Keeping yourself, and your business, in check: top tips for self-improvement

27 May, 2016

Owning your own food business, or any business, is a little like going back to school. Instead of grades however, you need to improve your business acumen – sales, financial, customer service, communication skills - and adapt to the various challenges that will be thrown your way. Here we have compiled some top tips for self-improvement.
 
Never say never
 
Business is best approached with an open mind. By all means, stick to your principles and core values as these are what make you an individual. However, self-improvement relies on self-awareness: the ability to recognise when you are wrong and be ready to make changes when they are needed. The best businesses are dynamic, nimble and can flex when necessary. Don’t let the need to be “right” stop you from changing and doing what is actually right for your business!
 
Never shy away from education
 
When it comes to business, there’s never any excuse to stop learning. Regardless of how long you’ve been a manager or business owner, there will always be something new to discover, or a different way of approaching a subject that you’re unfamiliar with. Being the best at what you do isn’t about knowing everything, but acknowledging that you still have much to get to grips with and that nothing ever stands still. To grow your business, you have to keep moving – stay curious and keep learning. So read business books (we recommend starting with Michael Gerber’s “The e-myth”) or listen to audio books if that’s your thing; watch Ted talks, read industry news and learn from the experts in your field.
 
Don’t sweat the small stuff
 
How many times has someone told you not to sweat the small stuff? In business, as in life, the 80 / 20 rule applies. Apply yourself to the important things that will make the biggest difference to the health of your business. Focussing on little things for vanity’s sake or small issues that have gone wrong but make no difference to the bottom line will drive you mad! That being said, upholding quality standards in your business (and ensuring your team do the same) is essential.  
 
Watch those around you
 
Don’t ever assume that you know all there is to know about your business, simply because it’s yours. When it comes to self-improvement, it’s important to listen and accept advice, and to allow yourself to be influenced by those around you – particularly your franchisor! They have been in business longer than you, managed and grown the business on a much larger scale, and have created the model by which all their franchises are moulded, so be guided by them. Egotism will do you no favours!
 
In business, you should always make room for self-improvement. As Stephen Covey wisely noted back in the 1970’s, you must take time to “sharpen the saw”.