After making a decent bit of money blogging I decided that it was time to open a business, namely a fish restaurant called Haidak, a play on haddock in case it doesn’t come across well in text format. I have part-owned Haidak for just over 2 years now, and I can honestly say that it has been a real learning curve for all involved. If you are setting up your own business or you wish to do so in the future, here are the things that I have learned from the first two years, hopefully my mistakes will help you to avoid doing the same thing.
Keeping Things Chill
Honestly I always wanted a cool ambience in the restaurant with staff who trust each other and have a good time. In light of this I was a boss who generally gave people a free reign and I was always super flexible with them too. Unfortunately when you re like this, two things happen; the first thing that happens is that people take you for granted, and start to skip work and things like that, the second thing is that people work at 50%, which of course is not good for business, needless to say I have very much changed my attitude.
In the last 2 years we have changed supplier 3 times, and much of that was down a lack of research and trusting the wrong people. We now have a fantastic supplier who provides us the best quality goods at great prices, but it took a lot of heartache to get there. When you do get suppliers, be sure that you have put in the work in order to get the best.
Taking it All On
Another big error that I made, and one that I was even warned about, was taking too much on and not delegating and outsourcing areas of the business. I was so keen for this to work that I began to micro manage and when you do that, you are actually doing the opposite of making it work. Thanks to some interventions from my business partner, I have learned to step back and give people tasks, which I oversee from a distance, and things have improved massively.
Missing the Point
Another crucial error which I made, and it even sounds foolish as I write it, was not ensuring that the food was brilliant. I was so focused on the feel of the restaurant, the marketing, the design, the branding, that I overlooked the fact that the first chef which we had was providing very low quality food, and doing so with pretty expensive ingredients too. The key takeaway from this mistake is to always focus on the basics, then deal with the more complicated stuff afterwards.
I have made mistakes and I am sure that I will make more, the key is to avoid making those mistakes twice!