Getting your business where it needs to be is going to require that you take a step back from the day-to-day to focus on the big picture.
When you first start out, you are doing it all, cooking, managing, payroll and even the website. But as the boss, the truth is, your job should be running the business. Once you realize this and start working on your restaurant instead of just in it, your business will grow.
There is an endless supply of books, videos and programs out there that are designed to coach you along in the process. One of the most popular and successful of these programs is called E-myth. It breaks down the process into steps and stages making it easier to follow and measure your success.
Here are the eight steps that will help put you on a path of independence and open doors for your continued growth:
- Leadership – Work on your business, not just in it. Your business is a reflection of you, both your strengths and your weaknesses, so it is important that you grow as its leader. Learn more about yourself, your people and your business in order to become the kind of leader that can make dynamic growth happen. Pay attention to the things that have been effective in the past and always be on the lookout for new ways to inspire & motivate your team. Be an example for your employees and express gratitude for the value they add. Without strong leadership skills, you may be destined to working ‘IN’ your restaurant forever.
- Marketing – Discover who your ideal customer is, the person best served by your product or service, and build a strategy that will allow you to reach them. Be creative and think outside the box to give your restaurant a unique image. Use market research and talk to local businesses to gain perspective into your audience. After some time, it helps to reassess the marketplace for opportunities and revise your strategy to help you grow, adding new promotional channels and utilizing emerging technology to reach your audience where they are.
- Finance – Create the financial systems that will give you control over your money and the power to use it to achieve your vision. As an owner, it is important to understand how money is best spent on your business. Making sure you have investment capital and the financial means to make improvements and/or expand will help keep your mind out of the day-to-day “emergencies” and keep your eye on the prize. Whatever growth looks like to you—more revenue, more profit, more locations—put the systems in place to manage your money toward your objectives.
- Management – If you want to step back from the front lines, you need to learn to attract and develop great employees. It is important to find people who are committed to your vision and values, produce exceptional results, and continuously improve your systems. Once you have quality help, you can take the next step to grow as a manager. Build the systems that allow you to expand your team in alignment with your vision, values, and standards. Instead of micromanaging, let your team do what you hired them to do, while you get back to what is really important to you.
- Customer Fulfillment – Design your customer experience and the systems to deliver it consistently and predictably, no matter who’s fulfilling it. This is easier said than done, but creating guidelines and standards, ensures a consistent experience and will lead to repeat traffic. Growth creates more customers, which means you need to scale your Customer Fulfillment System to support customers with the same amount of care no matter how much you grow. You want your customers to have the same excellent experience no matter what time of day they come, who their server is or how busy the restaurant is.
- Lead Generation – Develop a system to attract and engage with your ideal customers so they fall in love with your brand and the product or service you offer. Some ways to do this are to get outside thought leaders speaking to the quality of your meals, or be the only place that serves a specific dish. Take your Lead Generation activities to the next level and attract more of the right customers. Remember to use all of the marketing tools available to you, including social media and the commonly overlooked coupon mailer.
- Lead Conversion – Take everything you’ve learned about who your customer is and why they buy and create a sales process that makes it easy for them to say “Yes.” Expand the capacity of your Sales Process by developing systems for Customer Reconversion and Referrals.
- Get Outside of Your Restaurant – Get away to keep perspective about your big picture goals. Get away to show your team they can function without you, using the systems you put in place. Get away to show your chosen managers that you trust them to be great without you. Get involved in outside groups in your community. You will be surprised how many people show up at your restaurant after you see them at a charity event.Get away to keep your balance and sanity on the path to entrepreneurship.
While there is no magic solution that will turn everyone into a successful entrepreneur, following these steps will no doubt leave you closer to your goal of working on your restaurant instead of in it.