INSTANT MBA: Imitating Big Corporations Can Encourage Creativity In Small Businesses

Tyson Cole

Photo: senor miller via flickr

Today’s advice comes from Tyson Cole, co-owner of the Japanese restaurants Uchi and Uchiko, via his interview with The New York Times:Many restaurant owners don’t want to come off as corporate; to them, the “C” in the word “corporate” is like the Scarlet Letter. To embrace systems would be like selling out and becoming a chain.”

Cole argues that small businesses can actually benefit from examining the way corporations work. In the food business, corporate chain restaurants know how to organise better than smaller ones, and organisation is a huge component to expanding. 

While some startup founders may feel like organizational efforts will take away from creativity, Cole argues that putting in these systems, as bigger companies do, give businesses the freedom to be creative.

“I feel the opposite. There’s a reason chain restaurants thrive: Every one of them started as an individual restaurant. Each had a great chef, a great concept, and a great location, and they developed systems that enabled them to build guest demand, hold on to key people, and make money. Otherwise it would have been impossible to open two locations, much less 200.”

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