How Building a Business is Like Planning a Meal.

Assess Your Ingredients:

There are two ways to shop for a meal:

  1. Decide what you plan to cook, and go to the store with a shopping list of the necessary ingredients.

  2. Go to the store (ideally the farmers’ market), and see what’s being sold that is fresh, beautiful, seasonal, local, calling out to be transformed into something delectable.

Guess which way I like better?

Yup, you got it.

I prefer the second method, because it guarantees that I’ll be starting my meal with the best, most flavorful ingredients, and that I won’t have to do very much to them make a delicious dish. Beautiful ingredients can speak for themselves. When you start with standout raw ingredients, you’re already starting a step ahead.

Use The Ingredients You Have on Hand.

My approach is the same when working with my entrepreneurial clients—those in the early stages of business or those still refining their ideas.

I never NEVER encourage my clients to fit themselves into an idea or business model that works for others without first examining whether they have what it takes to thrive using that same model.

Instead, when we work together, our first step is to take an inventory of what they’re ALREADY bringing to the table. What are the strengths, perspectives, skills, and experience that are unique and notable that they are able to share that someone similar might not have in spades?

Once we identify the special ingredients that only they have, we set about putting them together in a way that will highlight them.

It’s not unlike taking an inventory of one’s kitchen. If I’ve got fresh peaches from the farmers’ market on hand, some flour, some butter, and some sugar, I know I’ve got what it takes to make a killer peach pie. Imagine how miserably I’d fail if I tried to use those same perfect ingredients to make a chocolate layer cake. No matter how hard I tried, I’d still be banging my head against a wall. And, not only would I not succeed in making a chocolate cake, I’d be wasting those fragrant, succulent peaches by trying to turn them into something they’re not.

Put a Bit of You into What You Do.

Trying to build a business based on someone else’s model is a pretty good recipe for frustration and unhappiness. What works for someone else MAY NOT work for you.

If you’ve been feeling like a square peg in a round hole, or, say, a fresh peach in a chocolate layer cake, take a step back and pause. Are you trying to be edgy when edgy feels all wrong? Are you offering a service you hate, just because you think that’s what people want? Do you feel uncomfortable in or confined by some aspect of your business? Take note of the ways you’re doing things that don’t match who you actually are.

Instead, infuse a bit more of you into what you do. Give yourself permission to have purple hair, even if you think it’s not the normal image for your industry. Let yourself be snarky and abrasive, even if that’s not how most coaches usually roll. Assess what you have to offer that is unique, that tells your story, that gives your clients a sense that you’re someone special, not just more of the same.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear your objections already: What if you offend people? What if you turn off potential customers? What if no one gets you?

This approach can feel scary, I know. But take a leap of faith and give it a go.

I can promise you this: I’ve never seen it fail.

Do you need a little help determining what you can make with the ingredients you’ve got?

My launch lab services can help you assess your strengths, discover your values, and create the work that works for you.

CourageEmily HalpernComment