What Cooking Spanish Paella Taught Me About Business

For 30 years I have been in love with business. It is one of my passions, and something I continue to perfect the craft of executing every day. I love the challenges business brings, the vehicle a business acts as to serve people, the creativity it allows one to bring to the table, and the opportunity to daily improve at its execution.

One important thing I have observed over the years is that business is comprised of a particular set of repeatable actions, that when learned and executed on with excellence, will drive a business forward towards success. Call this the recipe of business. Last week’s blog How to Grow Your Business discusses the key ingredients in this recipe.

As with any recipe, a list of key ingredients is required to “cook” up your business. However, the way in which you combine the ingredients together, with your uniqueness, your personality, your company culture and core values, and your own personal flare is what gives your business it’s flavor. You are in the driver’s seat to create this.

Another passion of mine is Spain. I lived there 20 years ago and fell in love with Spain’s culture, coffee, and cuisine. The first time I was introduced to paella, one of Spain’s most well-known dishes, was a Sunday afternoon in 2002. I was living with a Spanish host family, and my host mom, Pepita, told me she would be cooking paella for family afternoon lunch. I watched as she spent hours in the kitchen preparing the required ingredients such as the vegetables, the meats, the stock, the spices, and then crafted and combined them all together in her own special way to create this wonderful tasting dish.

When I took my first bite, I was hooked. I fell in love with paella that day.

Over my five month’s living in Spain, as well as frequent visits back for the last 20 years, I have enjoyed many paella’s, each with their own unique touch and flare, but I always remember and have enjoyed Pepita’s the most. Although many other paellas contained the same ingredients as Pepita’s, many others lacked the personality, uniqueness and passion that she brought to cooking hers. After all, Pepita had spent 40 years perfecting her paella cooking skills before she served it to me that day in 2002.

When I was getting ready to move back to the United States, she shared her recipe with me. This recipe was given to her by her mother, and had been passed down through the generations to her. I have spent the last 20 years perfecting, tweaking and adding my own personal flare and style to my paella. It has been an honor to take this recipe and continue to have its legacy live on while being able to add my own touch to it.

A few questions and challenges for you to consider:

  • Are you ensuring that you possess the key ingredient list and are following the basic recipe for your business? (again click here to read last week’s blog). A paella cannot be cooked without rice. A business cannot grow without marketing.
  • Do you have a “Pepita” to show you the recipe that she has followed for 40 years, meaning do you have a mentor? Somebody who has been there and done that. Somebody who can give you the recipe.
  • How does your business taste? What do you uniquely bring to your business in terms of culture, passion, values, and your own personal touch? How can you get your customers, your team and the people your business serves and touches to fall in love with your company, and keep coming back to it?
  • Are you being patient? When I cooked my first paella, it was not that great. I had never before executed on the recipe and its basics. Good things take time! A great business takes time. Many entrepreneurs want their business to taste like Pepita’s paella but have neither spent, nor are willing to spend, decades perfecting their craft.

I hope these questions challenge and encourage you to grow an amazing and excellent tasting business that many fall in love with.

Speaking of recipes, many of you have been asking for my recipe, so here is where you can get it:

Click here, to sign up for my free business building tools and I will send you my Spanish paella recipe. This recipe is in video format, and will share the step-by-step instructions on how to create a wonderful and delicious Spanish paella.

Along with this recipe I will send you many other business building resources including my Back to The Basics free video coaching series, my Become an Award Winning Company workbook, a leadership language survey and the couple of videos where I dive deep into my years of building my businesses and growing in my leadership. I hope all these resources serve you, your business and your life.