As I’ve written in other editions of this column, there have been times when I wanted to quit building my restaurant executive coaching business. Times when I didn’t think I was getting anywhere. It was really frustrating for a long time. But then, something happened: The big Mo.
There is something about momentum that is the secret ingredient to explosive growth. It’s secret because most people don’t realize it’s happening, and others don’t even know it’s there. But it sits just below the surface until it makes its presence known.
We talk all the time about overnight success. Wow, that rock band really took off into an overnight success! Right? Wrong. That band probably got in a van and traveled from city to city playing in small venues, scraped money together to record, started a social media page, and worked their butts off until they were discovered by someone of influence. No matter what, even companies like Apple, TikTok, Tesla put a lot of foundational work that no one paid attention to until those companies blew up.
The reason momentum surprises us is because it operates through exponential growth. Regular growth in restaurants occurs with some effort. For instance, if two people come into your restaurant and have dinner, and one went back and also brought a friend, but the other diner came back but didn’t tell anyone to go there the growth would be two guests plus one (new guest) equals three guests. This is a regular growth model.
However, exponential growth occurs when there is consistent effort that builds on top of previous consistent effort. Using the same analogy, let’s look at the exponential growth model. If those same two guests go to dinner and they both go back and bring a friend and then this is repeated over and over again, this model look like this. Two plus two equals four, those four invite one each but also tell another person about the restaurant four plus four plus four equals 12. In this case the four became 12. Now let’s repeat. The 12 invited 12 and told 12. Now the model is 12 plus 12 plus 12 equals 36. This is the power of exponential growth.
The downside of momentum is that it takes time and consistent effort. It’s not an overnight sensation. It takes focus, hard work, and consistency for it to be noticeable. This is especially true in restaurants. We work and we work and we work to try and build amazing guest experiences, one on top of another. Even with intense focus, restaurant growth sometimes never hits exponential growth.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point,” he explains how these exponential occurrences happen. He calls these social epidemics. He says when one event occurs it’s like a piece of sand being placed on a scale. Eventually when this is repeated over and over again the scale finally tips (in your favor). This is called critical mass. Gladwell says you can speed up this process and create greater momentum when you have these three key components.
Connectors: People with Strong Social Networks
Mavens: People Who are Knowledgeable Influencers
Salespeople: People Who Convince Others
In my own story of building Monte Silva Coaching, I worked hard for three and a half years working full time running a restaurant while building my coaching business as a side hustle. I did this by creating content and connecting with people. I had some success. I was growing but at a very slow pace. I was slowly connecting with people through LinkedIn. I built my following to over 29,000 followers. I attended a couple of conferences. But I sucked at selling myself and my services. Slowly, slowly, I was doing the work and setting the foundation for momentum.
But, in 2023 it all changed. I got an epiphany. And that aha moment was this. I was creating content and connecting at a slow rate for three-and-a-half years with this model. I began to add one element to my business strategy- Collaborate. My new model looked like this.
CREATE. CONNECT. COLLABORATE
So, instead of writing a weekly blog on Linked In once a week, I collaborated with FSR to write this weekly Column. Now, my message is shared with my audience as well as the magazine’s audience. So, I connected with FSR (a connector and a maven) who were better at telling people I was an expert than I was able to do. I also was a guest on a lot of other people’s podcast and then reposting that on LinkedIn.
I had two clients that kept rehiring me. They would reach their 90-day goals and hire me again for another 90 days. I asked them for a referral quote. I also added a call to action by clicking a link to book a free call with me to all my posts.
The next thing I did was post more often. I started a weekly Newsletter called Restaurant Success on LinkedIn and promoted that. At the end of 2023 I stopped working in a restaurant so I could work full time on my business. Then I started Restaurant Success Club, a weekly Linked in Live event. Now I am posting five days a week on LinkedIn: This column, my newsletter, LinkedIn live event, resharing a podcast I was a guest on, and one other varying post.
I now have the three components Gladwell wrote about: Connectors, Mavens, and Sales people. I’ve tapped into other Connectors networks. I have Mavens talking about me. And I have Salespeople saying I’m an expert, so I don’t have to. I also focused full time and increased frequency of posts and exposure. And now, my coaching business is exploding.
As restaurateurs, you have the ability to create massive growth through
momentum. You can scale your business far greater than you can imagine. But it’s going to take some work. It’s going to require grains of sand added to the scale. It’s going to take your employees, guests and community becoming your Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople and then then process will move much quicker. I’ve done this over my career and I know you can, too.
If you want to discuss working with me to build the momentum you need to scale your restaurant business, book a FREE call by clicking the link below. It’s time to take advantage of the big MO.
Editor’s note: This is the 29th article in a new column from restaurant expert Monte Silva. More on the series can be found here. The first story, on Why Underpaying Restaurant Employees is a Recipe for Disaster, is here. The second, on Why Marketing is Not Expensive, is here. The third, on people-centric leadership, is here. The fourth, on Why Working 70-Hour Weeks in Your Restaurant is Not the Answer, is here. The fifth, on How to Provide Hospitality in a High-Tech, Low-Touch World, is here. The sixth, on ‘The Convertible Culture’ in Restaurants, is here. The seventh, on Why the Old P&L Model Has Set Restaurants Up for Failure,’ is here. The eighth, on How to Scale Your Restaurant Business When There is Only One of You, is here. The ninth article, The Secret to Finding and Keeping Great Employees is Not Difficult, is here. The 10th, What Culture Do You Really Want at Your Restaurant?, is here. The 11th, on Your Restaurant Should Serve People, Not Product, is here. The 12th, on Don’t Let Shiny New Toys Distract Your Restaurant from What’s Most Important, is here. The the 13th, on Why Restaurant Value Shouldn’t Be Based on Price, is here. The 14th, on The Case for Hyper-Focused Menus, is here. The 15th, This is How Your Restaurant Will Survive Beyond 3 Years, is here. The 16th, on The Difference Between a Restaurant Coach and Consultant, is here. The 17th, What is a Restaurant Tech Stack, and How Do You Know if You Built the Right One? is here. The 18th, You Can’t Make Someone Accountable if You Haven’t Made Them Responsible, is here. The 19th, Memo to Restaurants: Service and Hospitality are Not the Same Thing, is here. The 20th, Why a Penny Saved in a Restaurant is Not Always a Penny Earned, is here. The 21st, on Why You’re Never Too Old for Greatness, is here. The 22nd, Why Consistency is the Only Way to Keep Your Restaurant Open, is here. The 23rd, on The Restaurant Industry Doesn’t Have a Labor Shortage—It Has a Leader Shortage, is here. The 24th, Are Restaurant Employees Today Entitled? is here. The 25th, Should Hotels Rethink How They View Restaurants?, is here. The 26th, Five Priorities Operators Must Follow to Successfully Run a Restaurant, is here. The 27th, Why Your Restaurant Needs an ‘Abundance Mindset’ in 2024, is here. The 28th, You Can’t Run a Successful Restaurant Without Persistence, is here. And the 29th, Why Investing in Yourself as a Leader is the Best Way to Grow Your Restaurant, is here.