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a blog by Chris Barrow

follow the instructions

This evening I am cooking – a recent phenomenon as I explore different ways to relax on the rare days that I work at home in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Last week’s effort was pasta stuffed with pumpkin and served with gorgonzola, parma ham and a rocket sauce.

Rave reviews, even though I forgot to add the ham.

This week I’m acknowledging the weather and creating a lamb minestrone stew.

Both, by the way, courtesy of the excellent cookbook “Keeping it Simple” by Gary Rhodes.

I’m not a natural cook and haven’t done anything significant in a kitchen for over 30 years – but maybe my latest mid-life “change” will be for the good.

Enjoying myself?

You bet – great therapy to not be surfing the web (or “typing” as Jack Dee calls it).

What encourages me to leave my stew on simmer and write this post (before I test the 2008 Giardini Falanghina from Sainsbury) is that I am a novice, following a simple set of instructions.

Is running a business any different?

If it is not a franchise, what happens is that the prospective business owner buys all the ingredients – but has no recipe and no instructions.

Imagine, if you will, that I was sat here with:

  1. diced lamb

  2. button onions

  3. carrots

  4. new potatoes

  5. chicken stock

  6. red pepper

  7. plum tomatoes

  8. cannellini beans

  9. French beans

  10. courgettes

  11. butter

  12. tarragon

  13. parsley

  14. olive oil

and no idea whatsoever what to do with them.

The resulting mush would be a mess.

But nice Mr Rhodes tells me exactly what to do and when to do it.

Having a franchise prototype to follow ensures that all I have to do is “follow the instructions”.

So, as Michael Gerber would say, make sure your business is a franchise prototype and you will produce the right result every time.

Your protocols and brand standards should be like a cook-book for the team.

I’m off to stir my simmering pan.

Wish me luck – dinner will be served at 19:00.

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