The Great British Bake Off is one of the more popular summer shows in the UK and offers a number of lessons we can all learn for our business from the Bake Off Tent.
Throughout the show there are a number of common pitfalls that have cost bakers their place in the competition. One of the main issues has often come down to the most valuable resource of all…Time.
How many times have we heard the words under baked or over baked and more importantly the dreaded soggy bottom? With such a pressurised environment and the clocks ticking, I start to wonder what the similarity is between cake and accounting and here it is.
6 ingredients for success we can take from the bake off to consider for business
1. Avoid a soggy bottom line – The most dreaded words for bakers on the show are for Paul Hollywood to start talking about soggy bottoms. Similarly when it comes to the company bank balance we never want to see the bottom line pushed to the limit for it to crumble. It is the base for your business and as such it is vital to monitor any variables that can hit your bottom line directly. A rise in turnover may be very well but what if your costs have also risen in equal measures? Business Intelligence can help keep track of profit and loss reports into your company books.
2. Setting the timer – We often hear the bakers running into trouble when it comes to timing and this is very much the case in business. The way to overcome any potential issues is to set milestones to aim towards that have a time measureable goal. This can range from simple appointments in Outlook through to setting goals and workflows in CRM and accounting software applications.
3. Keep an eye on the competition – Paul and Mary often set difficult challenges for the technical midway through each episode, typically in which they leave out vital steps of a recipe. How often do we see one baker figure it out while the others are still wondering what to do? A simple glance over the shoulder can go a long way and in business never overlook the information you can find from social media and the internet on your competition.
4. The showstopper conundrum – Aim for the moon and reach the stars? We often see a baker that may have fallen into the bottom two needing to up their game for the show stopper challenge. This is a dangerous position and I cant help but feel we often see too many take on too big a challenge and end up not even reaching the stars. Don’t over complicate it, in the case of the bakers they need to work on the flavours and a design for the cake they can achieve. At the end of the day while our eyes determine our appetite our mouths appreciate the taste of the bake and quality always shines through. People that work for your business appreciate a clear direction and goals and objectives that are achievable. In order to achieve this think of short term goals as the ladder to your long term objective.
5. Getting knocked off your game plan – sometimes the most simple of tasks can be our undoing and that has been the case in almost every season of the Bake Off. It quite often can be something as simple as forgetting to turn the oven on. In terms of business I think the most relevant example is the danger of assumption. Proper training and a thorough understanding can keep you driven towards your goals. A simple checklist is often the way forward, although it sounds basic a procedure checklist can save a lot of embarrassment.
6. Remember your audience but have confidence in what you are doing – How often do we see Paul Hollywood interrogate a baker when they start talking about what ingredients they are going to use or a certain technique they plan to use for Paul to shake his head or mutter the words “good luck with that”. At the end of the day while you are baking for the judges and your bake needs to satisfy them, you also need to believe in what you are doing. Confidence and belief is the key to success. Paul is looking to knock the contestants but at the end of the day he is challenging them to prove him wrong.
I hope you enjoyed reading my lessons from the Bake Off and are looking forward to the next installment as much as I am. A final piece of wisdom would be to always check you have the ingredients to build your show stopper. This could be the right team, the right software infrastructure from accounting through to hardware, the right suppliers and most important of all ensuring customer happiness.