Have you ever worked all week long and feel like you have achieved not very much at all?
Have you been working for a few weeks or even months, and your business is still in the same place as it was? Or even worse - behind where it was before you started?
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming against the tide? Or that there’s not enough hours in the day?
All of this usually stems from of a lack of priority, driven by a lack of a properly written plan.
When working with restaurants, a lot of my time is spent trying to ascertain current results, study historical results as well as planning for future results.
I understand what and how it happens. I was once in this position myself, whereby too much of my time was sucked away by working in the restaurant rather than on it. In any one day there can likely be up to a hundred distractions, all seemingly pulling you away from your priorities and your goals - yet somehow they all seem important and that they can’t be left. Suppliers and salesman that turn up out of the blue offering you a ‘great deal’ are usually the most irritating for me personally. Phonecalls, letters, emails, notifications, calendar invites, you name it.
If you can learn to separate the ‘distractions’ from the ‘work’, then you are half way there. The business plan is a key tool to helping you work this out on the spot, as you will have already analysed the business and you know straight away what is relevant to you, and what is ultimately going to be a distraction and waste of time.
I wanted to write to restaurant owners today to make clear, that the key to your success is to allocating a few hours per week working on your business plan and strategy, reprioritising, analysing current performance, and setting yourself up for the weeks coming up.
Here are my thoughts about some of the benefits a business plan brings to restaurants:
A properly written business plan saves you money
A properly written business plan saves you energy and time
A properly written business plan acts as your insurance policy
A properly written business plan makes sure you have work/life balance
A properly written business plan looks after you and your team’s wellbeing
A properly written business plan sets you up for success
A properly written business plan is not a paperwork exercise
A properly written business plan should constantly be used for navigation through time
Sam’s top tips for business planning
Change your environment when working on your business plan - find an inspirational venue or a competitor venue, a cafe, home (if you can concentrate) or a library. Changing your environment prevents distractions and allows you to change your mindset much easier.
Look at your key areas of your business (use a SWOT analysis template as a quick and effective tool)
Get help from outside - ask your team, read customer reviews to get inspiration for opportunities. Read blogs, read reviews of your competitors.
Recognise your achievements as well as opportunity improvements - you have to congratulate yourself for the work you have achieved.
Keep it simple. Write a list of priorities for the coming weeks with targets and deadlines, and refer to them every day so that you don’t forget what they are.
Be realistic with your timeframes.
If you’re really struggling there are those of us in the industry that can help you gain clarity and help you to get back on track.
Don’t allow yourself to get pulled and distracted away from your important tasks. For example I have noticed a lot of my clients are continually bombarded by suppliers, people trying to sell stuff. These people do not deserve your time and generally are not doing you any favours. Tell them you’re busy and take note of what they are offering you when you are reflecting. Maybe they can help you but right now isn’t the time. You already have your priorities for this week, so nobody will interfere with that.
Share your goals with your team and get them onboard to help you. The more you can get help, two things are likely to happen: engagement goes up, customer experience improves; you are more likely to achieve the results by working as a team. Ask your team for results and you will get them more often than not, I promise you.
Download the PDF I have created that shows what I’m talking about with regards to your time process and how to manage your workflow through the days and weeks.
As a restaurant consultant, I spend a lot of time effectively developing restaurant support. I always make sure I am in a position to offer professional, reliable and trustworthy advice to entrepreneurs from the idea conception onwards. However, I can say honestly without a shadow of a doubt that any decision ever made by a business manager should always consult their business plan first. As well as anticipating your best and worst case scenarios, it helps you plan ahead, think strategically and change your mindset to one that works ON your business instead of IN it.
If you need a hand, feel free to get in touch.
Thanks for reading,