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How to Have Great Success in the Bakery Business

For thousands of years societies have baked and for that same length of time people have loved eating baked goods. There is something about putting grain based food into a hot oven and sampling the results that get people excited all the world over. Maybe it has to do with the small which seems to have a physiological effect on some causing them to lose any choice as to whether they indulge. Or it could be the look of the food. Backed goods include some of the most beautiful food around. But more than likely it is the taste which can go from crunchy, to gooey. To melt in your mouth delicious. Whether it is one of these, more, or all three, the fact is that baked goods are hugely popular in cites suburbs and in the countryside of every country on Earth.

So if you want to start a baked goods business and you do it properly, you will surely have a successful business. Executives in the industry like Larry Polhill of Café Valley Bakery will tell you that the business is steady and with hard work and an understanding of the fundamentals, can grow considerably. Here are some of those fundamentals if you are considering opening your own bakery.

Know Your Market

Knowing your market begins with doing in-depth research about it.

The Marketplace – What is the size of the market? Is the market going up, down or remaining steady? Why is it growing or contracting? Is this reason cyclical?

Your Business Idea – What is the potential for your business idea in the marketplace you are targeting? How can you enter this marketplace successfully (look at the product, capital and marketing requirements)? How can you position your business in the marketplace so it is a winner?

Your Product Ideas – Are your bakery product ideas currently in demand, and is that demand rising, falling or remaining the same? If they are not in the marketplace currently, why do you believe people will buy them over a long period of time?

Your Potential Customers – Who are they, what baked products they buy currently and might be interested in purchasing, how do they buy them, and how much do they spend on these products each month?

Your Competition – Who are they, how successful are they, why do people buy from them, what products are they selling to the public, what is the quality of their products, what is their competitive advantage?

The process of answering these questions takes you on a journey where you will discover everything about your idea and if it is actually a good one. The key when gathering this information is to go where the facts lead you. If you find that one key aspect of your potential business seems to know be workable, be prepared to change it. Being stubborn and doing something because you like the idea is the reason why many businesses fail. The businesses that succeed always understand that the marketplace has to support its ideas. From this research you will be able to put together a plan in writing that can reflect every major area of your business.

This plan will be a template for your company and will determine everything you do from your products to your sales tactics. Remember though that it is a living document and must be reviewed and updated regularly because things change.

The laws of meetings: How to maximise your business efficiency

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a large or small company; views on meetings are largely universal. They’re often overused, inefficient, and generally a waste of time.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but in a nutshell, meeting dynamics across the world can be reformed.

Taking this into account, when it comes to your own company’s meetings, how should you approach matters? Should you go with the flow and “become one of them”, or should you challenge the norm and take matters into your own hands? Suffice to say, today’s post is on how to achieve the latter.

Tread carefully with recurrent meetings

The software companies gave themselves a huge pat on the back when they allowed recurrent meetings to be scheduled at the quick of a button. In truth, this is a worthwhile feature for many meetings – but not all.

After all, while you might build a case for a weekly performance meeting, many other recurrent ones aren’t perhaps needed.

Now, before you suggest that you can simply “play it by ear” and decide when you get to the meeting, this is one of the easiest mistakes to make. After all, by the time everyone has arrived and discussed the matter at hand, regardless of how briefly, valuable time has been eaten away.

The moral of the story? Carefully decide whether your recurrent meetings really need to be recurrent.

Get the agenda out there – and make it actionable

There’s nothing worse than being called into a meeting only to find that there is no structure or agenda. In these cases, it often leads to a free-for-all where people can talk about anything and everything, regardless of how important it actually is.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but in general, an agenda is key. Not only does it give the meeting some much-needed structure, but it also allows you to assign actions to specific people. This, in turn, makes the meeting far more actionable and less of a time waster.

Stop people from going off on tangents

There’s always one person in every meeting that just can’t help themselves. They see the meeting as an opportunity to show off their knowledge, regardless of how relevant it is to the discussion.

While it’s important to allow some level of creativity, you also need to rein people in when they start to go off on tangents. After all, if everyone in the meeting starts to do this, it quickly descends into a free-for-all where nothing gets done.

Could a remote meeting do the trick?

It would be fair to say that we’re now well and truly in the age of remote meetings. Most of us are used to them now and like them due to how much time they can save us.

However, they don’t always work. This is particularly true if you want to impress new clients or perhaps need a whiteboarding session. In these instances, nothing quite beats the dynamics of a face-to-face affair. If you decide to go down this route, the obvious caveat is the knock-on effects. Whether booking that dreaded meeting room or ensuring your insurance obligations are up to scratch ahead of receiving external visitors, make sure you’re prepared for in-person meetings.

Keep it short and sweet

There’s no need to drag out meetings unnecessarily. If you can achieve everything you need to in 30 minutes, there’s no need to make it an hour-long affair.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!