Guest Author - Karen Tempel
Do you often find yourself wondering exactly how you handled a situation that you have encountered before? Have you ever thought, ‘if only I could remember …’? Do you repeatedly have to refigure quantities, times, etc?
Maybe it is time to construct a written set of standard operating procedures. Nearly every business will have some sort of standard procedures to be followed, whether they are written or verbal. A personal chef business should be no different.
Having a written record of how you plan to handle different situations can be very useful. If you have a guide to follow, it is easy to assess each situation to see if it fits the operating procedures you have set forth. This can save countless hours of ‘re-inventing the wheel’. It can also serve as a tool to determine if a new opportunity should be investigated or merely passed over.
If you have difficulty saying no to every request to donate your services or reduce your fees, you may find that it becomes easier to stand firm when you have a procedure to follow. It is always easier to set strict guidelines when there is no pressure from someone attempting to negotiate with you.
A set of guidelines can also be useful in determining everything from how and where to spend advertising dollars to how much time to book for clients versus the amount of time needed for administrative tasks. Do you really need to advertise in the latest special edition publication of your local newspaper? Does the fee fit within your pre-determined parameters? Can you really squeeze in another client this week? Or will the rest of your clients suffer due to lack of office time needed to plan menus?
It is far more important that your guidelines be easy to access than that they be in any kind of a formal format. Your standard operating procedures can be as simple as notes jotted down in a place where you can easily review them to make sure that they still apply to your current situation.
The time needed to construct some written set of rules will be repaid many times over. It is infinitely easier and faster to refer to a set of guidelines than to assess each situation as a separate entity as it arises. Take the time to consider what you want from your business, what it will take to get there and put some notes down on paper. You will enjoy the peace of mind from knowing that when a new situation presents itself, you will already have an answer waiting.