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Your Business: Finding the right recipe

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Steve Strauss
Monday, October 05, 2009
There are a lot of moving parts that go into starting a successful new business — a good idea, sufficient capital, a quality team, and so on — but a vital, often overlooked factor is the need for a good business recipe.

Here is what I mean: If you were going to bake some bread, you would start with a good bread recipe. You would follow the directions, make the dough, bake it, and before long, you would have bread. You could then use that recipe again and again to create the same result.

Well, that is exactly what you should do in your new business. To succeed, you need a business success recipe that consistently cooks up new customers, again and again.

When I first started out as a solo lawyer, I tried a lot of different things to get clients — ads in the Yellow Pages, speeches, networking, radio ads — you name it. Finally, I settled on offering free legal seminars to the public. I found out that whenever I put on one of these events, I would get enough new clients to keep me going for a while.

I created out a recipe to make my (groan) dough.

That is what anyone new to business needs to do if they are going to stick around for the long-haul, especially in the current economic climate here in Oregon. Your recipe could be almost anything:

  • A stall at the Saturday Market in Portland
  • A great website
  • A sidewalk sale

The vital thing is that you try out new and different ideas and find one that works, consistently. Perfect it. You will be glad you did; a good business recipe is calming — it allows you to know that you will always be able to count on it to keep you in business.

Steve Strauss is the small-business columnist for Oregon Business.

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