I want to talk about our logo, because I designed it and wanted to intentionally incorporate some of my core values in the image. There are four words in the bottom the logo. Ethos, Pathos, Logos, and Kairos. Today I’ll write about Kairos and what it means to me as a businessperson. Although I apply this to every aspect my life- because Kairos to me just means to identify opportunity and have faith that I’m making the right decision.

Kairos is a Greek word that means the right or opportune moment. In the kitchen we call this the “critical control point”. Kairos is a critical control point in life. It’s the moment in which an opportunity is in front of you and you need to identify it or will slip away. It’s the time to act and to take a leap of faith. Business is all about risk. I believe life is all about risk too. You can either take a risk and win, or you might fail- but you will never know unless you try. You can’t live the life you dream if you stop yourself with the fear of the unknown. You can never know everything. No one can ever know everything.

Kairos is important to me. It’s an exercise in faith. It’s an exercise in identifying positive energy and believing that whatever happens will happen for the best.

Why is this important? I didn’t come up with this myself. Kairos was identified in ancient Greece by Aristotle. It’s a theory that in order to be an influential leader, you need four important tools that will directly impact how you can influence people and effectively lead them. Aristotle used these tools in politics, but I choose to use these tools in my life. They come into play most in my profession when it comes to sales.

When you develop a product, or when you’re looking to make a sale think of Kairos. Try to recognize that feeling that you get when you realize that there’s an opportunity. Usually it starts with an “I wish you had ____” or “Do you have______?”. When you open a business, you open it with a product or a service. You hope that the customer will like it, need it, and frequent your business but many times the customers want something slightly different.

It happened to me at my last business. I started as a traditional salumeria and sold salami and sausages by the pound. My customers asked me “Do you have BBQ?” “Do you have Pastrami?” “Do you have more sandwich options?”. I really wanted a traditional salumeria, and I didn’t want to own another restaurant. I saw the opportunity and I knew I had to make a change so that I could keep my customers happy. The Kairos there was 1st) when I saw that we needed a place to buy good meats in a forgotten community, and 2nd) when the people within that community wanted something slightly different than what I intended to sell. I’ve seen the same thing happen with other businesses. They succeed when the learn to identify opportunity, and they fail when they don’t.

A businessperson is a risk taker, and you can’t be one without that. When you go to sell something, you identify a need in the market, and you fill that need with a product or a service. Usually this need has an expiration date- someone is sure to think of the same thing and they might do it before you. For you to profit off your idea, you need to invest your money, you need to share your idea with investors, and open yourself to possibility of success or failure. I would like to think that failure is not an option, and that we have ways of controlling that it doesn’t happen. But we can’t tell the future, you can only follow data and trust that your decisions are the right ones. Having faith and leaping is the risk. The moment in which you need to trust and take the risk is the Kairos. Data will help you minimize risk, but it will never take it away.

Learn to identify opportunity and don't hold yourself back from the possibility of a new and better journey.

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I’ve had an eventful life with many high points and many low points. As have most of us. The reason I decided to start this blog is so that I could share my journey with other entrepreneurs. It was a selfish decision really. After many personal hardships that happened simultaneously with many of my biggest career decisions, I realized something important. Although I value my personal life above my career, financial stability helps with happiness. I think it’s empowering to be self-reliant, to not need anyone for anything other than who they are and not what they have to give. Hopefully that helps with my personal life, because it filters whether the people in your life are in it for the right reasons. Do you love the people or what they have? You never know how quickly life can change. That’s why it’s important to me that I be self-reliant. My career provides me with opportunities that never came easily. I know there are other people out there just like me. I’ve met countless business owners of big and small business; it doesn’t seem to matter- we all have something in common. Business owners feel like no one understands them. I think people do understand, but one thing is certain- they don’t help or care to listen because they can’t relate to you and it’s not their problem.

I designed the logo for and I chose a phoenix as the focal point. I believe that anyone that decides to take the risk and become a business owner needs to be resilient. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Many of us started a company because we felt that we could do more, that we were being undervalued or set aside for bigger opportunities. When we felt our lowest and the frustration of stagnation, we decided to take it into our own hands. We fell, we worked hard, came up with and idea and made it happen. That’s why we get the opportunity of re-inventing ourselves, of strengthening our character, and of soaring with no one telling us we can’t. Well, I guess people do tell us that we can’t, but we don’t have to listen to them. We don’t need them. We’re independents.

The chef entrepreneur is its own breed of entrepreneur. Chefs by nature need to depend on others. Chefs need to be team players, we need to trust, and we have been trained under an important brigade system that we know is dangerous to disrupt. Many business owners can start their businesses on their own. In food businesses, we need a team every step of the way. We can’t do it without other people because we have an intricate service to provide. I think most food businesses fail in the first year or two because they aren’t led by chef. Chefs understand how lead a kitchen team, we understand the quality of food that you need to sell, we understand purchasing and what good food really is. It’s embarrassing for a chef to deviate from what they know is the standard. It’s much easier for someone who owns a restaurant and is not a chef to make justifications for lowering quality. Those justifications will lead to failure because the standard will fall, and customers know better. So, if you’re not a chef and would like to open a restaurant- find one to be your partner or your right hand. You need someone who understands the dynamic and the world of the kitchen. It’s much different than the world you come from.

Chefs understand that we can’t work in the kitchen forever. Being a chef is a physically difficult job that is also mentally challenging. We deal with stress, vulnerability, and unknown crazy problems daily. When a chef becomes a business owner, we add an entire other list of difficulties to an already difficult job. We’re well prepared though, because we deal stress and push through without complaining, it never matters how much work it takes as long as we make it happen. Therefore, I chose the phoenix as the symbol for the chef food business mentor. We are fire, we burn with passion for what we do, we fall, and we rise with beauty.

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Happy September everyone! I know I can speak for most in the DC restaurant industry when I say- Thank God it's September! One more slow season is behind us, and now it's time to gear up and get ready for holiday season madness.

Many of us are busy writing menus, thinking of our holiday marketing campaigns, figuring out holiday schedules and how we will be able to balance our personal enjoyment of the holidays and fulfilling the needs of our customers.

As we embark on this busy season, I'd like to lend some words of advice. This is personal advice, and many might not agree with me. But you can take it or leave it.

When we get into the busy season, we work harder, but we also have more cash flow. I've seen many businesses make the mistake of spending their cash on equipment they might not necessarily need at the moment, on expensive marketing and PR firms, or just drawing cash for themselves during this time. I think it's great if you can invest in equipment and things that your company needs- but don't forget to ask your CPA about what investments would be of more advantage to you.

Another thing to look out for is: Are you in debt? You need to pay that debt back before you invest in things that you might not necessarily need at the moment. It's important to remember that your business will always have needs. You will always invent a justification for why you need that new thing, and you'll end up spending the money. There will always be something that you will need to buy, that will make your business more efficient, that might drive customers to your door. My recommendation is: Focus on what you have and make the most of it. Get creative with your marketing strategies- and try not to get into debt. Instead, invest the cash flow on a rainy day fund. That way, if the slow season does hit, you have something to fall back on. This is my advice for any small business. It's probably not the same advice that other small business consultants will give you. But, it's definitely what I would recommend.

My opinion has been shaped by experience, and perhaps comes from a religious part of me as well. In Luke 19:11-27 there's a story about three men that receive a gold coin, and the one who was able to invest it and make more coins was rewarded most. I just think that when you have a resource, you should try to use it to the best of your ability. I've failed at that at the past and realized it's much better to work with what you have, than to borrow and be in debt and pay interest because of the failure to develop a plan on how you'll be able to be resourceful and use what you have.

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