Archive for the ‘Starting a Business’ Category

In this post we are going to talk to you about your new catering adventure. It means that I have done my job in the kitchen for now. You see, I was always a hands-on sort of bloke, never much of a teacher. But in time, as our business grew, my mates and catering peers told me that I had a soothing and reassuring voice over the telephone. I found that quite ironic because I can hardly hear a bloody word over the telephone.

Hiring the right catering staff

Which is why we decided from the first month of running the catering business to employ a receptionist. She did not need to be an expert on catering or food. She did, however, need to be experienced in customer service orientation, and that she was. Oh, and another thing, as old as I am today, I still cannot drive a van. So, you know what’s coming up. We hired a good driver too. He came with a good record, never had a single driving incident against his name. He was a driver all his life and his unblemished record was impeccable.

Leading from the front in the kitchen

So it seems that after a worthwhile and motivational introduction begging the question as to whether you really want to start your own catering business or not, and after leaving you with a few important tip-offs, we have ventured into new territory. I am quite pleased about that because it was my original intention. One of my traits is that I am rather a positive old chap. If I don’t utter a word, I tend to inspire the others in the kitchen purely through my actions.

See what the opposition is up to

But while actions do speak louder than words and good leaders, something you will need to be in this entrepreneurial line, lead by example, my bark is worse than my bite. In fact the only thing I bite into is the delicious food we have prepared and, I am not shy to admit this, the food that some of our competitors are famous for. You need to be able to smell the coffee at all times. Always see which way the wind is blowing, because you never know, you may just need to change tack every once in a while.

One of the best marketing tools for the catering business

People’s tastes change too. And it is up to you to tantalize their taste buds on a regular basis. While promoting your catering business to new and regular clients, take them samples of your genius for them to taste. As far as I am concerned, this has got to be one of the best marketing tools for the highly competitive catering business. So you know they loved my Burmese chicken curry the other day. It was piquantly flavored with the authentic ingredients of that region.

After delivering the goods, our driver did actually; we did not forget to hold back some batches to offer other clients. Oh, and our Muslim clients love this. They know that it is safe to eat and they are rather excited by what we offered them. It was something unique and we were able to improvise from the original recipe in order to cater for cultural traditions and religion.

Listen to your clients

I needed a break. One of the best ways for me to let off steam is to have a hearty chat with those who are prepared to listen. That’s another important characteristic of the successful catering CEO. Never mind your own inspirational ideas. That’s fine. But do always be prepared to listen to your clients. If that’s all they want, be prepared to offer them burgers and fries too. But do it your way and blow them away with your unique flavorings.


If you are from that generation of men and women who had to visit a nearby insurance agent to shop around for new policies and benefits, you might have had this vivid experience, bearing in mind that your horror or disgust was from the point of view of the customer. Also, you could still be nipping out late at evening to get some emergency supplies at a nearby small business grocery store.

By the time you stepped into the agent’s office, you were already having second thoughts. Quite frankly, you had not encountered such a slovenly mess before, not since the messy classroom dunce’s desk was avoided at all costs. There were breadcrumbs and sauce from takeouts strewn across the desk and what could be important, confidential client documents. Piles of client files, all tattered and grubby, were arranged helter-skelter, looking like they could tip over at any moment.

By the time you plucked up enough courage to take your seat, you found that the chair was tattered, torn and uncomfortable. You could never see this, but this poorly dressed man, to your mind, could not have been any good with numbers, occupying a grotty office in a run-down part of town. Today, thanks to software technologies and new and updated legislation, such men don’t exist anymore. We wish we could say the same for nighttime grocery stores, where shelf goods are soiled goods and unpacked boxes lie in the very narrow aisles, dangerously in the way of customers.

We know that, today, new clients of yours will never be having such experiences once they step into your new office or store, part and parcel of your own new business. But just to be safe, we thought we’d provide you with a few more words of encouragement and tips towards keeping everything efficiently in shape and, indeed, quite impressively presentable.

  1. Filing tips Whether you are going to be using hard cover files like the defunct insurance agent mentioned above, or relying on computer hard-drives and software packages (which we recommend), do make sure that you have set in place a good numbering system which makes it quick and easy for you to a draw a file when needed.
  2. Up to date records An important part of your business is making sure that all records, from tax returns to regular client invoices, are kept up to date at all times. Make sure that these records are ordered in date order.
  3. Office administration It would be ideal for you to have someone assist you with all efficiencies of the day to day administration of your office, the nerve center of your business. You may need to have a small staff complement, in any case, so invest part of your budget in employing an efficient administrative assistant or office manager, qualified, reasonably experienced, and with good resume records.
  4. Good housekeeping Another investment worth making where human resources are concerned is having at least one staff member who is going to ensure that the office or workshop is neat, clean and presentable to clients. If it is an industrial space, regular cleanups need to be carried out anyway, more to do with the safety of both customers and staff. To this end, you could also outsource a cleaning services company to come to your aid here.
  5. Software packaging Another outsource investment well recommended, in fact, quite essential today, is that of an information technology expert, also with good credentials, experience and references, as well as the up to date knowledge to deal with continuous rounds of computer and software upgrades. He must be sufficiently expert in assisting your business with servicing and/or maintenance work that needs to be carried out quickly and efficiently to ensure that there are no disruptions to the daily running of the business.

We hope and trust that this short list of efficient office administrative tips were sufficiently informative for you. More importantly, perhaps, we would like to believe that this little bit of subjectivity has motivated you to know that you need not be overwhelmed with your workload and that with the necessary checks and balances in place, you will be able to focus on more ambitious future projects to ensure that your company can continue to grow without being stalled by unnecessary administrative cleanups, such as filing tax returns or hunting down non-paying clients, or franticly tidying up the office in the expectation that a potentially good client will be calling on you at any moment.

Another important facet of good business and office administration is always being prepared, even if it means having to work a little overtime. But then again, and this much has been proven, even when the business is extremely busy, smart and efficient office admin ensures that you and your staff could potentially be working shorter and more flexible hours. In essence, you are also working smarter and not unnecessarily harder.

The next short article deals with presentation skills. We trust that you will enjoy that one as well.

This business informational article gets broken down into three segments. Actually, make that five. Four of these important segments talk about the important matter of effective business planning at different stages of the year. Generally speaking, an annual business plan is always in force. Weekly planning by managers and meetings with key employees is another regular fixture on the company’s itinerary. But in many instances, monthly or quarterly planning and its subsequent meetings, if not overlooked entirely, are laborious affairs not taken too seriously by stakeholders. By necessity, some of these meetings can be fairly long and, still to this day; there are those who wish they were elsewhere.

We hope that you are not one of those managers or employees. If you are a manager or new business company owner, we would not mind assisting you in regard to dealing with the tardiness and inattentive behavior. But if you are entirely new to doing and planning your own new business, we would like to inspire (or motivate) you every step of the way. That is what the fifth segment of this short, informational business article will be dealing with. Do enjoy your reading every step of the way, and be inspired.

  1. The annual business plan As a young company just starting out, this will be the first of two big plans for the year. For starters, the first big plan takes care of setting up the new business. The next big plan will essentially be your annual business plan which reviews what progress was made during the course of the year to date and what should be realistically projected for the new year. If you have started your business around April, say for argument’s sake, still factor in that next big planning session for around November of that same business year.
  2. The quarterly business plan The idea behind scheduling your own personal or corporate planning sessions around the calendar year is so that you can closely align your business with other seasonal events that generally occur throughout the year. If you are running a retail-oriented organization, you should be taking into account the year’s seasons. So that and a great deal of other things, being said, the excuse should never be that it depends what type of business is being carried out. Carry out those quarterly planning sessions and meetings.
  3. Monthly meetings Previously, you were always accustomed to receiving your pay check monthly and on time. Now that you are your own boss or heading up a small company, your monthly meetings takes care of your staff being paid on time as well. More importantly, it ensures that you are able to keep track of and meet your month-end financial obligations. You also ensure that your new business orders are taken care of while invoicing your clients on time.
  4. Weekly meetings Whether you are working solely for yourself or running a small to medium-sized company, weekly meetings are imperative. Rest assured, if they are correctly minuted, these meetings do not last long. Staff know in advance that the meeting is scheduled, so the onus is also on them to come prepared, including challenges and/or issues on the short meeting’s agenda. If your meeting is held first thing on Monday morning, finalize its agenda on Friday mornings, allowing for more than enough time for changes or additions to be made, if necessary and/or feasible.
  5. Taking your first steps Finally, and especially since some of you might be feeling truly nervous about taking your first, big steps into going into business for yourself, let us begin by saying that there is nothing to fear. A later article is going to give an emotive talk on the essence of being in control of your emotions. You should read that. In the meantime, we would like to congratulate you for being brave or bold in beginning to put into place the first foundations of your new business. Just remember that as a business leader, you are never alone. Peer review groupings and support mechanisms and associations are in place to assist you with your personal growth and business development.

Another aspect of your preparedness well worth bringing to your attention is what happens, or should be happening before you even reach these early stages of planning and starting up your business. Take advantage of empowering yourself with the educational and knowledge tools that are widely accessible to you today.

If your area is remote and under-developed, you can now attend accredited online business schools as well. If you already have a college degree, you can extend upon this by doing a post-grad, business oriented course. Good luck with your studies, planning and development.



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