Take time off.
This was one of the biggest mistakes we made. For the first few months we didn’t take a single break. We were working 12-14 hours, 7 days a week. I think the only good that came off that was that I lost some weight. But the stress was showing, tempers ran short, and decision making waned.
We had reached the startup burn out stage. Thankfully we realized it and created a more suitable work schedule. I even started a Yoga routine to ensure I exercised and released stress on a daily basis. Sure, there are days when you still have to put in long hours, but the breaks help you deal with the additional stress and make you more productive. Make sure you are taking time off, delegate work and recruit help where possible. Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
You can’t please everyone.
I believe this realization is stark when you work in the food industry, but equally applicable to any other business. Everyone’s palate is different. It’s impossible to make a dish customized to a person’s taste every time. A pinch of salt, a dash of lime, a tad bit more of chilly can make all the difference. In the first month of operations we were gung ho about customer feedback and tried to incorporate everything in our recipes.
Thankfully it didn’t take us a month to figure out that the same dish can be liked or hated by two different people. So, we put a stop to random feedback implementation. We now ask people how they liked the food and if more than three people say the same thing about a dish, we take that into account. While this is the age of mass personalization, there is also a brand identity that you need to maintain. So, while it’s important to listen to your customers, it’s equally important to have your own unique flavor, your USP for which people will flock to buy your product or service. Stop trying to please everyone and just let your venture be what it is.
With that I hope I’ve helped you along your business path. I am on my roller coaster, are you ready for yours?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Supriya Jain is the Founder of Miitra, a social organization for the elderly and teztadka a Bangalor-based restaurant serving North Indian cuisine. Supriya is also a self-proclaimed wordsmith and a foodie. A marketer by profession she also heads the Global Thought Leadership Marketing Initiative at Wipro Ltd. In this role she has successfully revamped content strategy, revitalized social presence, and contextualized Wipro’s point of view by institutionalizing experiential and real time thought leadership. Connect with @jainsupriya on Twitter.
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