Is There a Recipe for Success in Business?

I am sure that you have heard the term ‘recipe for success’ used many times. It is often used in business and gives the idea that there is a recipe or formula for success that if followed you cannot fail in your business.

Is this true? Is there a recipe for success in business?

In cookery there are millions of recipes and if you follow the recipe you will probably finish up with a reasonable dish. However any chef will tell you that a recipe is a guide, usually a very good one but there are variables that a recipe can’t allow for. A chef will tell you that cooking times are a guide. Your oven may not heat to exactly the temperature set and so your cooking time may need to be longer or shorter than the recipe states. The food that you are cooking may very in quality resulting in a different taste or cooking time.

How does the chef deal with these variables? Usually he will keep tasting or testing his dish as it cooks and his experienced palate and eye tell him how much he needs to vary the recipe by for the dish to be good.

The same can be true of recipes for success in business. If you were to copy exactly someone’s successful plan it may not work out as good for your business. You may not have taken into account the variables. Here are some of the variables to take into account.

The Country or Area in which your business will work.

Different regions may not support your product. Possibly there could be government restrictions or tax laws that may affect profitability. Can adjustments to the formula work? If your business plan requires high volumes of customers visiting your premises it is not likely to work in a rural or isolated area.

The Economic Climate

The plan that you are following might have been successful in a boom economy but is flawed for times of recession. Parts of the plan might still work and some adaption may make it work successfully.

Changing attitudes

Since the plan was formulated it could be that customers attitudes have changed to the way the plan was formulated to work. This may require a change in marketing strategy which will then make the plan work. For example if the successful business model had been built on building a large customer base through old style advertising in yellow pages and other directories, newspaper ads and on the radio it could be that in todays world these would not have the same results. The return on investment (ROI) with these methods may today prove to be poor and too costly. However with a few tweaks the recipe for success could still work.

These are just a few ideas so that when you read books telling you how someone built their business, do keep in mind that they may have started out years ago in a different place and certainly in a different environment. With some adjustments to allow for changing factors then the recipe for success that they followed or invented may well work for you.

Roland Millward
The Entrepreneur Club

Image: Simon Howden /

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