Nibbles for the Kitchen Table Tycoon

Stories, ideas and tips to help women build fabulous businesses and to help you build your best business.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are your profits going down the plughole?

This morning I did my once-a-month fridge audit. It doesn’t seem to matter how carefully I undertake day-to-day fridge management there always seem to be a few green cheese and slimy mushroom gems hidden at the back of the fridge. Today though I was moderately taken aback to find quite a stash of Dora the Explorer Banana Yogurts that seemed to have silently slipped past their ‘best –before’.

I blame it on the children. They take a liking to something, I see it on special, buy it in bulk and then, well then, they go off it.

This afternoon I visited a beautician friend. She was in the middle of the day- spa version of the fridge-audit. It wasn’t a good day. She had uncovered a stack of product that was past its best and I arrived just in time to see her pouring the ultra-expensive-very-special-preservative-free face gunk away.

It turns out that sometime ago she had stocked up on the product (when it was the face cream of the day-spa set) and had sourced herself a very decent volume-discount in the process.

So what’s the nibble?

As a Kitchen Table Tycoon it’s easy to get seduced by the bulk discount for the popular product but it’s often better just to make do with buying a little less and paying a little more.

It’s one thing to have to tip eight mini tubs of sugar encrusted dairy produce down the plughole. It’s quite another to send your profits down there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How lipstick could change your business

It could be time to buy a new lipstick.

According to Rae Morris a guru on all things cosmetic, sales of make-up go through the roof when there is a financial downturn. And the reason is simple - it’s because make-up makes people feel good.

The charity Look Good…Feel Better, knows all about this. According to these guys make-up helps women have a positive outlook, renewed confidence and greater self-esteem – and they should know, they provide cancer sufferers in the UK with free make-up workshops and they have unequivocally proven that if you look good, you feel better. (

So it’s not just about the mascara wand - make-up is a magic wand. It seems a new lipstick is less about buying a bit of lip gloss and more about buying a bit of life gloss.

What has this got to do with Kitchen Table Tycoons? Here is my nibble:

The media are doing a fabulous job at spreading doom and gloom about the economy and it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity - but that won’t help your business.

Instead live and breathe a positive outlook. Even if you have to fake your confidence at first it will soon become natural. You will quickly find that people will prefer to do business with you rather than your down-in-the-dumps competitor.

And how do you create a positive outlook?

Invest in a new lipstick of course!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Has your business got style?

This morning, while I should have been busy doing very important stuff I stumbled across a book review for “Style Statement: Live by Your Design” (Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy). It caught my eye because the opening paragraph noted that some of us have an odd collection of clothes hanging up in our wardrobes which we have never worn.

That’s me.

So I delved a little deeper into the article and it seems the thrust of the book is this: come up with a two word style statement and use it to anchor your clothing choices.

Makes sense.

The authors’ two word style statements are “sacred dramatic” and “refined treasure”. I can’t say they mean anything to me but that’s fine, the purpose of the style statements is to have two words that mean something to you – who cares if no-one else gets it. The important part of course is that it actually helps you make choices. No point in being “sacred dramatic” if you can’t hold up a pair of yellow stacked wedges and decide if they belong on your feet or not.

What does this have to do with being a Kitchen-Table Tycoon? Well it strikes me that every day we are faced with many choices about our businesses and are way too busy to spend ages making decisions.

So here is my nibble. How about a business style statement?

And I don’t mean a tortuous ‘value statement’ or an in depth analysis of your ‘purpose’; just a tidy little two-words which sums up the style of your business.

I decided mine would be ‘elegant sunshine’. I liked ‘elegance’ for its simplicity and ‘sunshine’ because of its association with warmth, good feelings and happiness.

Who knows, I could even apply it to my wardrobe and get rid of some of those made-for-somebody-else-but-not-me dresses.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bean and gone

I love hot chocolate but because I don’t love its contribution to my waist line, I drink it sparingly. So sparingly, in fact that I have taken to limiting myself to only choosing hot chocolate when I am in one particular café.

The café that I selected as my hot chocolate place does do exceedingly good and large hot chocolates but that is not the reason that why I picked it. No, it had nothing to do with the hot chocolate itself but everything to do with the fact that two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans nestle in the teaspoon accompanying every mug of hot chocolate. I love them.

Now this café is actually at the top of a very large (and can I add fantastic) shopping centre, a shopping centre that is generously stocked with coffee shops and cafés. So, annoying as it is, I always drag my 3 young boys, toy cars, footballs, shopping bags and tired legs all the way up 5 escalators just to get my hot chocolate.

Not any more.

Last week the café stopped dispensing the two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans. “Too expensive” they told me “but if you want to buy some we are still selling them”.

Buy some? Are you mad? The whole point was that the two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans were a gift. Of course I know I can buy them but I don’t want to buy chocolate; I want to be given it and then feel that it would be rude not to eat it. And I want to feel looked after, treasured and cared for and, to be perfectly honest that’s how the free chocolate coffee beans made me feel.

So I wouldn’t have minded if the café had added a few cents to the price of the hot chocolate to cover the cost of the beans. But I did mind that they just stopped the beans altogether.

And now there is no point in trudging all the way up to the café at the top of the shopping centre so I take the much easier option of just stopping at the place most convenient to the shops that I frequent. And hey, I might even give up hot chocolate all together.

Here is my nibble:

Your business, like many others, may be suffering from rising costs and falling revenues and it makes sense to save costs by cutting out frivolous stuff. But before you give it the chop make sure that it actually is frivolous; it might in fact be the whole reason that people are buying your stuff.

Like two delicious little dark chocolate coffee beans.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Exposing your hidden talents

The other day I stumbled across a short paragraph that someone had written about me when nominating me for an award.

The nomination was a fantastic surprise but I nearly fell over when I read what the person wrote. It turns out my nominator thought I had an amazing ability to do ‘something’….a ‘something’ that I didn’t even realise I did!

I felt quite chuffed with my new found ability so I slipped on the coat of self-confidence that comes free with someone telling you that you are good at something and off I went to try out my newly discovered skills.

And it turns out that I actually do have them.

Maybe my new found prowess is just the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, maybe I have unearthed latent skills or maybe I was doing this stuff anyway. But who cares, I have a new string to my bow and I’m delighted.

So here is my nibble: when your customers are giving you feedback listen out for surprises – stuff that customers think you are doing well that you don’t even realise you do. Then do this stuff more, make it your calling card and you never know - it could be the very thing that boosts your business.

In the meantime I should probably check that the nominator hadn’t confused me with someone else………