Last week I was honoured to be asked to give a talk at my local university. I received a message from the tutor for Business Management. I felt a little out of my depth but accepted the invitation as the tutor, Mr Summon, wanted his students to hear from a local businesswoman.
Not only did he want me to talk about my successes but also my failures, well, not so much failures but all the perils and pitfalls, of which there have been many.
My business has been a real slow burner - its taken a decade to achieve some sort of success. For most people, success in business does not come easy, and I am one of those people. I recall a very famous 70s’ advert by Findus Foods, the strap line was “success on a plate for you” but nobody actually hands you success on a plate. Nope, it takes, hard work, tenacity, oodles of energy, focus, but importantly belief in oneself and dedication to one’s craft.
Even though I now have my own cookbook, spice range, YouTube channel, radio show, celebrity clients and this fabulous column, I still don’t really see myself as a businesswoman - I see myself as a passionate cook/chef, wife and mother but the clue is in the title, I am a woman and I am in business, therefore, I suppose I am a businesswoman.
It took me a while to have the confidence to turn my passion into my business - yes, I always loved being creative in the kitchen and throwing the best Bollywood dinner parties, but there was so much I had to learn and HAVE learned since starting my business. So, I thought I would impart some words of wisdom, plus a cheeky little pseudo recipe for success and naturally, I have used food analogies. Well, I am the Spice Queen, surely you wouldn’t expect anything less!
Recipe For Hospitality and Catering
Cooking Time: Slowly But Surely
Use a slow cooker or simmer gently, don’t use a pressure cooker. Take your time and allow things to develop and ferment.
A tsp of tenacity
A dollop of diligence
A large cup of faith
100s of ounces of hard work
A tbsp spoonful of sincerity
Seek Support Locally - Seek out staff/colleagues who share your ambition, vision and dreams. Build a support team around you that can support you, listen, guide, and most importantly are honest with you. Because, when we own our own business, our passion sometimes is not enough, and candid conversations are needed.
Networking Works - Being your own boss can be isolating, so join a local networking group or several if you wish. Find one that fits your needs and find one with an abundance of like-minded people. If you find the right group, it will be a pleasure to attend, not a chore.
Build Your Brand - Be authentic and be yourself, well you have no choice - everyone else is taken!.. I know I am joking again, but what I am trying to say is, enjoy what you do and then you will come across sincere. This in turn leads to good customer service and ultimately, sales and profit - which is why we are in business.
Finally, serve with a smile, sprinkled with love!
To grow your business it takes: Persistence, Patience, Perseverance.
For find out about Parveen’s recipes and to contact her go to www.parveenthespicequeen.com