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Business Building Ideas to Use Right Now

Your PC business can be grown rapidly and organically by doing what you do best. Here are four business building ideas to incorporate into your routine to cause your business to flourish.

Participate in many gatherings
Ramp up your creativity and exclusivity
Get feedback
Collect your endorsements


Participate in many gatherings
Gatherings should be a major part of your business building practices! They can be large, small or anything in between and they're the perfect occasion for food; and the perfect time to get your name out there and your best market research done. There are many places where you can take advantage of this. Here are some of the types of gatherings we participate in: our church's monthly potlucks; group outings; dinner parties at our place; and cooking for others on our travels.

Whenever my wife and I make our trips, where we have facilities to cook in, we make it a point to do some type of food engagement. If we visit friends or family, we make it a food thing where we do some or all of the cooking. Our ideal gathering is one where there are family, friends and/or friends of family or friends present with different backgrounds and different tastes. This way we get a pretty good snapshot of what works and what doesn't. They may ask us what they should bring and our usual response is, "Bring yourselves. We'll handle the food." It's an awesome way to take the pressure off and to gain your captive audience. [Not many people turn down a good meal!]

We judge the keepers by: what gets eaten the quickest; which things folks come back for seconds/thirds; the comments; how many times we get asked, "Do you have a recipe for this?" or "Can you tell me how to make this?"... This gives us one of the best indicators of what really works and what to add to our menus. The more diverse your crowd, the better your marketplace barometer. Look for things that translate well across your gathering's participants.

Ramp up your creativity and exclusivity
Take trips, ask questions, experiment and play!
I'm a huge fan of the Food Network's TV show "Iron Chef America". They challenge their chefs to stay out of the box and innovate dishes out of mystery ingredients. When I'm at the markets I get as much info as I can. It helps my mind creatively wander. Possibilities!

I purposely remove obvious ingredients from my dishes before prepping them to force new solutions creating new dishes. It always works, because I always learn something new!

For example...

Challenge
Make a lasagna and leave out the noodles, or the tomato sauce, or the meat...
Solution
Use eggplant, rice, kale leaves; use or cream sauce, butternut squash sauce or tomatillo sauce; use tofu, mushrooms or tempeh

These things may or may not pose a challenge for you, but the idea is to find whatever challenges you, and create a solution for it. What happens in that process is that you get a better sense of what your alternatives are and how to work with them, you end up creating your own signature dishes and your crowd gets something they've never tasted before and come to know you as the consumate chef.

Get feedback
Feedback is always important. It is your finger on the proverbial pulse of your business. It would be way too easy to get comfortable with making a dish that is, at best, mediocre and think it's great if you're not constantly getting crucial feedback from your clientele and gathering participants. Ultimately you want to know how to cater to your clients; and if you're not giving them the best they can get, you can quickly become dispensable and your services negotiable on their priority list. Always make sure you're hitting their mark at the very least and better yet... knocking it out of the park. If you're not getting rave reviews on your food and presentation, guess what? ...you need to go back to the drawing board. You want your clients to wonder what they ever did without you and how to keep your services for the long haul.

Collect your endorsements
There's no better endorsement you can get than from a satisfied client. You want to get your endorsements often and at the peak of satisfaction. Let their endorsements come at the time when the flavor is still in their mouths. You want that passion to come through to your potential 'new' clients and you want them to live vicariously through the experiences of your current clients.

Call your client and ask about their experience with your food. If they spill over with descriptive praise copy it down and ask them if you can quote them. If they give you the 'go ahead' type it out and email, snail mail or hand deliver it to them for their sign-off and add it to your file [you're going to need it in the near future]. You've now got your endorsement!

Well there you have it... four ideas to build your PC business: Gatherings; Creativity; Feedback; and Endorsements. Employ these ideas and you'll grow your business.

As always, it's been my pleasure sharing with you these ideas to build your business. Until next time...

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