Okay, there are three reasons I like this book, and for the same reasons, I recommend that you pick it up and read it. Those reasons are personal growth, business, and food, all things I am passionate about.
How does it do all those things at once? The book takes the story of a (mostly) fictional French restaurant and its founders to break a business plan into twelve sections, or courses, just like you would a traditional French meal. That’s not all, though. The business plan is also a personal growth plan. Let’s break it down a little bit.
Laurie Buchanan, Ph.D., is not just an author. She is a business owner, transitional life coach, holistic health practitioner, and speaker. She takes all of those experiences and puts them together in a book designed to do one thing: help you understand the connection between business success and personal success. Business owners implement strategies that set them up for success, and we as people should implement practices in our personal lives that help us live our purpose and reach our goals.
Buchanan shows us some practical steps to doing so by showing that the same principles that guide a business can guide our personal growth as well.
The Business Plan
There are about 11 elements that go into a business plan, from mission and vision to financial analysis. A business plan is a living document, one that changes as the market and your business change. This book looks at those parts of a business plan from the viewpoint of La Mandarine Bleue, the mostly fictional French restaurant mentioned above and its founders as they journey through the startup process. This fictional account reveals many of the hidden processes within each aspect of the business plan.
Each section ends with a personal application of the business principle. For instance, the initial section that introduces the business plan has a section on your personal life titled “Put Your Stake in the Ground.” It outlines how each section of a personal plan mirrors a business one and asks a series of questions:
- Where am I going?
- What have I got to offer?
- Who do I influence?
- How much time and effort am I willing to invest?
- Where am I now and where do I want to be?
- What is at stake?
- What are my personal standards?
- What is my personal definition of success?
- What steps do I need to take to ensure success?
This first chapter gives you the foundation for the rest of the book. It is a roadmap that lets you know where you will be going, and the book delivers on every single topic and every single page.
The bonus of the business of being? The business and personal plans are also based around a traditional 12-course French meal—complete with recipes and wine pairings. Whether you cook your way through the book or plan a special dinner for friends and family, the recipes are spot on and classically inspired.
The key takeaway? This book will change you. For some, it will offer a reminder of what a business plan looks like, but also how to keep a personal balance and have a personal plan that rivals that of your business plan. For others, it will be an eye-opening look at the effort and thought needed to start a business, and will remind us that our personal lives require just as much thought and purpose.
I’d give this book more than five stars if I could, and it is highly recommended for anyone who, like the cover says, wants to find their soul purpose in and out of the workplace. You won’t be disappointed and you may find yourself going back to this text for inspiration (and recipes) the longer it sits on your shelf. Find it at Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075K68L8D/
Also published on Medium.