Recently I was asked to speak at a small business breakfast event about my career in the food industry and how that has influenced my business.
For those that don’t know me, my first role in the food sector started thirty years ago this year. Let me say that again slowly – THIRTY years ago. Back then there was no Google to help you find a job, no one at school helped you write a CV. You couldn’t have a mooch online and look for jobs and understand what people were looking for before you applied, you just had to go and ask.
That’s right. Ask for the opportunity.
And that is what I did. I went into a job centre, while I should have been at college (that’s where my mum thought I was), and I asked for a job. Something local, I didn’t drive, but I don’t remember what else I said. I had experience of shop work – a florist, a handbag shop, but that was pretty much it. But I remembered that I smiled, a big smile to convey more confidence than I probably felt. And that is where my career started.
I was sent to a trading estate in Birmingham, walking distance from home and had an interview in an office with a man called Paul Slack, Director at the then known Pyke Biggs Fairfax, now Fairfax Meadow. I remember Paul putting me at ease, asking some questions and he offered me the job there and then, selling meat to chefs and restaurants. His closing line as I shook his hand was this – “I hope you are not a b***y vegetarian”. I told him I was, but I didn’t think it would be a problem. It never was, I loved my two years at Fairfax selling meat to Chefs and understanding how to be part of a business.
At the tender age of sixteen it struck me that if you want something you have to go and ask for it, be that a job, an interview, an order or a new customer.
So let me ask you, what have you asked for that you really wanted? Are you afraid of asking for the opportunity? Don’t be! It’s just a question that helps identify what you want. Think about what is the worst that could happen and then think about the best thing that could happen.
Try it and let me know how you get on!
I’m launching a new business venture very soon, I will be asking for opportunities to talk about how we can help food manufacturers take strategic action in their sales and marketing strategies to deliver results. Curious? Then watch this space…or ask me about it!
If you want to see an exert from this presentation you can watch it here.