Blowing Up My Catering Business – How I Quadrupled My Revenue
I was frustrated that as a professional caterer of more than five years that I was still struggling to make a decent profit. It seemed that no matter what I did, I could not acquire enough new business to make a dent in my annual revenues. Although I did a reasonable number of large events, which got me by, my challenge was finding new clients that would give me a steady flow of revenue. The peaks and valleys were nerve racking; especially as I never knew when the next event was coming our way. The unpredictability of revenues was most stressful for me.
Stuck in a rut, I could not see the forest from the trees. To make matters worse, I was helpless in fixing the problem. A colleague suggested that I employ the services of a marketing consultant. At first I thought…no way. But after pondering the idea further, I decided I had nothing to lose in at least talking with a few. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. After a couple of meetings, I hired the marketing consultant that I felt best about. Within no time, we had a new strategy; implemented it; and my catering business started growing quickly. What a great feeling after years of struggling just to get by.
The consultant quickly identified revenue possibilities that I was overlooking. The segment which proved to be most lucrative and quickest to grow was corporate catering. I learned that corporations need coverage for a large array of events. They include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, meetings, parties (of all types), and picnics. I discovered that depending upon the client’s needs, some events are manned while others are just a drop-off, set-up, and leave. Regardless of the event type or staffing requirements, the corporate market was relatively easy to penetrate…that is once I had the right tools.
Marketing My Unique Services
I guess up to this point, I had fallen into the trap of believing that all you had to do was… “build-it and they will come.” I don’t know where I or other business owners ever got this notion; but, nothing could be further from the truth. I guess maybe if you are opening a national chain store or franchise it might hold true.
The consultant told me that too many excellent businesses suffer from the “best kept secret syndrome.” That is, to date, too few in the community even knew of my company’s existence. He explained that the real challenge is in getting new clients to know about your business and the services that you offer. I quickly realized that I was terribly mistaken to believe that they would ever just stumble across my business…especially in my highly competitive market.
The consultant also ingrained into my thinking that the successful growth of business comes from diligence, perseverance, and most importantly…marketing. We worked to build various marketing pieces including flyers, brochures, emails, and running advertisements in local business publications. I had an informative website constructed to let the community know of my existence and the unique services we offered.
The consultant said, “Love it or hate it, we are witnessing a growing chasm in personal communications as an ever-increasing number of people are culling out prospective vendors electronically. This can be a good thing or not, depending upon how you embrace and use technology. However, it is vital to know the digital world is making it easier to narrow down prospective vendors without ever having to pick-up the phone. Only the select and ‘lucky few’ who survive the initial cut will get to communicate directly with the client. The others will remain cloaked behind the digital curtain, never having a chance to vie for new business opportunities.”
Winter Drink Fun
Hot Chocolate Toddy
(yields 4 servings)
- 6 Cups of Whole Milk (replace 1 cup with Heavy Cream for a sinfully delicious flavor)
- 7 Ounces of Dark Chocolate Chips (unsweetened)
- 8 Ounces of Dark Chocolate Chips (sweetened)
- 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon (Freshly Ground is best) Keep some to dust the tops
- 1/3 Cup of Whiskey (more can be added if desired)
- Whipped Cream Topping (Optional)
- 4 Peppermint Sticks (Optional)
1. Heat milk in a sauce pan on medium-low heat, until the milk begins to steam with constant stirring. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer.
2. Add to the simmering milk the chocolates and cinnamon. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted.
3. Remove from heat and blend-in the whisky.
4. Divide into four deep mugs. Top-off with optional whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon. Serve with peppermint stick in the hot chocolate.