Business Lessons from Making Thanksgiving Dinner

Since it is Thanksgiving, I want to express my appreciation to my clients and those who support my career. There are many reasons for being thankful.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a great excuse to make a huge dinner of comfort food and then enjoy it for the weekend. Add in friends and family and what is not to love?
Since my mind is on turkey dinner and business at the same time, I thought it would be fun to share business lessons that can be gleaned from preparing thanksgiving dinner.
1) Look at the big picture and plan accordingly. Thanksgiving dinner requires a lot of thought to have all the dishes ready at the same time. It’s a killer to make thanksgiving dinner in one day, so stagger the work. For projects, start backwards with the desired goals and make a schedule.
2) Know Your Audience. Just like it is important to know the preferences of guests, make sure you know those of your customers.
3) Turkey, like great content, should not be wasted but re-purposed. When investing in a large editorial project, thought piece or a series of brochures and web text, think of other vehicles to feed content. In the same way, instead of trying to eat a bunch of turkey in a couple days, cube some and freeze in one cup portions for future meals. I have used cubed turkey for burritos, stews and any dish that calls for chicken. Don’t forget to have some onion, carrot and celery available to boil the carcass to make a freezable soup base.
The same is true for repurposing content. Don’t throw away the editorial content that ends up on the cutting room floor because it might be useable for future projects. Another tip: brine the turkey overnight for moistness and better flavor.
Making thanksgiving dinner is a creative process just like making business plans, marketing plans and value propositions.
4) Know where it is worth it to cut corners. Why serve a can of cranberry sauce when you can easily make it by boiling cranberries, water and sugar and even add your own special touch of orange zest? It does not take long and the results are worth it.
5) Know where to cut corners. Making homemade pie crust is a pain. When I am making the dinner, I buy pre-made refrigerated crust for pie.
6) Be flexible. Some customers want material online and others in print. Some of my crowd wants sweet potatoes with marshmallows and others, candied walnuts. My dish will have half of each.
7) Don’t be afraid to try something new. This year, I am making shredded brussels sprouts and red swiss chard. It’s healthy and has that holiday look of green and red. In the same way, challenge yourself to try something new, like initiating or optimizing your social media opportunities.
8) Be smart with stuffing or it can turn deadly. Chances are less so when you’ve done your homework. And, yes, you can still stuff a turkey without worries of semolina poisoning. Make your stuffing of choice the night before so it will be stuffed in the turkey at refridgerator temperature.
9) Get by with a little help from your friends. Accept dishes from guests, but make sure they are not essential to the meal in case plans fall through.
10) Have fun and enjoy! Making thanksgiving dinner is a creative process just like making business plans, marketing plans and value propositions. Make sure everyone has a seat at the table and brainstorm away!
Happy Thanksgiving!