Let your business rise – 5 business tips we’ve learned from Great British Bake off

We all love the Great British Bake Off in the office.  It’s like the Apprentice but without the bragging and rather clueless contestants. Furthermore, Paul Hollywood can be as equally as cutting as Lord Sugar and Mary Berry, well, let’s just say, when she spies a soggy bottom it can send a grown adult whimpering to the corner in shame.

Back for it’s fifth year, the show sees british baking hopefuls pitted against each other until one is victorious.

You may think the Great British Bake Off has unlikely comparisons to the world of business.  But, there are some common similarities between the process of baking and business – honestly there are!

Planning everything makes it easier

Take one of the weekly “showstoppers” the bakers have to prepare on the show.  Many, will have planned precisely what they intend to do, how they will do it, what they need to achieve it and how long it may take to create baking perfection.

Sound familiar?  When you start a business, you think about what you intend to do, write a business plan and then try and complete a cash flow to give an indication of how long it will take for global supremacy.

Every good cake and business is built on meticulous planning from the very start.  Each process is thought about and planned so that the baker, or business owner, knows exactly what they need to do without wasting time on guess work.

It’s not all about design, basics are equally important

Frances, the winner of season four, underestimated the importance of getting the taste and consistency right before thinking about aesthetics.  During the show, her designs were brilliant, using clever tricks to present cakes in entirely new ways.  However, in some shows the actual taste of the cake let her down.

Again, in business, the same can be said.  How many times have you bought a beautiful product for it to fall apart, or a service from an amazing website that doesn’t deliver?

Business owners must be careful to get the product or service right before they start setting their sights on expanding, or globalisation.  Get the basics right first and the rest will follow in time.

Have confidence in what you do

There were many contestants during the last four shows that cast doubt in what they baked.  Ruby, the baker from the last series, epitomise this view with negativity on all her bakes – in fact most of her bakes were exceptional.

When you run a business, be confident in what you do and how you do it.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to feedback, but if you don’t believe in what you do, why should your customers, or even your staff?  If you are confident in your business, others around you will be.

Listen and use expert advice when offered

Paul and Mary’s expertise spans decades and what they don’t know about baking is not worth reading.  However, you’d think they knew little going by some contestants actions during the shows  Some refused to listen to the advice offered and ultimately it cost them star baker and usually resulted in an early exit.

Running a business is difficult, sometimes lonely and inevitably is tricky ensuring right decisions are made.  Business owners are rarely experienced in all areas of selling, marketing or finances.  So, when someone experienced offers you advice, take it and act upon it.

Be patient – all good things come to those who wait

Baking, especially bread making, is about being patient and waiting for the dough to rise.  In a recent show, the bakers tried to make ciabatta bread.  The winners of the challenge were those that were patient and left their dough for the longest.

Being patient in business is a must – whether it’s with the product, service, customers or its growth.  You should avoid knee-jerk decisions until you have thoroughly thought it through.  Equally, patience with your customers must be learnt quickly.  Customers are king and upsetting them due to a snap comment, or decision, can cost you sales.


Posted by Chris Mollan