Most of the stories that are read and shared over social media and magazines are success stories of entrepreneurs who have already made it. What are usually featured are their background, their motivation, and their aspirations. It is very seldom that a story emphasized the many difficulties that these entrepreneurs needed to go through before reaching the top. For many, being a business owner means having lots of money, having people to delegate things to, not having a boss, not having to report to the office from 9 to 5, and being able to do whatever it is that they want to do. But most of the time, what we don’t see and read about are their hurdles and the hardships that they experience. Some are able to get through these difficulties and continue to thrive, while some don’t.
Food entrepreneurs are not excluded from these experiences. The food business is such a competitive field and it is very demanding too that is why some restaurants, bars, and cafes fold up quickly a year or two after their opening. It is then best to be cautious and to be educated on what these hard truths are about starting a business. Remember, knowing more about them is enabling yourself to better prepare and cope. Here they are:
- You may have the most brilliant business idea and your circle may have told you that as well. But not everyone will love your concept.
Your business will just be one of the many that will be vying for customer's attention. The competition will be extremely tough and customers will usually go to a business where they have had previous transactions with already. It will really be hard to break into an already dense industry such as the food industry but it’s normal so do not be discouraged. Take all criticisms constructively and see if they apply to your business. If they do, try to check how you can still modify your business idea. For example, new visitors in your burger joint say that your burgers are way too costly than its contemporaries in the area. Should you lower down your cost right away? The answer is no. Review your pricing structure carefully and see what is making your burgers’ cost higher than your competitors’. If it is reasonable to adjust the cost, go for it. But if there is none, you will have to stick to your guns.
Another recommendation is going for a niche business concept. Something way too extraordinary but again, this is not an assurance that your customers will love what you will offer. Conduct a product testing or a survey amongst your target customers; not only with friends and family as they might be reluctant to give a negative comment or review.
- You might think that work will be less now that you’re the boss of your own company. It is not going to be like that.
You may have experienced being an employee first when you had a boss from whom you receive instructions from. Your boss as you know made most of the big decisions and was also responsible should you or any of your peers in the office commit a mistake. That boss not only managed the projects alone but also all of the employees as well – their salaries and benefits, performance, office behaviour, professional development, and many more. It is going to be like that for your now.
Your whole business will depend on you from marketing, sales, operations, accounting, and recruitment. If you are setting up a restaurant, expect to be involved in the kitchen, dining area, cashier, reception, and housekeeping – yes, even the dirty tasks. And that is what a business owner is – having total commitment to everything about his or her business. Work time as much as you want to keep it under 8 to 10 hours will definitely be extended. This could even mean sacrificing precious time with your loved ones. Make sure that you are able to explain to them what your new endeavour entails. Also, it will be the best time to apply good time management skills. Stay organised, focused, and determined.
- Profit will not come flowing in right away.
There is a stage in every business start up’s life cycle wherein its expense is practically more than its profit. Sometimes, there may be no profit at all. And this is when most new business owners start panicking by pouring in more money to the business, borrow more from loans and investors, or begin to feel discouraged all in all.
Before making any drastic decisions like closing down shop or selling your business or even borrowing money, stop and know that this is a natural occurrence amongst many small businesses. Accept that profit may not come in too easily as you are yet to build your business’ brand, allow time for customers to know your business better, and for you to settle in too within your chosen industry. Careful planning before the launch of your business should have given you the right computation as to how much should you spend for your business until such time when you have projected your business to start earning. All of these should be in your business plan. Also, be careful with spending money and make sure that you are always within your own spending limit. Manage your seed money carefully and wisely so as not to run into messy financial troubles early on into your business.
- Hiring and leading the right people for your business.
Choosing who will help you operate your business is no walk in the park. There are a lot of things that you need to figure out first like what positions do you need in your business along with the skills needed to perform such functions. You have to create policies and procedures for these people. You also need to find out which type of personality works best for a certain position. You have to identify the suitable salary range for a job title vis-à-vis skill level, rank, and experience. Bottom line, recruitment is going to be a big part of your life now as an entrepreneur. You need to find the right people, get to know them better each time you can, deal with them, manage, and even train them. You have to position yourself as someone who is able to lead the group towards success. You also need to make them realise that you are someone who can grow and maintain the stability of the business. This way, you are giving your employees the assurance that they’ll be able to keep their jobs.
Aspiring food business owners will have less worries setting up this aspect of their restaurant or café. Check our Business Manuals Made Easy’s Staff Management Manual and receive checklists, policies and procedures, agreement forms, appraisal forms, and guides that you can easily use and apply to your own business.
- You will be facing risks frequently but should still be able to make sound business decisions after.
Starting and managing a business involves a lot of risks and the very fact that you are managing one or is thinking of setting up one means you are the type who is game for challenges. This is good but in business, expect for these risks to come in frequently and that the only person that you can depend on is yourself. Also, it is not only enough that you encounter these risks. You are expected to act on them too after, meaning you will have to decide on whether to take the risk or maintain status quo. Remember, the business decisions that you will make can have a huge impact on the business itself, your finances, your employees' lives, your business relationship with other parties, even on your own personal life too. So be brave in facing these risks but take time to carefully study how you will react. Don’t create business decisions too quickly. Check out the possible outcomes first should you continue on with your choices.
Starting and growing a business is really a tough endeavour and again, not everyone is able to manage to make it work. This blog is meant to open your eyes to the realities that most entrepreneurs go through every single day. We don't want to discourage you in any way but as with every journey, it is always best to know what lies ahead - good or bad. We hope that you learned something new from this blog entry. Let us know what your thoughts are. Send us your message at firstname.lastname@example.org.