Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Business Lessons from Paula Deen

Paula Deen is not your typical entrepreneur. Or is she? I just finished her memoir Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin' in which she tells us her success story. One thing is very clear, it wasn’t easy. She began her business in 1989 at the age of 42, a recent divorcee who had suffered from agoraphobia for twenty years. Starting small, with only a $200 investment she began “The Bag Lady”. She made sandwiches out of her home and sold them to her co-workers and neighboring businesses at lunch. This led to private catering and ultimately to a restaurant of her own.

She shares the lessons she learned along the way. You need to be legal; she licensed her business thru her friend's pool hall. Entrepreneurship is hard work; while working 16 to 24 hour days she let her own home literally become a roach invested pig sty. You can’t be afraid to take a risk or work under a little stress. When she decided to open a restaurant in downtown Savannah she entered into a long term lease that needed renovations with just a handshake. The day her new restaurant was to open her checking accounts were overdrawn. She surrounded herself with the best people she could find and strived to bring out the best in them.
Paula’s lessons aren’t necessarily new, yet her story has a realistic spin. If you have always wanted to sell your famous egg rolls, salad dressing, caramel nut torte or whatever to the public I would recommend reading this book first.