What is the Point of Expectations in Business?

What is the Point of Expectations in Business?

Do expectations matter?

Yes. They set the tone for almost anything. If I expect to hit a certain time in a marathon (which I do very infrequently these days) I need to understand what that means in terms of minutes per mile. And I need to judge my expectations based upon the pace at which I am running at that time.


Careers are no different. If you expect to have a certain career you need a certain background in most cases. If I don’t go to med school, I should not expect to be a doctor. If I don’t do well in school, I should not expect to get into med school.

Businesses are also the same. If I expect a certain level of success, then I need to understand what I need to do to get there. If my business sells widgets, and I expect to do $500,000 a year in sales, I need to understand the value of my widget. If it is worth $500,000, then I need to sell just one. If it is worth $5, then I need to sell 100,000 of them. Is it reasonable for me to expect that I will be able to sell the right number of widgets to meet my goals based on what I’m doing, or is there a disconnect? 

bread_store_or_cafe_great_harvestExpectations are not guarantees, but they are a great reality check on dreams and plans. Many people dream of owning their own business. I did. And a great way to gut check reality is to review expectations. We see this in many ways, but the one most often discussed at Great Harvest is whether we are a bread store that sells sandwiches or a café that bakes its own breads and goodies.

I honestly don’t think the answer matters except in terms of expectations. The public doesn’t focus on this as much as we do. They just want what we bake.

We care because a café is a more complex operation than a pure bakery. There is an urban legend that sandwiches aren’t as profitable as bread because bread is simple. It is . . . but it is also less expensive than sandwiches. Priced correctly, the two should be equal.

earnings_expectationsThe thing that you do have to take into account is market size and growth. The sandwich market is a growth market, especially in our segment. Bread is a more mature market. It isn’t growing much overall ─ but whole grains are. In this case my expectation is that whole grain bread sales and sandwiches both should be growing but both should be safe.

how_much_money_can_i_makeWhich brings me to the bottom-line expectation in business: how much money can I make? That depends on your revenue, and your revenue depends on what you can reasonably expect to sell given your menu and location. It all works together.

You have to understand that none of those variables are independent. Your location has to, at the very least, not hurt your expectations. Your menu has to be appropriate for your market. Your business model has to fit all of that. If you start with an expectation and build your location and menu to fit that, then you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Are you considering bakery ownership? Learn more about the importance of location and see some of the best future markets for Great Harvest across the country.


Maximize your expected earnings by choosing the right location:

What Are the Best Cities to Open Your Bakery? (eBook)

Read More About Expectations in Business On Our Blog:

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