Don’t be a turkey: Focus on small business success.

Susan Says:  Sometimes what appears to be a failure at first glance, can turn out to turkeybe a success.  Everything depends on your perspective.

Today is Thanksgiving and people all across the U.S. are stuffing themselves with turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. It’s tradition. At my house, my husband is in charge of cooking the turkey while I do all the rest.  Our strategy is to cook the turkey the day before, slice it and then warm it before dinner the following day.

A few years ago, my husband, who takes great pride in his turkey cooking skills, carefully prepared our bird and slid it into the oven.  When the timer told us it was done, we couldn’t wait to see our succulent, plump turkey emerge.  Much to our dismay, the turkey looked more like an anorexic pigeon.  Instead of a golden brown breast on top, there was very little meat to be seen and lots of bones.

Panicked, I immediately went into scramble mode.  How could I get another turkey at this late date to feed all our guests?  Trying to identify the most expedient way out of this situation, I called our neighborhood grocer that had advertised fully-cooked Thanksgiving dinners.

“Could you possibly prepare a turkey for me, large enough to feed 24 people before you close tonight,” I asked.

Thankfully, the answer was “yes”, so now I knew Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t wind up being hot dogs and burgers which was about the only alternative I had in my house.

Next, I told my husband he should take that darn bird back to the store where we bought it and show them what a defective product they had pawned off on us. So he loaded the turkey, still in the roasting pan, in the car and away he went.  At the store, he was directed to speak to the manager of the meat department.

My husband explained the situation to the manager and then unveiled the evidence. With one quick look, the manager explained we had simply cooked the turkey upside down. Then he went on to note that cooking a turkey upside down actually makes it moister.

Red faced, my husband brought the bird back home and it truly was delicious.  Of course, having ordered more turkey we had enough to feed an army the next day.

The moral of this story is, as you are feasting with family and friends today, remember that sometimes what appears to be a disaster in your business, could be a huge success if you look at it from a difference perspective.

There are myriad stories of products you enjoy everyday, that were originally considered mistakes or failures, until someone took a different viewpoint.  For example, if you’ve ever visited the predominantly Italian neighborhood known as The Hill in St. Louis, MO, you may have enjoyed toasted ravioli at one of the many Italian restaurants located there. This culinary delight was stumbled upon when a ravioli was accidentally dropped into a fryer.  Legend has it that Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Joe Garagiola was the first to taste this “mistake”.  It was a hit and soon became a staple on menus throughout The Hill.

So the next time you find yourself in a panic mode, stop and think about my turkey.  Is there another way to look at the situation?  Is there a way to create a new opportunity from an accident?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  Enjoy your turkey, however you cooked it. Personally, I’m eating out this year.