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Published: 31/10/2019

4 lessons to learn from the Great British Bake Off

Business Growth

Did you watch the Bake off final this week? A bit like being a small business owner, there were tight deadlines, the pressure to plan right and of course, the setbacks (poor Steph!).

So let’s see what important lessons The Great British Bake Off series can teach us. On your marks, get set, BAKE!

Preparation is key

In the bake-off, you’ll see contestants given a task by the judges. It seems like they know what they’re doing but in reality, there is a lot of preparation going on behind the scenes. The contestants would have been actively preparing all week so they are ready to make their delectable dish. 

Key lesson:

There might be some occasions where you need to prepare for something which could have an impact on your business. 

Perhaps you're going to a networking event or meeting someone who might be interested in offering you some work. You might need to practise your pitch in the mirror so you know what to say. 

Winning in business, just like in winning a bake-off challenge, requires time and effort. But in the end, the rewards can be great.

Learn from setbacks and improve

If you watch the bake-off, you will know that every week they have to complete a technical challenge. And there is always someone who comes last. 

They still survive, but the prospects for winning don’t look good. This was the case with the 2016 winner, Nadiya Hussein. In the first few weeks of the show, she finished last in the technical, surviving by the skin of her teeth. But gradually she improved and ended up winning ‘star baker’ 3 times before eventually winning the competition. Now she’s a household name.

Key lesson:

Now whilst, it shouldn’t be an aim to fail, you can learn from setbacks and come back stronger. 

Maybe you mishandled an order or dealt with a customer badly. Perhaps you couldn’t meet your sales target for the third quarter. These things happen. But instead of being ‘down in the dumps’, think about what went wrong and think about how you can do better next time.

Adapting to different challenges 

Whist the bakers get to practise in their own time for a couple of challenges, the technical challenge, which we mentioned earlier, is a total surprise and leaves our competitors with no time to prepare at all. 

They are told to bake something very particular, and they have to bake a certain number of this item. And if that isn’t hard enough, each one must look identical - a tough challenge. It’s no surprise then that many contestants find this particularly difficult. 

Key lesson:

Whilst planning in business is critical, there are often scenarios that require you to think on your feet and improvise. 

Priorities might change in an instant, deadlines might move forward, suppliers might be late in getting in stock. Unfortunately, things can happen which are out of your control. Part of being a good business owner is knowing how to be flexible when circumstances change.

Have some fun along the way 

The bake-off is renowned for its humour. Whether it’s between the contestants and judges or the presenters, there is a lovely whimsical and distinctly British silliness, which means that everyone has a good time on the show. 

Sure there is pressure, but everyone behaves nicely. Even a disaster can be complemented with a shared laugh afterwards. It’s a positive culture.

Key lesson:

Of course in a working environment, work should come first. But whether you’re working by yourself or with a team of employees, there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun at times. 

Take a break. Then you can get back to work feeling refreshed and energised.

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David Goulden
David Goulden Copywriter
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