July 22, 2011

What Do You Call Yourself?

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a professional photo shoot earlier this week.  In talking with the photographer, she said that she was in the process of changing her thinking about who she is.  “I have to stop thinking of myself as a photographer,” she said, “and start thinking of myself as a businesswoman.”

 This statement has stuck with me because I think it’s something that a lot of us small entrepreneurs – regardless of whether we work with food, photos, or fidos – forget.   We often start our businesses because it’s a passion of ours.  For those of us food entrepreneurs we got into this crazy and wacky world because we love working with food, we love feeding people, and we love sharing good flavors with others.   So for that reason, when asked many of us will say that we’re a chef, a cook, or a baker.

But the truth of the matter is that running a small food business is much more than simply tying on an apron and firing up the ovens.  In order to make a business successful we have to think like businessmen and businesswomen first and foremost.  That means that we have to be willing to throw ourselves as enthusiastically into QuickBooks as we do into our recipes and we have to spend as much time on Marketing as we do on developing new flavor combinations.

 If what you want is to be a cook, a chef, or a baker then it might be worth taking your skills and getting hired on by someone else where you can focus all your energy on the cooking, sautéing, and baking.  If, however, you want to run your own food business then the business half of that equation needs as much of your attention as the food half.  

 I’d be interested in knowing what you think about this.  Leave a comment here or feel free to email me at info (at) smallfoodbiz (dot) com.