Lessons learned from fast food
1) Listen to the order and get it right the first time. Super deluxe is fine, but when the guidelines request a small side don't hand out a family pack and then wonder why the complaints.
2) Immediate =/= super awesome great. It may come out fast, but it still needs to be assembled in the right order and wrapped correctly. There is rapid stupidity and then there is quick quality.
3) Ever notice how the fast food workers throw the food out the window at you? No? Then don't do that to the agents and publishers. Put everything in a nice package and hand it to them with plenty of SASE napkins. They'll ask for more if its good...which brings me to
4) Extras. If people didn't order them, they generally didn't want them in the first place. Especially enough acknowledgements, tables of contents and chapter pages to choke an inbox. Don't waste your supplies. Its a tough business.
5) Hand delivery to the side when there is a line of cars behind is nice but if you make it a habit, people won't come back if you can't handle things. If something is expected in two months, don't take two years. They will most likely have driven away-leaving you holding the bag.
6) Adding new items to the menu is good but if a writer of mysteries burns the historical romance, perhaps its better to stick to the tried and true; but maybe with a different spice. Change is natural but don't forget the regular patrons.
7) Location, location, location. You can put your place in the middle of Iowa (*cough*), but if you expect customers from Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, you'd better have something worth traveling.
Before you open, run through your plans, your stock and your service MANY TIMES. See if you can have another big business chief or a fellow small business owner look at your stuff. Ask if they'll think it will sell.
Have a trial opening. If your friends and family say they'll come back, make sure they'll bring other consumers. One cannot survive on opinions, but many eyes can see small flaws.
8) Designing a new product can be difficult. Take your time and make it a quality item. If your testers (see 7) like it, try a few variations. See if you can consistenly deliver in several flavors. Show that no matter the colors, its recognizably yours. People like consistency.
I hope someday I'll be able to make a nice McRibwich. It will be my recipe, a known (and liked) taste and something people look forward to every spring. And available nearly around the world. Perhaps I'll even be able to offer chicken, salads and ice cream as well.