Back to Business Basics

Visualizing your business as a restaurant is a quick and powerful way to get started or back on track.

Regardless of your industry segment, the types of 1
products and services you sell, if you are a B2B or
a B2C business the basics are covered if you
imagine that your business is a restaurant.
Visualizing your business as a busy restaurant is
the quickest and easiest path to ensure you are
covering all of the basic business necessities.
Having held management and executive positions
in Healthcare, IT, Retail Electronics and Oil and
Gas industries and working with mature mega
million dollar international enterprises and small
startup ventures, growing your business comes
down to covering all the basics. It is remarkable
how much and how fast your business will grow if you focus on these fundamentals:

‐ Location, how many times have you seen restaurant after restaurant fail because of the chosen location? Eventually you may see a different type of business in that same space open and flourishes. Significant planning needs to be done and dozens of things need to be considered in this most important first step. For larger businesses looking to expand globally this planning is even more important; not only do you need to choose the right region/country, sub region/city you also need to pick a physical spot to do business.

– Environment, The look and feel of your facility is going to make a huge difference, it is proven that environment drives behavior. You would never want to eat at a dirty, smelly rat infested location. Even a “dive” is a good place to go if it covers the basics of cleanliness and the “dive atmosphere” is by design. Having seen everything from massive shipyards to small machine shops the look and feel, the organization and cleanliness of the place says so much about your business. Here is an excellent video of Bill Strickland I have had the pleasure of meeting him.‐ leadership‐speaker‐bill‐strickland‐at‐chicago‐ideas‐week.html

Menu, Every restaurant I have been to in more than 30 countries provide a menu with pricing. Sometimes this is a very large well developed descriptive leather wrapped book and other times it is scrawled on the wall with chalk. Features that are not on the menu also exist and are typically told orally as soon as one is seated and prior to
ordering. If you wanted to build a restaurant of
any significant size or efficiency without having 2
a menu or knowing your sale pricing
(sometimes with high margin options like
bacon or cheese) you would fail.

It is remarkable how many businesses I have
worked with do not have this basic item
covered. Imagine if you went to a restaurant
and perhaps they did not have prices on the
menu. Perhaps you wanted the price if they
could tell you instantly it may be ok, but if they had to go ask, and took 30 minutes to get back to you I am sure you would leave before they returned. When I started working with the world’s 2nd largest top drive manufacturer (top drives are huge oilfield drills that cost between 1 and 3 million dollars). It took almost a week to give a quote to a customer. It was a long painstaking craft that involved multiple departments sometimes in different countries and a wide range of time zones.

3I launched what was thought by the engineers an impossible project, a project to create a proper priced menu and create standards (basic menu items core top drive system) and then add the most common options (bacon and chesses or in this case links, elevators and inserts) and then some side dishes (anti‐collision systems, Casing drive tools, training packages) took some time to build. The results where extraordinary, quotation time dropped from a week to 5 minutes! We were able

to quote customers before our competition even called prospective buyers back. Sale cycle dropped in some cases from months to instantaneous. One memorable event was that a customer called and left a message for a quote. As the customer was just down the street from the office the sales person instead of calling them back simply created the quotation and went over to the customers office, quote/contract in hand within 20 minutes. The customer was in need of the system urgently, the price was at market, and delivery matched the needs. The customer signed the contract and provided a deposit check on the spot. Having worked in so many industries I can guarantee that this is not impossible or impractical just because everyone in your segment does things one way becomes a huge advantage. You can do things better you just need commercial innovation.

Pricing, There is an enormous amount of research and data about pricing that you can read for YEARS. It is very important to choose the correct “market clearing price” for your products. Having your products priced to cheap can hurt you as much or more than being too expensive. Many factors go into pricing a menu in a restaurant. The same diligence must be used to price your products. I have found especially in the oilfield sector that a lot of products and companies live and die by taking the easiest path to pricing products. Typically this is 4done by a cost plus acceptable profit margin model. New product introductions and innovations are also brought to market this way that will either sit and not sell or leave vast amounts of money on the table. The best way to price a product to maximize sales and profits is to look objectively at the product, the market, the market potential, competitive products (which may be the traditional way or products to do a job/service), customer ROI potential. Brainstorm every factor to every family of prospective

customers to determine your sale price. THEN and only then take a look at the cost and determine your margin. This will tell you if you should be in this business or not, we have all heard that companies compete on Value not Price in a marketspace. The hard thing to do is that you have to look at your products and price through your customer’s eyes and perspective. Then you can understand if you have optimized pricing and can provide true value where it’s important, your customers.

In closing I suggest that you imagine your business as a restaurant experience. Visualize it, pretend you are coming to eat at your business. Would your customers show up, find you how do they find you. Do you have enough seating for peak times, do you have enough serving staff (sales), and how long may you have to wait to get seated, then served? Are you given a menu, does it have pricing? How long does it take to give your order? Are your serving staff able to describe in detail everything on the menu? How good are they asking if “you want fries with that?” Can your kitchen handle the amount of orders you get in a timely manner. Do you have a plan B for overload situations so people don’t walk out having to wait too long? Do you have a till to take orders? Can you take credit cards, how long does it take to pay the bill? Do you have to‐go boxes? How clean is your bathroom (Literally, if it’s a welding shop or an executive hi‐rise you are graded on the cleanliness of your bathroom). Do you thank them when they are leaving and ask how you did and to please come see us again.

About the author

Michael Szafron has held Management and Executive positions in the Oil and Gas, Medical, Information Technology and Retail fields. Michael has grown companies and operating divisions globally having done business in multiple industries in more than 30 countries and counting. Currently Michael is setting up the US based Energy Division of an Israeli company that would like to get their MRI and NMR products into the oilfield and refining sectors.