Learn from Paula Deen
Paula Deen and the Food Network made the front page of the CNN website when it was simply announced that Paula Deen would not have her contract renewed with The Food Network at the end of the month. Not only did it make the front page of the CNN website but it ran across the bottom of their screen the day it happened. In addition, the story was carried on NBC as Paula Deen was lined up to appear on The Today Show with Matt Laurer and so the news was all over NBC and also the other networks.
If you own a business there are many lessons. The first question you may be asking though, is who is Paula Deen? There are probably different answers to this question though the simple answer is that Paula Deen is a chef/cook and she’s also a celebrity building her brand and notoriety by cooking the food she loves which is from the south where she lives in Savannah, GA.
So if you own a business, what are some of the lessons? You will probably have your own opinion about what you think are the most important lessons but the most important lesson for me is that Paula Deen did not change with the times. It would be easy to say that part of the reason that Paula Deen didn’t change is because she’s been around for a number of years; she’s 62 years old and her company has been on TV for over 22 years with 11 of those years on The Food Network. Because of her longevity on TV she came to believe that she could do and say what she wanted because she had either learned the right to do it or perhaps she thought her audience would not care. And that’s my point. Paula got it wrong.
Paula got it wrong because as a society we continue to change and evolve. Often the changes are subtle and small but regardless, they are change. Because of this change in society and especially because of the public profile and indeed the dependence of her business on it, Paula needed to understand those changes and adapt. She deliberately chose not to as her PR company said and I quote “She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today.”
If you own and operate a business you must adapt and change. The future of your business depends on it. Who knows if Paula Deen and her business will survive? Perhaps Paula has enough money and been running her business long enough to no longer need to keep working. The Food Network, however, made a quick and firm decision. They were no longer interested in carrying her show.
What other lessons can we learn from Paula Deen losing her show on The Food Network? Here are a few.
When it was to be announced later on in the day that Paula Deen would not have her contract renewed by The Food Network she immediately moved into damage control mode by making some video’s and apologizing. Paula didn’t try to defend what had happened she tackled her problem head on and as quickly as she could. Bottom line, if you have a problem deal with it quickly. It should be part of any Disaster Recovery Plan you have in place for your business.
Paula Deen has a contract in place with a pharmaceutical company for her to endorse a diabetes drug. Apparently Paula was diagnosed about 3 years ago with diabetes and so now she has a new revenue stream available to her as a result of her diabetes. So the lesson is not to have your business solely dependent on one revenue stream.
If you’re an employee, here’s a great take-away from what’s happened. If you work for a business owner and the business completely revolves around them, you could be out of a job and out of a job very quickly. In the case of Paula Deen’s business, no one else could replace her If you work in such an environment, get out and either get a new job now, or better still, go and start or buy your own business so you only have to rely on you and the decisions you make, not for the person you are working. As they say, why help them live the American Dream of owning and operating a business when you can do it yourself.
If you own a business and think it’s time to sell so you don’t have the same worries as Paula Deen, give me a call on 916 570-2674 or send an email to Andrew Rogerson.
If you work for a company and decide it’s time for a change give me a call and let me go over your business ownership options or use the above email address to send me a request to contact you.