Business Timing and Cheesecake

In the midst of some recent research on the online food and recipes marketplace, my low blood-sugar filled brain cells became fixated on cheesecake.  Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, White Macadamia Nut, Chocolate and Peanut Butter.  If my local Cheesecake Factory wasn’t so far away, I would be finishing this post from there.  Their menu has all kinds of good stuff in it, including a story on how it was founded.

Evelyn Overton began her road to cheesecake fame in the 1940s.  She opened a small cheesecake shop in Detroit but soon closed it to focus on raising her children.  She didn’t let her commitment to family stop her dream.  She continued to perfect her recipes and supplied cakes to well-known Detroit eateries.   In 1971, when she and her husband Oscar entered their 50’s , they moved to LA using the last of their savings to open a 700 square foot store.  The rest as they say is Cheesecake Factory history.

I love this story because it has universal truths and maxims for business owners trying to make it big.

  • Overnight success is rare.  Evelyn Overton’s dream was deferred for 2o+ years.   Don’t expect your business to blossom instantly.  It takes time
  • Passion is critical to success.  Evelyn balanced her passion for family and food rather than following one at the exclusion of the other.  Try to combine and balance your life’s passions to carve out a unique niche.
  • Performance comes from refining your product.  Evelyn used her time raising her kids to perfect her recipe and study her marketplace. Starting small to perfect your product and positioning in the market is critical.  Never settle for stopping at version 1.0
  • Supportive friends and family will fuel you:  Oscar (Evelyn’s husband) and David (Evelyn’s son) were key members of the Cheesecake Factory braintrust.  Go find people among your family and friends that believe in you and your dream.  You will need them.

My experience as a founder of a small business and work with friends and family attest to the truth of  the keys in the Cheesecake Factory story.  Go get a slice of cheesecake and read the menu again.  As those calories course through your veins, study the story and learn something that transcends that delightful cheesecake.  Business success takes time so make the most of your time to enjoy the journey.

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