What Pancakes and Your Business Have in Common

Pancakes can be tricky

They look simple enough, right? Flour, baking powder, butter, eggs, milk…how hard can it be? But pancakes are finicky little buggers.

The first batch never comes out right

They take forever to cook, and no matter what you do they come out flat and weird looking, not fluffy like you anticipated. They won’t be a complete failure, though, because they’ll still taste ok – but let’s face it – this is not the pancake experience you had hoped for. (In my house, the first batch goes to the dogs because they simply don’t care – because pancakes.)

The second batch saves the day

By the time you get to the second batch, the pan has heated up and cured, and like magic, the pancakes are light, fluffy, and beautiful. They cook quickly and perfectly. THIS is what you thought it’d be like. You Instagram a pic and get ALL the double taps.

But then you want more…and more…

At some point in the process, around batch 4 or so, the pan starts to burn. You’re trying to make a boatload of pancakes, but the pan has other plans for you. You put in more butter – it burns. You lower the heat and cook longer – it burns. You end up having to wash the whole thing out and start over…and get a sorry looking batch of Batch 1 pancakes all over again.

Your business is like pancakes

On the first try, when you’re just getting started, things take a while to get going, and they often fall flat. They won’t look great, even though your intention is good. And your dogs don’t care, because they love you no matter what.

But you don’t give up. You try again, and it gets better. Things work better, look better, go faster, and the overall results are pretty fantastic. Your fans eat up what you’re serving, with joy, and your business grows.

But then you start trying to squeeze better and better results out of what you’ve been doing, without putting much care back into it. Things slow down, and stagnate. Soon, no amount of attention will change things, and you are sent back to the beginning to reinvent and rebuild.

The moral of the story?

Don’t quit your business on the first batch. When things feel flat and you don’t see the results you want on the first try, stick with it and keep trying. But always be switching things up, innovating, and paying attention to your customers and your market. Don’t let your business get stuck and stale or it will burn out.

And don’t forget the syrup. A little sweetness goes a long way.