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The Soufflé Effect

Now, as some of you know, I don’t cook. Not because I don’t think that I’d enjoy and succeed in it, but it’s something I’ve had to give up hope in doing, if I was to fit everything else in. And, I’m also lucky enough to have my other half who only dreams in food – so it’s something I was able to let go with love.

I have huge respect for the fact, that when you’ve got the equivalent of ‘greenfingers’ in the kitchen, there’s something quite godly about the whole art of cooking. It’s very obvious that you might have the equipment, the gadgets and the ingredients, but there’s something invisible, bordering on magical, that you need to possess if you want to create a masterpiece.

I once had a meeting with an extreme ‘left brain’ and tried to describe why a team they’d put together weren’t getting the results ‘the computer’ (his brain) said he would.

He tried to compute, but as far as he was concerned, I might as well been talking Greek, especially when I tried to explain the following analogy to the situation we were facing.

“You see, we are dealing with a souffle here. You think you have all the right ingredients, the right equipment to bake and you’ve picked what you feel are the best chefs, but everyone knows that to bake a souffle, you need something else”, I said praying that he’d now visualised himself holding a virtual whisk in his hand! “It’s the years of experience and failures that make something so delicate, rise. A mother’s tips, an oven that’s hot enough by the touch and a keen nose that can spell out the slightest defect. You have to exactly know what you’re doing, and know that even an extra flour flake (Is flour made up of flakes!?), invisible to some, can take the whole thing down.”

“Ummm”, he tried to nod in a knowing way, but it had gone straight over his head. From that day, I called it the ‘Souffle Effect’. I knew what I meant, and knew I was right.

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, once said, “If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.”

So it’s not just me who created baking/cooking analogies when it comes to building a business! So, let’s take this thought a little further, while we stir in the egg whites.

Aunty Dorene’s Famous ‘Building a Business’ Cake

  • First, you need a great recipe. Just like baking a killer cake, to fully bake a business, you need a brilliant recipe. Some call it a business plan, but ultimately you just need a charted course of steps you want to take, to get to the next point. Without the directions, the waypoints, and the steps to building it, you will soon find yourself off the path.
  • Then, you need to follow the steps, exactly and in order, to start with. Too often in baking and in building a business, the rush to market hurts the cause and many skip a step. Imagine baking a cake and doing so skipping adding the sugar or adding the flour. What would happen? A mess and a cake that doesn’t taste very good, or a souffle that doesn’t rise! Growing your own enterprise means you can’t skip ahead to execution, until you’ve got something compelling. It’s a process and you have to commit to.
  • Don’t forget, baking takes time and the right temperature. So you’ve got a great plan/recipe and you’ve got all of the ingredients and you’ve followed the directions, now you just bake it and you’re done, right? Not exactly. Baking takes experimentation and trial and error. So does running your business. You need to continue to try and find the sweet spot of your ‘baby’ and let it play out. You’ll encounter failure and success on this page.
  • Wonderful businesses, may look so perfect and flawless that sometimes we forget – and as bakers know – the best brands often are found through failure, trial and error, and LOTS of patience. Like a great cake, a great company may look fantastic
  • When it’s done and ready to eat, but the work and discipline, to get it right, takes time. Give yourself and your dream the time you need to get it right. That’s not an excuse – that’s a recipe for success!  

Next time you try and understand why something isn’t working out, even though on paper it should – think ‘Souffle’. Remember there are so many invisible things, non ‘excel-able’ qualities that go into making something delicious. Talent, experience, spirit, motivation, want, purpose and so many other amazing qualities that go into make something rise.

The proof is in the pudding! (Boom Boom)


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