I have learnt that I don’t always know where things will go – I plan in advance and then lots of stuff comes out of the blue that I didn’t even imagine – some of which we will do, some of which we won’t. The biggest takeaway from Alain Passard is that unwavering passion and self-belief that you are on the right track, even when people doubt you. He didn’t worry about what other people thought, or the making money side – he simply wanted to share what he loved with others hoping they would love it too. So he’s my business hero right now!
If you’re in a funk, have a mental roadblock and can’t see the wood for the trees look at other industries to inspire you. Life is short and we all deserve to do things that make us happy… and hopefully along the way bring happiness to other people too.