Since August 2010 when The Great British Bake Off launched onto our TV screens millions of us have been transfixed every week watching 12 amateur bakers going through the competition trying desperately to impress Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with their cake-making, pastry, bread-making and patisserie skills. Each week the bakers have to complete their signature bake, the technical challenge and their showstopper bake and at the end of each show the least successful baker is sent home.
I have enjoyed the weekly dramas of soggy bottoms, collapsing constructions and half raw offerings as much as everyone else however recently as well as enjoying the baking I have been seeing some great business lessons that can be applied.
Over the next 3 blogs I’m going to be sharing the business lessons that I have learned through watching The Bake off.
Lesson One: Consistency
Consistency has two meanings on The Bake Off. Firstly, it literally means the consistency of the unbaked cake mix, batter or bread dough.
Secondly, consistency means the ability to create the same item again and again, usually 12 times, and produce exactly the same result. So the 12 pastries, for example, must all be the same size, colour and look identical. When I started watching the show I was amazed at how difficult most of the bakers found it to create 12 identical offerings whether it was cakes, pies, bread or pastries.
Consistency is very hard to achieve in business as well. Writing and posting a blog on the same day every week, fortnight or month sounds very easy at the beginning but as I’m finding out having the ideas, doing the research, pulling together good images and actually writing something that your audience wants to read is difficult and it takes a lot of time. Once you have told your audience to expect you see your blog at a certain time you need to stick to that schedule to build their trust and interest in what you are producing.
If you look closely at the dates over the past few weeks when I’ve been publishing my blogs I always manage one a week but my original idea was to post every Tuesday and sometimes it has been later in the week before the blog is up. The same as many of you I have been side-tracked by work for clients, trade shows, meetings the list goes on. The important thing to know is that nobody is interested in what excuses you want to use for not being consistent. They want you to show up for them when you have said you will and produce what you have said you will produce and the rest is just white noise.
So how do you improve your consistency?
I done some research on this to see if I can learn from people who are far more experienced at this than me and what I have learned is this:
- Create a schedule for your blog posts and put this schedule in your diary and on you’re to do list. Make it non- negotiable to do this every week, fortnight or month whatever your schedule is.
- Create a schedule of blog post topics. This will save a lot of time when you come to sit down and write your blog. Jot down thoughts as you have them about ideas that you want to write about.
- Put these ideas into categories. For example, the main categories that I plan to write about are trade shows, business and life balance so I put each idea into a list for each category.
- Batch write the blogs by topic so that you can continue a similar train of thought throughout your writing for that topic. The great things about writing this way is that you can be confident that you can post your blog on time every time as you always have a few up your sleeve in case your week is not going to plan.
This is an area that I’m not very good at being consistent in and partly this is because I’m way out of my comfort zone here. When I started my business I didn’t even have a Facebook page never mind a twitter account and to me the number of platforms that are available is overwhelming. I do understand that this is something that I need to do and here is my list for how I manage to have some social media presence without getting too distracted by it:
- Research where your ideal clients are on social media. I did this exercise very recently for my own business and I have discovered that many of the companies that I’m interested in keeping in touch with are on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. To make sure that I’m using the time that I’ve allocated for social media to the best advantage I’ve just created boards on Pinterest and I’m now looking at how to use Instagram.
- Source interesting quotes and credit the author of them. Again the same as the blog posts I have started to work on quotes in batches to be more time efficient.
- Schedule appropriate posts for each social media platform you are using. I find that buffer is very easy and there are many others for example Edgar, Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
- By scheduling your posts it means that you can have a regular flow of quotes, sharing of posts that you have enjoyed and links to interesting articles that you have read. The danger of just sharing things that you like when you see them is that you could sit and share 10 things in 15 minutes and then nothing for 3 days and this fits and starts method doesn’t build interest in what you are doing.
Next week I’m going to share lesson 2 where I share my thoughts on the danger of failing to plan adequately in your business.
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