One of the areas I’m always trying to further my knowledge of is understanding strategic concepts around businesses, how you grow them and where the ideas come from, focusing on the people element as much as the business ideas themselves. It’s certainly an area I think I’ll always want to learn more about and be better at.
How I Built This is a 25-30-minute podcast made up of bite-sized entrepreneur stories.
The best one I’ve listened to, or the one I remember best at least, was the Founder of Five Guys who went through the approach he took to make it ‘the best’, and how the business then transformed and got going.
The attraction is that there’s no rocket science behind it. It’s all a series of seemingly small, sensible decisions and it’s a fast-food chain, so to an extent both a simplified business model and one everyone can relate to.
The family lived in a pretty run-down area of New York I think and he gave his 4 sons the option to spend the money they’d saved on sending them to college or opening a burger joint. Once that (easy) decision was made, they visited a particular burger joint close to them that had a queue round the block all the time and they spoke to everyone in the queue and asked why they were queueing because people would regularly wait 45 minutes to get served. The almost universal response was that they served the best fries they’d ever had.
So, they joined the queue, got to the front, and asked the server where they got their potatoes from. The server shared their local supplier, so then they went from the burger joint straight to the potato guy, and how ever many years later they still buy every single potato from the same place. There are similar stories for all the elements in the burgers, even down to family tasting sessions of different hot sauce varieties.
When you boil it down it was really a story about having the courage of your convictions, making every element the best it can be and taking sometimes scary opportunities when they present themselves.
There are probably hundreds of people who did the exact same thing, but only one of them works. So, what is it that made that one work versus the others? That’s the actual magic sauce and it’s usually different in every scenario!
Also, it was about food. And I like food.