I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Trade In Happiness

I've recently been reading The E-Myth, which is a well-known book all about the things which go wrong in small businesses, and some suggestions for how to fix them.

One of the concepts in the book is that your business needs to be about a lot more than your product. I won't go into the whole thing here (frankly, it's like a million pages you can read yourself) but basically you need to decide on your core value (or purpose in life) and then build your business around your core value.

It didn't take me long to work out why I do what I do. It's not because I'm good at it (which as we all know is often a cause for internal debate.) It's not even because I want to make money (although let's face it, that would be nice.) It's really just because, at the core of it, I'm a people pleaser. I like making people happy. I like being a part of their family happiness, a part of life milestone events, a part of something which is bigger than me. It's no great surprised that I also equate food with love (as many people do) and so my offering of this cake, this little bit of sugary love imbued with my creative soul... it's a gift. A gift you pay me for, but still very much a gift.

It also explains why I almost self-destruct when a client is not happy with their product. It feels like rejection - not only of the product, but of me personally. That I tore away a small piece of myself to give to someone else - a complete stranger - and that they rejected it...well, you can just imagine how fabulously shitty that feels. We all want to be loved, don't we? And that, too, is a part of my business. I sell a bit of love, but also expect to get a bit of love in return - even if that love is just in the way of a verbal thanks, a nice email, a comment on the biz facebook page, or even just the look in their eyes when they accept my gift. So it's true that those clients who don't bother with any of those gestures (and they are few, but it does happen)...well, I feel a little pang of annoyance (or sadness?) that they did not receive the love in kind and return a bit of it.

I know, I know. It's emotional. But...you know, I think that just makes me a lot better at what I do. Sure, I could use pre-mixes, and sell Designs 1-10 with no variation...but none of that is about the love you get when you get a cake from me. And that love...THAT'S the elusive point of difference which all small businesses hope will edge them over the competition.

Cake. It's not just for Christmas.

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