Why Making the Best Steak Ever Is Just Like Building a Business
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get away from food. I love cooking. I love putting ingredients together and enjoying what I come up with. It’s how I unwind at the end of a long day, and it’s how I show love.
Seriously, if someone in my life is hurting, I just want to cook for them. Not bake. I hate baking. But I’ll cook them a three course dinner with wine pairings.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when I couldn’t boil water. At some point in college I realized I didn’t want to be stuck eating boxed dinners for the rest of my life, so I learned to cook. There was a lot of trial and error, and if I’m being totally honest, I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation if I hadn’t been trying to impress my crush.
But in the end, I learned to cook some basic meals, and - more importantly - I fell in love with cooking.
When I’m cooking, my mind unwinds. It’s almost like a type of meditation. My thoughts wander and make new connections. Most of the time, they wander to my business and how things are going. This is how I realized that building a business is just like my process for making the best steak ever.
My steak dinners are famous in my circle, and multiple friends and family members have told me they can’t order steaks in restaurants anymore because mine are just too good. That is the highest compliment I could ever want, but I definitely didn’t get there overnight.
Just like building a business, figuring out how to make the perfect steak every single time without spending hours stressing was a process. Let’s take a closer look at why making the best steak ever is just like building a business:
1. You Need Quality Ingredients
If you’re going to make the best steak ever, you need quality ingredients. You need a good cut of meat and a good place to buy that meat. That’s why, when I’m in the mood for something truly special, I get my steaks from Kettle Range Meats.
Kettle Range was the first specialty butcher I had ever been to. I was immediately impressed by the style of their store and the quality of their meats. I always imagined a butcher shop as being cold, white and fluorescent. And a little seedy (I may watch too many crime shows). But KR is warm, welcoming, and homey.
And you’ve gotta love being able to peer in at everything being dry aged. I absolutely can’t stop drooling whenever I’m there.
Quality ingredients are the foundation for the best steak and the best business. When you start building your business, you’ll be doing a lot of research. You’ll want to create a great website, learn about SEO, plan and schedule content…the list goes on and on.
What many new business owners forget is that the number one quality in their business is themselves! You need to be top of your game for your business to function. That means you need to take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself could mean several different things. Maybe it means you need to let go of perfectionism, launch that website even though it’s not quite what you pictured. Maybe you need to outsource some of the tasks that are outside your zone of genius.
As I’ve been growing my business, I’ve been learning to think of myself as the choicest cut. I am a premium commodity, and I need to elevate myself to keep my business going. This means taking care of myself so I can continue to be a quality person for my business.
After all, it doesn’t run without me. Just like a steak dinner isn’t a steak dinner without the steak.
2. The Cost Can Be Scary
Beef is expensive. A quality cut of steak is even more expensive. I once spent $300 on a single roast and my head nearly imploded when they told me that price. Even looking at it now, my eye is starting to twitch.
The cost is even scarier when you don’t know if it’s going to work out. Imagine buying a steak, spending a good chunk of change of your hard earned money, and having it end up tough, chewy, dry, and flavorless.
Yeah, it’s happened to me more than once as I was perfecting my technique.
Chances are, you’re not going to get your steak right the first time around. Even if you’re following my perfect formula, there are variables that you won’t know about until you dive in and give it a try yourself. Ovens heat at different temperatures. Maybe you have an electric stovetop, so you have to use a nonstick pan instead of castiron. Those types of minor differences mean small tweaks will need to be made.
It’s the same in business. You can read all the books you want and buy all the courses and follow all the gurus, but you won’t know what works for you until you actually start trying.
This is where a lot of people get put off. No one wants to spend money and have it not go anywhere or worse yet crash and burn.
You look at the cost of setting up a website, the cost of licensing, the cost of an automation software, courses, or contractors that you might need to use and your head immediately begins to spin.
But you can’t make a steak dinner without buying a steak… So start small if you need to. Buy a sirloin instead of filet. Just make sure you are moving forward. The only way you’re guaranteed to fail is if you don’t even try.
3. You Need to Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
I start my steaks with an hour long salt bath. This means that I coat both sides liberally with a thick layer of salt and let them sit out on the counter. We’re not talking a little sprinkle. There is a coat of white covering both sides of the meat to the point where I’ve been called crazy by people trying my steaks for the first time.
I thought it was crazy too. Who in their right mind would ruin a tenderloin filet with so much salt?
Hear me out. I did a lot of research and a lot of trial and error before I got this right. At some point, I came across information about salt and its moisture preserving properties. Now, I’m not a science person, so I may not be remembering this right. Take what I’m saying with a grain of salt (see what I did there?).
I may not know the science, but I definitely know the flavor. Since I’ve started doing a salt bath, my steaks have been flavorful, tender, and moist all the way through. And I buy two inch thick filets, so that’s a lot of meat.
Doing the salt bath for the first time put me way outside my comfort zone, and I thought for sure I was ruining my steaks. But it ended up being the best thing I could do.
It’s the same when you’re starting your small business. It’s scary. Some of the things you want to try may not make total sense. Go for it anyway! See what happens! You won’t grow if you’re not willing to try new things, even if they seem crazy.
4. It’s Worth It
Imagine yourself sitting down to a steak dinner. A perfectly seared hunk of meat dominates the center of your plate. Maybe there’s a pat of compound butter spreading luscious fingers down the sides of the steak. A pillowy mound of mashed potatoes catches that butter, soaking it in. A glass of deep red wine sparkles.
Are you drooling? I’m drooling.
There is nothing more satisfying in the world than sitting down in front of something that you made. Especially if it’s something that other people can’t do.
Making a steak dinner is special. A lot of people are nervous to give it a try. They’re scared of messing up, wasting money, or looking foolish.
But it’s a lot easier than it looks. You want to know how much hands on cooking I do with my steaks? I transfer the pan to the oven, and I sear the steaks for about six minutes on the stovetop. That’s it. It’s that easy.
Building a business is special. A lot of people are nervous to give it a try. They’re scared of messing up, wasting money, or looking foolish.
But the thing is, starting a business, building something that’s yours is worth every moment of angst and uncertainty. It will take trial and error. You’ll make mistakes and yes, you will spend money. But every oops is a learning opportunity towards building your business just like all the steaks I ruined eventually led to the best steak ever.
It’s all worth it.
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