Learning from Chef Gordon Ramsey – Focus on the basics first.

Posted December 13, 2008 in

I love to cook.  I don’t mean every day cooking like meatloaf and such.  I mean elaborate meals for all my friends.  4 or 5 course events with entirely home-made food that takes me days to put together.  Along with loving to cook, I love to watch cooking shows. My favorite isn’t so much a “how to cook” show, but more of a how to run a business show with a lot of cooking wrapped into it.  I am glued to the tube when Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmare is on.  My wife and I can’t get enough of Gordon Ramsey and this show.

The premise is simple.  Chief Ramsey goes to a restaurant that is struggling and on the bring of collapse.  In one week he attempts to help the owners of the restaurant turn it into a profitable venture.  Chef Ramsey, between f-bombs and “are you flipping kidding me”‘s, educates the owners and staff on how to run their business and cater to their customers.  It’s a hell of a show and one of the most entertaining hours of TV I think you can find.

While watching this show one night, a thought came to me.  Chef Ramsey isn’t just showing these restauranteurs how to run there business, he is laying down sound business principles.  Not only that, there are some solid lessons to be learned for affiliate managers, affiliates and others in the performance marketing area.  And a blog series was conceived 🙂

So, this is the first in an ongoing series on what we can learn from Chef Gordon Ramsey.

Rule #7 – Don’t try to cook the elaborate stuff if you don’t have any of the basics down.

During one episode, Chef Ramsey showcased Rule #7 – Don’t try to cook elaborate stuff if you don’t have the basics down (paraphrased).  I love this bit of advice and it is good for both affiliate managers and affiliates.  The “chef” in this episode had a menu full of elaborate entries and crazy food combinations.  This guy was trying to cook complex dishes when he couldn’t heat up a pizza.  And it showed in the cash register.  He focused on the fancy before he could cook the simple.  We can learn a lot from this.

Affiliate Managers – Have you been pushing advanced creative options but leaving out start and end dates?   Have you been pushing your datafeed tool but haven’t updated your text links in 2 months?  What about contact info?  Are you expecting affiliates to promote your products and drive sales but you are completely unavailable to your partners?  Do you provide your creative in all the standard sizes?  It helps to look at your program from time to time from the eyes of an outsider to see how it stacks up.  Make sure you aren’t overlooking something simple and important.  (We do an affiliate audit if you need help).  Concentrate on the basics first; product inventory, conversion rates, commission rates, return days, competitive positioning, creative available, contact information, contact methods, information distribution, compliance analysis and more.  Get those down and ensure that you are taking care of those basics (not a comprehensive list) then, and only then, reach beyond that and start doing some of the more advanced affiliate marketing initiatives.

Affiliates – What do you think?  What are the basics that you feel are important to conquer before you go to advanced activities?  I think my post about affiliate applications runs down some of the very basic ones.

I’ve seen too many merchants ignore the basic and fundamental aspects of their programs and expect affiliates to turn up their sales for them.  It just doesn’t happen.  I often tell my sons: “how can I expect you to handle the big things if you can’t handle the small.”  It’s a fitting question.

What are some of the basic things you’ve seen affiliates and affiliate managers miss?

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Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “Learning from Chef Gordon Ramsey – Focus on the basics first.”

  1. I think when it comes down to very basic for me it whether or not I will get paid…..Unfortunately there are many (including some major networks) that delay payments to their affiliates quiet a bit. I am still waiting for the sales I made with a merchant back in July. I admit it was a quick “test” lending page, nevertheless it made a sale and now I am not even sure I want to consider any other programs in that network.After contacting (almost a miracle) the affiliate manager I was simply told that sometimes it takes time to collect the funds from the merchant, but I was assured I will get paid…. back in the end of September.

  2. This article really gives great insights to me (as well as the others). This thing is a general advice to all. I mean, we must all learn the basics of anything before we try to improve or mixed up its capability. Basics are the foundation of every success.

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About the author

  • Jamie Birch

    Jamie Birch


Jamie is the owner and principal of JEBCommerce. His extensive Internet marketing experience includes all facets of online marketing: email, paid search campaigns, customer retention programs, and much more. This wide range of disciplines has enabled Jamie to excel as a business leader and JEBCommerce to realize a great level of success for its clients. Jamie cut his “affiliate marketing teeth” managing affiliate programs for many well known companies before spending several years at Coldwater Creek, a Top 5 nationwide women’s clothing retailer. While at Coldwater Creek, Jamie established and managed affiliate campaigns, email campaigns, and SEO campaigns – an opportunity that allowed him to develop many of the proven processes JEBCommerce successfully employs today. In recognition of his professional leadership, the affiliate marketing industry has consistently nominated him for Annual Pinnacle Awards over the years. In addition to individual accolades, JEBCommerce is gaining momentum within the Internet marketing industry and is experiencing positive, exciting growth. This is a direct result of Jamie’s positive leadership, integrity, and earned respect – from his clients and industry peers. Need a speaker for your next event? I can do that, too!