Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and a Side of Business

Years ago I heard a story that has been forever imprinted in my mind.

It was a story about a girl who invited her boyfriend over for a roast beef dinner. She agonized over this dinner, fussing over every detail to ensure it was perfect. Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, a nice bottle of Cabernet, table set, and fresh flowers. Everything was perfect for a romantic evening.

After dinner, they were sitting on the couch and her boyfriend told her how amazing dinner was. He loved everything about dinner but he had one question for her.

He asked “Why did you cut the ends off the roast beef? They are my favourite part and usually, that’s where the most tender part of the roast is and I love how crispy and delicious that part is.”

The girl had been following her Grandmother’s recipe, the very same one her Mother had used all her life. After her boyfriend left, she picked up the phone and called her Grandmother to inquire. She felt badly that her dinner had not included her boyfriend’s favourite part and wanted to know why the recipe was written this way.

What her Grandmother said shocked her and it’s something you need to know in your business too.

Her Grandmother laughed when she asked the question and then said, “I had to cut the ends off the roast in order to get the roast to fit in my pan.”

Times change, ovens get bigger and so do cooking pans. Sometimes you do the same things over and over because that’s the way you’ve always done it. You do it without really understanding why, even when it no longer make sense.

You probably do this in life, just like this story, and you may be doing it in your business, too.

Have you met the guy who runs a company, that does almost a million a year in sales, that still writes every invoice and journal entry by hand? I have.

Or the woman who operates multiple retails stores and still does all of her ordering by fax? I’ve talked to her, too.

I bet you’ve met the one who still doesn’t use social media because she believes it is a fad and won’t last.

These are smart and capable business owners who are stuck in time. They are still running your business the way it was done in the 80s when it could be done so much better if they would just be open to the possibilities.

Your mindset and your way of doing things could be hindering the growth of your business. Click To Tweet

It’s time to take stock of how you run your business and identify and eliminate recipes that no longer work. Let’s get rid of your roast beef.


What processes do you have in place that no longer serve your business? Are there ways that you do things that could be changed, streamlined, converted over to a new technology that would allow you to better serve your clients?


What clients are no longer a good match for the work you do? Do you have clients that are still paying the same fees they did 5-10 years ago because you are afraid to talk to them about change? Do you have clients that you need to release but you’ve been avoiding that conversation?

Team Members

What team members are no longer the right fit for your business? Do you have someone on your team you silently wish would resign because you feel badly telling them that they are no longer a good fit? It’s time to man up and talk to them about an exit strategy that is fair for both of you.


When was the last time you archived and removed really old content from your website? Is the first blog you wrote the one you want a new client to stumble upon? Did you know that keeping all your old stuff on your website can actually slow it down and that removing things you no longer need is a good thing?

Files and Stacks of Paper

How many years worth of files do you have on hand? Or better yet, how many stacks of paper need to be filed, shredded or removed? You don’t need to be a hoarder when it comes to business. Keep the necessary documentation on hand and get rid of the rest. I keep my notebooks on hand for 6 months and then I go through them and destroy all reference material. If it is something important, I take a photo of the note and file it on computer in the appropriate place.


If you are a retailer, how much old inventory do you have that needs to be purged? Are you sitting on massive amounts of inventory that is now eating into your cash flow because you are hoping someone will find the stuff that’s hidden in your back room? It’s time to liquidate that and lighten up your load.

What else in your business needs to change? What recipes and rituals are no longer serving you? What can you do to freshen things up, ensure you are not getting stale and that you are always operating at the top of your game? I’d love to hear your suggestions below.



2 thoughts on “Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and a Side of Business”

  1. … or the lady who would rather get paid by cheque, make a trip to the bank to deposit it weeks later, and have to chase down those that come back NSF, instead of getting paid instantly by credit card. I know her!

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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