As an avid Trick-or-Treater in the 1970’s through early 80’s, and as an Entrepreneurial Chef in the 2010’s, I now see the great business strategies I learned from trick-or-treating:

1. We were never afraid to knock on closed doors. Every new door approached held great excitement and mystery. When we came to a door where nobody answered, did we call it quits and go home? No! We may have grumbled a bit, but we kept going! We knocked on the next door and the one after that and so on. Business strategy learned – don’t give up after the first hang up or lead that goes unanswered. Keep on knocking on those doors, be they actual doors or in the form of phone, email, etc.

2. We always remembered to think BIG! Did we bring a small bag or pillowcase? No! We brought the King-sized pillowcase to be able to stay out longer and maximize our trick-or-treat time! Two business strategies learned – to always think BIG and always think efficiency.

3. It helped us perfect the art of negotiation. When my sisters and I would get home, we would organize our candy by type or name of candy and proceed to trade the ones that we didn’t like for ones that we did. There were certain candies that were easy to trade but others that were a little more challenging which was where the real negotiating began.  Business strategy learned – Determine which of your goals are negotiable and which are non-negotiable.

4. We discovered that change can be fun and exciting. Did we wear the same costume year after year? No! We always had so much fun changing up our costumes each year! Some years we wanted to wear something scary and other times we wanted to be silly. Business strategy learned – Always remain open to trying new things.

5. It developed the best kind of team building.  Talks with friends would begin weeks before Halloween and we would reflect on the past year and determine if we should take the same route or try somewhere new. Even with the planning, sometimes construction or bad weather in Chicago would force us to go somewhere different, but we would discuss it and go forward together. Business strategy learned – planning ahead with your colleagues creates greater communication and helps the group remain cohesive when unforeseen situations present themselves.

6. We learned different modes of travel. One year, my friends and I thought we would get more candy in half the time if we trick or treated on rollerskates at a new townhouse community. What we didn’t consider was the row of townhouses we selected had about 10 steps to get to each of the front doors. So the time we spent trying to carefully go up and then back down the stairs slowed us down to such an extent that we ultimately only covered about a third of the neighborhood. Business strategy learned – Always stop and consider the best mode of transportation to reach your clients.

7. SHOUT LOUDLY TO THE WORLD!! Never be afraid to be proud and tell people what you want!  We never quietly said ‘trick-or-treat’ but rather we shouted ‘TRICK-OR-TREAT!’ Business strategy learned – Let the world know what you want, by networking, continuing to reach out to your clients, etc.

8. Take time to enjoy the results of your hard work with your friends and family. In looking back on trick-or-treating, my favorite memories are the ones of coming home and sitting with my sisters and sorting out and trading our candy. Business strategy learned – Surrounding oneself with loved ones at the end of the workday is the best kind of success.

Happy Halloween from Chef Linda & L’s Kitchen!!!