10 Ways a Small Business Startup is Like a Kitchen

Cooking at home is fun, running your business should be too. Both include measuring, stirring, sharing and community. Being a Chef requires certain skills, and I have been able to use what I have learned in the kitchen to grow as an entrepreneur.

You must be able to find direction in chaos

Being able to focus on the task at hand while multitasking is key. When you’re cooking, there are many things going on at a time and we must be able to focus our minds on what task we need to do to get it done. Sometimes things get out of hand, chaotic, and yet just as a chef, us entrepreneurs need to stop, organize and focus on the task at hand.

A recipe is a system for consistent quality and experience

Accuracy is important. You know that a ½ cup of sugar is not the same as a ¾ cup. The same comes to business. YOu need to be able to judge how much you need and when it is important. If you order too many materials, costs go up. If you don’t follow directions and steps, it can affect production, and cost. Systems are a business’s recipes, and are designed to help everyone create a consistent experience.

Tasting is Fun

One of the benefits of cooking is that you get to sample or taste it along the way, adjusting as needed. It can also get other people involved so they can give input. Being able to sample at certain points in the process may prevent costly mistakes, and/or allow you to change directions if needed.

Outcome Based Performance

When you are tasting and making changes to recipes, you have the outcome, or the end result in mind. In business, a clear direction to everyone on your team can be the one step that gets everyone working in the same direction. By stating goals and outcomes, and re-engaging in those throughout the process, you regain focus on what you want to achieve.

Do the Dishes as You Go

In your kitchen, when you are using multiple tools, the counter can be overwhelming. If you have the mixer, 2 cutting boards, 3 bowls and a knife out, where do you place the raw chicken? The same thing is true with your email- take the time to clean out your inbox as you go. Set that time aside, to clear up and organize for the next task, otherwise the view can overwhelm your senses.

Kids Want to Join In

I LOVE to cook at home and have my kids involved. Even if they simply measure out ingredients, it teaches them math & life skills. The same thing happens everyday at work. Taking a few seconds here and there to show your team what you do on a daily basis helps them build trust in you and themselves. By guiding them, you get the benefit of seeing if they are ready for that individual task, and can assess where to go. The more times you do it, the less you need to be there, and can focus on the other things you need to handle.

If you keep opening the oven door, your cake will go flat

By checking in too often, you will affect results. By being the boss, you have to check in on things, but doing it too often can be damaging. Nobody wants to work for the guy who micromanages 24/7. I have a philosophy that I live by with employees: I hire adults, and I treat them as adults. By doing this, I allow them to embrace ownership of the task and therefore get better results.

Taste the Passion

When a chef loves his food, it tastes better. When Grandma pulls out her favorite recipe and spends all day in the kitchen the same happens. When you put all your passion and love into something, magic happens. You started the business because you have passion, and passion builds confidence, and consumers buy confidence!

Set the Table

Setting the table when you cook allows you to understand where each item goes when it is done. You put the gravy after the mashed potatoes so it doesn’t get passed down as the first item. By looking at the final process of your company, the same rules apply. Having a distinct beginning, middle and end you know when it is time for you to ‘set the table.’ This is also the point when you can have quality control before your customer sees. That final look to ensure the quality you worked for is ready and presented in the best way.

Pass the Dish

I cook because I love it. The table, the family, the friends, everything for me is about the experience together. Share what you do with the world. Being supportive to other companies, entrepreneurs, and your customers will have better results than keeping all the potatoes for yourself. Being able to enjoy each dish, that variety of what each person does and coming together for that purpose makes businesses feel like home. If home is where your heart is, share your heart and good things come.

So business is like a kitchen. Just as some recipes require tweaking, so will business. Altitude is a very real thing and requires changing the amount of flour in a recipe. Altitude is real, and so is life. Don’t let little changes, divert you and your focus. If something is not going as planned, learn from it.

JP Krause is a chef and creator of Squeal Rum, a Colorado handcrafted Dark Rum.