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I'm Sari Kimbell and I've done just about everything in the food industry. I have helped hundreds of packaged food business entrepreneurs. And now I want to help you make your delicious dream a reality. Whether you want to be successful at farmer's markets, online, or wholesale on the store shelves, Food Business Success is your secret ingredient. I will show you how to avoid an expensive hobby and instead run a profitable food business. Now let's jump in!
Hey there, welcome back to the podcast. All right, today, we are doing the second part of this whole problem solving mini series. And I decided to break it up into two parts. So today we are talking about solving longer term problems, can really fixing the issues, not just solving for those urgent things. And again, we have to remember that the only problem in our business is that we think there should not be problems. I really look at these long term problems, you could call them something different- opportunities, challenges. It doesn't matter what word you use. I like to think of all things in terms of problems, and that problems aren't necessarily a bad thing. And speaking of problems, we are solving one of the biggest problems long term and short term, and that is time. We're solving the issues of creating more time and growing your schedule, expanding your schedule to be able to add this whole start a business thing. And so today, I'm so excited because we are having our first call in the Create More Time Bootcamp. And if you missed your opportunity to join us live, it's not a problem, you can still come in to Food Business Success, get the replay from today. And then you can join us on the next three calls live. So don't feel like you totally missed out, missed the boat on that. You can join Food Business Success at anytime and either get the live ones as they come up for the next three Tuesday's after this. Or you can always get the recording, it'll be inside the full Food Business Success program. I like to look at long term problems as the spice of life. This is the thing that gets our juices going and gets us excited. It's where we feel like, at least for me, where I'm like, oh, I'm using my brain and I'm really strategizing, right? In my mind, this is why we become entrepreneurs. You may think it's because you just want to get your delicious coffee or kombucha, or salsa, or cookies out into the world and into people's mouths. But ultimately, that is a problem to be solved. How do we get people those products and get them aware of you or you and your business and enjoying them, right? That is a problem to be solved. So if we can just reframe it to start with and just say, no, this is part of why I'm in business. Again, if it was just easy and I had no problems, you could actually get pretty bored pretty quickly. I promise. You may think that's not the case but what we do as entrepreneurs is we just get great at solving problems. And so last week, I talked all about solving those urgent short term problems. Some there's some oftentimes just like a one off, a one time thing. But I look at sort of this longer term skill of solving problems. Usually we use it to solve two different things.
If we notice that there's a recurring urgent issue in our business, we're just going to talk business here could be in your life too. But if you notice that there's just something that like, oh, I keep having to deal with this, it wasn't just a one time thing. That's a really good time to stop and say let's do some longer term problem solving. And then the second thing is really like, let's just look at the business and we want to be strategic about it. We want to ultimately position your business for success, whatever that means to you. But this is really an opportunity to come in very neutral, like no drama, and just say what is the next step? And I recommend, I mean, definitely, we often do this kind of at the end of the year where we're looking ahead to the, you know, the next year and what are the problems? What's the growth that we want to achieve? What's the success we want? What problems do we need to solve? But, you know, you could do this quarterly, I would highly recommend you're looking at quarterly. I mean, I'm constantly looking at my business, I try to, you know, be that where I'm zooming in at the 100 foot level. And then I'm also looking at my business from that 35,000 foot level where I want to be really strategic and say, where am I going? Where was, what is success? And how am I doing on that if I've made an annual goal checking in and seeing where I'm at, right? So I'll take a couple of examples I was trying to think of things in your business that might fall into either one of these categories, either solving a recurring issue, or just being high level strategic in your business. So I was thinking about, like, if you have staff, whether they're working at a farmers market or helping you in production, if your staff is having frequent turnover, or they're frequently calling in or calling out and just not performing well then first, you can solve that immediate problem of like, oh, staff member called out, now I got to figure out the farmers market or figure out production. So that's your immediate problem. But if you notice that this is like a trend then we want to stop and really do this higher level problem solving. I was thinking about, you know, if you're running social media ads, or Google ads, and you're noticing that, oh, we're not really having a great ROI, return on investment, like the click rate's really high, or we're not getting any clicks, we're not actually getting sales from those clicks, like you're noticing over time that the strategy isn't really working for you. And then something that probably comes up a lot for many of you, especially when you're starting out is that expenses are higher than revenue, right? Higher than sales. So short term, you might just need to solve for that one month where you're like, oh, I can't, you know,my sales don't cover the kitchen, or some of my labor costs or whatever. And so we solve for that, whether you're bringing your own personal money to the table, or you run a sale or something like that, but then we need to look and say, is this a longer term trend? And let's use our really high level brain to look at this and start solving this problem. And then again, it could just be more of that strategic vision of like, what we're here, this is where we currently are in sales, or in customers, or what you know, whatever benchmark you want to use. And then here's where we want to be at the end of the year, or at the end of that quarter, or whatever it is. And so we want to think about higher level strategy. So I look at problems as like, there's really four types of solutions. And one of them is temporary, right? Like what we talked about last week, were solving those urgent problems. But we can also look at them as solutions as part as easiest, what are the, what's the easiest solution? What's the best solution? Because sometimes it's the easiest solution. But sometimes it's going to take a little more, a little more effort. And then what's the long term solution? So first of all, I like to plan for this time, this is not something you're going to squeeze in, you know, when you have 30 minutes in between appointments or something. So you want to put this on your calendar, you want to carve out some time, some thinking time where you aren't going to have a lot of distractions, you know, you might need to carve out, let's say an hour minimum, I think is probably very reasonable to solve these higher level problems. So I want you to put on your CEO hat, you are showing up as the boss in your business and you're like, okay, I see a problem and now we're going to put on our CEO hat and we're going to get to work. And this is that higher level brain. We're going to bring this online, we're going to focus, and we're going to be intentional and strategic. So I was kind of making a list like if I were to number these, of like what, how to have an effective problem solving session. And so, first of all is mindset. And we talked about that last week a little bit. But I want you to come in without that kind of urgent freak out, you know, mind where you're like, ah, I'm in crisis mode. No, no, no. We want to look at our circumstances very neutral. Like, okay, staffing is not working, or ads are not working. Right? It's just very, very neutral. We are coming, we are purposely choosing like, a positive frame of mind that we are going to focus on solutions, that we're going to use language like I'm figuring this out and there are solutions. And, you know, even when you're sitting down to do problem solving strategy session, you want to believe that you have the answers and that the solutions will come. So let's spend a little time getting in there. And one of the ways we can do it that to help is what's called getting in states, if you ever done any Tony Robbins stuff or like high energy things, like you know, that's what he does is get you in the state, but you can get yourself in the state. And I look at this as a very pretty physical act, it's a way of signaling to your body and your brain, like we're getting to work, we're changing our energy. And we're getting really focused on this. So it could be like listening to a song that like gets you energized, and positive and kind of fierce, right? It could be doing a little bit of physical movement. Here, you could do a little shadow boxing or pumping your arms or doing jumping jacks, kind of getting your physical energy up, right, along with the mindset. So now we're gonna sit down, I understand whatever you want to do, but we're going to really get focused, we're gonna get to work. And remember, we've carved out this time, your brain, you're gonna schedule it ahead of time, and then your brain is not going to want to do it, you're gonna be like that sounds hard, oh, let me go unload the dishwasher. Let me do the laundry, anything else, but to sit down and do this, and that's why we want to do the mindset and state piece first. But just recognize, like, you can just say, yep, I hear your brain. I know, this is hard work. But it's really important and we're going to do it anyway. And we don't know, like, let's take the pressure off. We're gonna do this for an hour, but I don't know, maybe, you know, let's just see, let's see what happens. No pressure.
So first off, we want to, let me just say, you need paper and pen, or I love big sticky sheets, those big sticky notes, big fan of those, I'm a very visual person. And even if you don't consider yourself a visual person, we have to get things out of our brain onto paper. Let's not try to solve problems in thought. It is not the best way to do it. We need to put the physical act of writing, using pen, using markers onto paper. Okay, so first, we want to identify the real problem. So it's not just Sally quitting or Sally calling in, it is, you know, our whole employee setup. So what is the actual problem? So let's get very clear about what it is we're trying to solve. And we want, it's probably going to be a little bit broader, right? It's not just going to be Sally, it's going to be the whole, the whole thing. It's not just going to be one ad, it's going to be the entire, you know, social media strategy or ad strategy. And then it's not just gonna be at one month of expenses that were higher than revenue, but we're going to look at what, you know, what are the actual sales, the profit that we need, the gross profit that we need to support this business and all of the expenses. So get back, you know, a little bit higher level and then identify the result that we want at the end. So the result might be that I have a staffing plan that is motivating, like I have amazing staff who shows up motivated and excited, and they are consistently here on time and giving their all and they're loyal and committed to the company. And it's within our, you know, ability to pay, right? It could be the results are, I want X number of click rates and converting ads, my percentage or, you know, it could be I want a net profit of you know, X, or a gross profit of X so that we can maintain like, we can cover our expenses and hopefully have some leftover, some real profit. So really get clear on the results, right? The end goal.
And now I want you to just take a blank sheet of paper, and you are just going to brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. Remember back in elementary and middle school and high school like, this was the thing you did it often as groups, but you can do it alone. It is literally like, letting your brain storm like, no idea is a bad idea. And you just want, it's hard sometimes to get those first couple going. But once you get going, and I would even set a timer for this, like, for 10 minutes, I'm just not going to stop writing and I'm not going to overthink it. I'm not going to question it. I'm just going to put stuff out on paper. And one thing I want to offer here is yes, there may be things you need to do. But I also want you to brainstorm who, who can help you? Who could help you identify more possible solutions? Or who could help you actually execute some of these things like, who else can you talk to? Can you talk to other producers who've had this similar situation? Can you talk with somebody like me? Post in the private Facebook group or inside Food Business Success and get coaching on it. So you really want to think about who not just the how, and just everything on paper, right? Like, it could be like, I fire everybody, and I do it all myself, it could be I'm going to work with a staffing agency, or I'm going to talk with other producers who have great, do a lot of farmers markets and have a great staff. I'm going to, you know, reach out to Sari reach, you know, get coached on this inside Food, Business Success, things like that. So you just want to like, get wild and crazy. Anything goes. So brainstorm, set a timer, that way you know that there is an end to this. But you also have to stay really focused. And then I want you to just evaluate that list and thinking back to our four types of solutions. And keeping in mind the result like write that result down where it's big and you can see it on its own thing to keep you coming back to that because sometimes we just get focused on solving one part of the problem and not and forgetting that it's the whole result that we need to be solving for.
So four types of solutions, remember, are temporary, easiest, best, and long term. So identify, you could use different color markers or have a little coding system. But identify of all these problems or all these solutions, which kind of solutions are these? Because it'll help you get more clear on like, oh, okay, that's just solving the temporary issue, but I'm trying to solve that long term result. And again, you may have people that you need to reach out to, and that's just part of the next steps. And so hopefully, you can actually identify even more solutions through the who, right? And like, you're not maybe going to have the whole how and that's okay. But there could be like the step before the solution. And that's great. So identify these solutions and really, you know, you want to think for a lot of these longer term things, we really want to be going with the best or the long term. And hey, if it's easiest, awesome, that's even bonus. Now, some of these things, you know, you're gonna say, well, that's going to require a budget or that's going to require me, you know, getting help from somebody or things like that. And so being open to like remembering you as a business, you're in it here for the long term. And we don't just want to be doing the easiest or the temporary solution. So be willing to do those harder things. And sometimes, you know, I like to check in with my body. And as we make decisions, I love checking in. And I do have a podcast all about making decisions. But it's like, when you have decisions to make, we can't do everything, right? So you want to look at all these solutions and say, where do I want to start? And what is going to be the best or the most long term solution, but also check in and if it's something that you, there's kind of a difference between just like, oh, this feels light and doable, and I know exactly what to do, even if it's a little bit uncomfortable. Versus like, no, that just feels like the really hard way, the hardest way possible. So I like to say, in decision makings, like look at all options and say, you know, let's just say you have two different options for staffing, you're trying to decide between, check in with your body and say, if both of these worked out, awesome, both of them achieve the result that I wanted. Which one feels best? Which one do I want to start with? Because be careful that you don't think I have to do everything all at once, right? This is a process. And it's going to just be too overwhelming if you're like, okay, here's the whole plan. And you can come up with the whole plan, and write it all down. But there has to be like, what's our next step? What is the next thing? So that is, the next step is making decisions, decide on next steps, just pick something, pick one thing, check with your body, see what feels the best, What feels easiest and most fun. And then we're just going to go out and try it. Now, again, sometimes we have to go solve. First, we need to go talk to some people, and maybe come back and brainstorm solutions, or add those to the list to complete our plan. So you may have kind of a pause, where you need to go and do that. So that should be if you kind of have to stop early, like make that part of that session, okay, I'm gonna, I'm going to go post in the Facebook group, I'm going to email this person, I'm going to post in our, you know, I'm part of many memberships that have other producers in them. So I'm gonna go, you know, start reaching out to people and ask, ask for help in this specific area. So try to get all the information that you need to be able to decide on next steps. Now remember, our steps have to produce wins and losses. Our steps, sometimes there is research before you implement. But that is, that's like the pre-level. And then our actual action that we are taking to solve needs to actually be creating a win or a loss like, you know, I want to increase my sales so I'm going to go approach 10 buyers over the next month. So we can't just work on the pretty things like oh, let me get the sell sheet. And let me think about this, like, no, I actually have to send the emails, I have to do the follow up, I need to go do the visits, I need to make an offer. Right? There has to be action happening and you have to be getting a result. And then the last thing as we as you're taking action, and you're going to come back, this is a later thing, but you're going to evaluate, You're going to start saying, you know, give it a timeframe. say, for the next three months, the next quarter, I'm going to execute this plan, this problem solving strategy. And I'm going to stay constrained, I'm not going to add other things. I'm not going to do the shiny object syndrome, whoa, rabbit, squirrel. But we're going to stay focused and we're going to execute the plan and we're going to do the hard things. And we're going to feel a little uncomfortable and we're going to get wins and losses. But ultimately we want to decide on a timeframe to circle back and say, is this working? What am I learning? You know, am I moving closer to the results that I want? So maybe for your ad strategy, you're like, maybe you've been doing it all yourself and so you decide I need to hire somebody to help me and I'm going to allocate this budget to it. And then we're going to go all in this, you know, I'm going to do all the things, I gotta reach out, I gotta find the best, you know, who do other people recommend? And then I'm gonna have to reach out and have conversations and evaluate and then make a decision. And so, I'm working with somebody now, it's like three months from now, I'm going to evaluate, is this actually working? Are we getting closer to the results? Because ultimately, we don't just want to be, you know, doing a bunch of busy work and feeling like we're being really productive. We want to actually be getting wins and losses and then evaluate and say, is this getting me closer to the end result? Alright, so that's what I have for you today. Go out there. As entrepreneurs, we just need to get better at solving problems, both the short term, urgent ones, and we don't make it mean anything about us, we just get to work, solve problems, and then the longer term solving those recurring problems or just looking at the overall strategy for our business at different intervals throughout the year to really see is this matching up with what I want success to look like. All right you guys, until next time, have an amazing week!
Are you ready to start that delicious idea that you make in your home kitchen or grow your existing packaged food business and take it to the next level? The most successful food business entrepreneurs have support, guidance, focus and accountability to help them make it happen quickly without wasting time or money. Plus, I think, starting your packaged food business should actually be fun. Food Business Success is your secret ingredient to creating your food business dream. Please don't go this alone. Check out the private free Food Business Success Facebook group to connect with other foodpreneuurr. Get your questions answered quickly. Share your wins and receive special training and tools I only share inside the private community. Just search for Food Business Success on Facebook, or get the link in the show notes. Curious about how Food Business Success can help you? Head over to foodbizsuccess.com and fill out the application to see if you're a great fit for the program. Together let's make your food business dream a reality.