How in the world is running your business like baking sourdough bread???
You might have gathered that I am a fan of baking. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I have a quarantine sourdough starter named Fred. Yes, I jumped on the sourdough bandwagon. And no I’m not ashamed. When I was baking a loaf of bread a few weeks back, I realized that Fred is coming up on his one-year birthday. And I thought back to how many crappy loaves of sourdough my family has suffered through in the past year while I was finding my groove. That is why on this episode we are going to discuss how running your business is like baking sourdough.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that many of the lessons and take aways I have from a year of baking sourdough bread almost weekly can also be applied to starting and growing a business. So I’m going to share six business lessons I’ve learned from baking sourdough bread.
Nuture It At the Beginning
First, you have to nurture your starter at the beginning. When you first create your sourdough starter, you have to spend time nearly every day feeding and nurturing it. It needs flour, fresh water, and a warm place to grow on a daily basis in order to become strong enough to use in a loaf of bread.
The same is true in your business…you have to put a lot of time in at the beginning. You have to give it exactly what it needs at the beginning. This helps the starter get stronger and work for you. You have to spend the time nurturing it and creating a solid base so it can work for you.
Let Parts Go
Another thing you will learn with your sourdough starter is that you need to let some of it go. Unless you are a full-fledged bakery capable of baking dozens of loaves a day, you need to discard some of your starter. This helps it to stay healthy and strong. You might give it to friends or neighbors. But most of the time you just need to toss it in order for the remaining starter to stay strong. The stronger your starter, the better your bread will be.
The same is true of your business. It can be so easy to hold on to all the different places you are marketing or products you are selling because you hate to waste the time you’ve put into developing them. But…your business will be much stronger if you can scale back. If you focus energy on the best of what you do and where you show up.
Plan in Advance
When you finally start baking sourdough bread, you learn you have to plan in advance. Unlike yeast breads, sourdough takes an extended period of time to rise…typically 12-18 hours and sometimes longer. That means, if you want to eat soup and sourdough for dinner tonight, you’re SOL. You have to plan ahead. You have to make time for the steps a day in advance of when you would like to eat it.
The same is true of your business…sure there are certain parts you can slapdash and get done. Want the true, artisan-style sourdough boule experience for your customers? Put some effort and energy into planning ahead. You “knead” to how your plan is going to fit into your marketing and revenue goals. Plan ahead, then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Learn from Failures
Even the best-laid plans are not successful. And the next lesson from sourdough that you can apply to your business is to learn from your failures. If you try to bake sourdough once, chances are you will not succeed on the first try. There are so many intricacies and variables in sourdough bread. Starters are temperamental and need to be well nurtured to work properly, you’re inexperienced at kneading and shaping your loaf, you forget to add the salt. My loaves have fallen victim to all of these. But I was determined to learn from what I did wrong and try again. Because I believed in the process and I knew it was something I wanted to do.
Bring that passion and drive to your business. If it doesn’t work out right the first time, you can always try again. Most of the time when you see another entrepreneur’s success, it’s because you didn’t see the 20 times they didn’t succeed and went back to the drawing board.
Consult with Experts
Another way you can learn from your failures to succeed is to consult with experts. The number of YouTube videos I have watched on sourdough breadmaking is rivaled only by the number of YouTube videos I have watched on marketing your business. Each time I struggle with a certain aspect of my breadmaking, I search for a video on “how to knead bread” or “why is my sourdough so pale” or “why won’t my sourdough rise when baking”.
And when you are struggling with an aspect of your business that you don’t understand, there are experts out there that can either teach you to do it, or, better yet, do it for you so you don’t have to waste time and energy on something that isn’t in your zone of genius.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
And finally, remember that looks can be deceiving. I have made several terrible looking loaves that tasted just fine despite being an ugly beige carpet color. And on the flip side, I’ve made beautiful loaves that tasted terrible. I mean, there are only 4 ingredients in sourdough…how hard can it be to forget salt and yet, I’ve done it no less than 3 times.
The same can be true when you look at the businesses around you. Whether it’s on social media, in your mastermind, or just what you research on the internet…you see that they want you to see. You may feel your business looks like a hot mess. But what’s on the outside doesn’t matter if you’re helping your ideal client with wins. And that business you’re jealous of on IG may look amazing on the outside while suffering behind the scenes. Don’t hold yourself back because your loaf is ugly…if it tastes good people will want it. And you can always get better the next bake (remember, when we don’t succeed, we learn.)
In conclusion, your business like baking sourdough because you have to nurture it up front. Then it can be strong and work well for you. You have to let parts go so that the main focus can be strong. You need to plan in advance. And learn from your failures and consult experts when you have questions or need help. Finally, remember looks can be deceiving. Just keep focusing on what you are doing and creating the best product you can. Eventually, you will find your rhythm and your tribe.
Family Fun Tip
For today’s Family Fun tip, I want to butter you up because as you’ve learned, you “knead” fun in order to run a successful business. I personally love baking with my boys. Mostly because it is a chance for me to share something I love with them. Even if they don’t grow up to be pastry chefs, I am hoping they will have fond memories of baking sugar cookies during the holidays or birthday cakes with me. Or at least they’ll have fond memories of eating what we made.
So many kitchen skills are about familiarity and comfort in the kitchen so regularly cooking and baking with your kids can help them start to understand how ingredients go together while developing confidence in the kitchen. Some ideas creating treats together might be…making no-bake treats like no-bake cookies or rice cereal treats, having a bake-off to see who can bake the best tasting treat, testing several different recipes for favorites like chocolate chip cookies to decide which is best, or researching a baked good from your family history and baking it together.
Whatever it is that you choose, baking is a very simple, easy, and delicious way for you to create some family fun while teaching life skills and kitchen confidence. And for even more simple, easy family fun, be sure to join my free Monthly Family Fun Bucket List Community. Each month you’ll receive a worksheet to collect ideas for outings and activities from your family then schedule them to make sure fun gets done. And I make sure to include some ideas on each worksheet in case you need to get your creative juices flowing. Click below to grab your copy!
Ready to experience better mental, physical, and emotional health without sacrificing additional time and energy? Let’s jump on a free, no-obligation 15-minute clarity call to see how I can help you experience more fun & fulfillment in your work and home life.