Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pancakes, Tacos, and Other Important Lessons in Business

You may be thinking: "What on Earth do pancakes have to do with owning your own business?  And tacos... Seriously?  Sounds like running your own business has driven you crazy!"  Well, it has, at least a little, but what I have learned in my first year of owning a business is that you have to be a little crazy to do it all!

Speaking of doing it all, that is exactly where pancakes and tacos come in, really, it will all make sense by the time this is done (at least to the other crazy business owners out there).

Have you ever eaten an an Original Pancake House?  I actually have not, however, if IHOP counts, then I'm experienced enough to speak on this matter.  Pancakes, don't you just love a hot, buttery, sweet-maple stack of pancakes?  My mouth just watered a bit thinking about them!  (Did yours?  Are you still there... if you haven't taken off to get your own stack of hotcakes, read on.)

When pancakes are prepared by an expert, they are fluffy, but just dense enough to fill you up.  They are a touch salty, and a bit sweet, but not so sweet they aren't improved by a drizzling of sweet maple syrup.  Think of the best pancakes you've ever had... got them?  Okay, now think about where you were.  For the sake of really making sense of this idea, let's say you were at a pancake establishment, a restaurant known for their expertise in the very craft of pancake-making!  Did you look at the menu before you ordered?  Was anything else on the menu?  Most likely you were handed a menu with no less than 20 items on it, at least 19 of them not even pancakes!  And, what's this?  Under the lunchtime offerings:  "Tacos"!  Wow... who knew?
Maybe the tacos are okay, delicious even.  But, can they be?  Here comes my theory, and then I will tie it up with a fancy bow, just stick with me.

Pancakes are your "main thing," your specialty.  For my business, SynRRg Marketing & PR, my "Pancakes" are:  Social Media Training & Management, and Food and Product Photography.  They are great, it's what I do the very best, and also what I enjoy doing the most!

Tacos are your "I can do that if I have to thing," definitely not your specialty.  For SynRRg, my "Tacos" are:  Graphic Design (flyer, coupon, and newspaper ad work), Website Design, Website Management, Blog Creation, Logo & Branding Design.  Those are all things that I can do, things that I have done out of necessity of paying work, but they are cumbersome, time-consuming menu items.

When you are a pancake house, you buy the ingredients in bulk, your recipe is memorized  you could make and flip pancake after pancake off the griddle in your sleep!  (Boy, you are talented, and everyone knows it!)  But... look at the other page of your menu, there are tacos there, aren't there?  If you search your drawers for the right utensils  search the pantry and cooler for miscellaneous ingredients, you could, if you had to, scrape together some tacos for the customer who *gasp* has the compunction to order tacos at a pancake house, and hey, you want more on the bill, right?

Here is my challenge for you in 2013... Erase the Tacos off your menu!  You make beautiful Pancakes, and you should focus on them.  It's difficult, I realize this,  I realize the difficulty in it because I am accepting this challenge myself.  I will be saying: "I don't make Tacos, but I know someone who does; would you like to try my Pancakes?"  And if the answer is "no thank you" I will take that and move on to the folks looking for the perfect Pancake, because that's what I do!

It won't be easy, and you may find yourself making the occasional Taco, but soon enough, your dining room will be filled with the just-right customers wielding knifes, forks, and those cute, little pitchers of maple syrup!

Grab your whisk and your apron, and get your griddle fired up; you have pancakes to make!

Cheers in the New Year!