What do you hope to accomplish in 2014? What do you want to differently? Are there things you’d like to repeat from 2013?
No doubt, these are some of the questions that are going through your mind as you plan out 2014. It’s an exciting time for businesses, but it also comes with uncertainty and challenges. If only there was a secret formula for instant success, right? If this were the case, everyone would be rich and happy. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. However, as you embark on the New Year with new goals and objectives, here are a few ingredients to include into the mix:
Some Things Can Never Change
When you cook or bake, you know there are some things that cannot be substituted. For instance, if you’re making bread, it would be really difficult to do without flour. Most people even prefer a particular brand of flour. Now, there are trends that come up here and there, but 9 times out of 10, they are just that – they don’t stick. Take the cauliflower pizza crust for example. It works, but it will never replace flour-based pizza crusts.
The same concept is true in business. While it’s important to stay modern, do not compromise your business to be fashionable. This is true even when it comes to social media. The SugarSpun team is obviously very passionate about social media, but we never advise a business to jump onto every single social platform available. First of all, no business I know has time for this. And second and most important, a business doesn’t need to adopt a platform unless it provides some benefit in return. For example, it would be impressive if your local septic tank company could find a way to effectively utilize Pinterest. It’s possible, but it would not seem to be the most logical social media pair up.
New ideas are always welcome, but if they cause you to waver from what the core of your business is, then it is wise to question them.
Trust your instincts (Or your gut like Agent Gibbs, if you’re an NCIS fan)
You know your business better than anyone else. So, if you’re hesitant about something, then there’s likely a reason why. Whether it’s a new hire, a big investment, partnership or something similar, you need to trust yourself and your experience. This doesn’t always pertain to hesitancy either. If you have a good feeling about something and you see the benefits, go for it. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
It’s the same principle that applies to an experienced cook that knows what he or she and their families like. For example, I always add a bit more garlic, salt or butter because they are a few of my favorite things. 🙂 Without the additions, I know that I will think the dish tastes a little bland, so I just go ahead and include them in.
Add a little spice
Now, this doesn’t tip does not mean to throw out the others. You have to be consistent and act according to your business experience, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything new or try a different approach.
The amount of spice, however, should be based on your comfort level. Spice may involve some risk, but remember that risk was involved in starting your own business too. The spice could be something as big as adding a new product, or it could be testing out a new promotional tool. Take, for instance, Vine and Snapchat. Brands like Pepsi and Taco Bell have had tremendous success on these types of platforms. If your audience is there, maybe you should plan a campaign.
In a nutshell, you never want to become complacent in your business or your job. Even if business is great, there is always room for improvement and for keeping the momentum strong.
As you contemplate what ingredients you’ll need to keep your business on top in 2014, check out this delicious recipe for vodka cream pasta that involves some trusty resources as well as some new zing. It is actually Rachael Ray’s “You Won’t Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta” recipe with just a few modifications.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (4 garlic cloves total – you can’t have too much garlic, right?)
- 2 shallots, minced (Or, 1 medium onion)
- 1 cup vodka
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces of San Marzano tomatoes)
- Coarse salt and pepper (to taste)
- 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn (Or more; you can’t have too much basil either)
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
To give it a little more pizazz, add a few shakes of cayenne pepper. This doesn’t make it hot, but it simply adds a rich, zesty flavor to the cream sauce.
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it).
While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Suggested sides: Caesar salad and cheesy, garlicky Hasselback bread (You will have no regrets!)
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce, basil leaves and parmesan. Pass pasta with crusty bread.
So, there you have a quick, delicious dinner recipe with which you can discuss your recipe for your business over. Happy cooking!