Any business that wants to expand, has employee issues, or is experiencing a slow period of growth must take a step back to figure out what is necessary for it to evolve. I have prepared four tips to evolve your business, as I understand that it can be incredibly difficult for owners to see things objectively when they are too busy worrying about the day-to-day details.
Businesses in the regulated food and beverage industries such as restaurants, hotels, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos, are facing a myriad of challenges such as regulatory demands, employee shortages, rising wages, and fierce competition.
Every business must be proactive in its approach to growth; as a business, you must strive to stay ahead of challenges in order to grow. Some tips to help evolve your business include:
Tip 1 - For Restaurants and Food Service Industries
From day one, establish the culture you want for your company and make sure everyone is on board. Owners may need to reflect on this and seek outside counsel to determine what this means. You might consider hiring professional help or planning an executive retreat where management can brainstorm ideas. If the company is smaller, you might want to take time to confer with other successful business owners over coffee or lunch. In addition, you can talk to your employees about what kind of culture they want for the company. Ultimately, it is important to remember that your employees reflect the company.
Tip 2 - For New Businesses
Take the time to develop a solid business plan. Your business plan is the road map you will use to achieve success, and it will help you make decisions easier. The effort you put in now will pay off in the future! Hire professionals to help you flesh out each section, so you have a complete understanding of the direction you want to go. You may need to consult with several types of professionals (accounting, legal, business plan writers, marketers, etc.). Once you establish your business plan, follow it closely. Review it annually and update it with changes that have occurred throughout the year. Write up an annual summary report (1-3 pages) that illustrates things you did right (wins) and things that need improvement (losses). Allow these items to drive your plans for next year.
Tip 3 - Highly Regulated Businesses
If your business is in a highly regulated industry (monthly food inspections, liquor licenses, financial audits, etc.), be well prepared so you can minimize the impact on your business and staff. If you have everything ready, the inspector can be in and out quickly, and you can get back to business! Everyone’s time is valuable, and the inspector will appreciate your attention to detail and efficiency. When you anticipate the inspector’s needs and are well prepared for a visit, it will benefit everyone.
Tip 4 - Make Selling the Model
Every business relies on sales. Make sure everyone in your business is selling at all times. Regardless of what their role is, instruct all levels of staff on how to sell the product, sell great service, and sell the culture and beliefs of the company. When interacting with customers, vendors, and the public, each person should be selling your message and what is great about your business.
It’s also critically important to place employees in roles that suit their strengths. Remember, happy, engaged employees work harder, longer, and more productively. That can-do attitude comes from the top down.