Fried rice is the perfect food. There are so many ways to make it and it’s always delicious. In this catch-all dish, you can use what ingredients you have, leftovers or fresh. My spoon can’t scoop fast enough when I finish cooking a well-made fried rice.
Making great fried rice sounds easy and spontaneous but it takes skill and technique, preparation and timing to do it right.
Like making a delicious wok full of fried rice, your business needs great planning and ingredients in the right proportions and sequence. Here’s a recipe to get you there.
Think Like a Chef: Start with the End in Mind
Great outcomes start with preparedness! Before you start cooking, you know what dinner is going to be. Same with business goals: start with the end in mind.
Identify what success looks like. What do you want to build? Is your goal to grow market share, hire top talent, double sales?
What Resources Do You Have?
What’s in the fridge? In cooking and business, start with an audit. You need to know what you have:
By finding answers to these and many other questions, I help clients define what needs to be done to lift their enterprise to the next level then I equip them with the tools to serve up success. Like a sous chef, I work shoulder-to-shoulder with my clients to create a strategic plan and a detailed plan to implement it.
Plan and Prepare
To make great fried rice, you have to use cold, day-old rice so there’s not too much moisture left in the rice when you fry it. If you are cooking fried rice on Friday, make your rice on Thursday. I shouldn’t have to convince you of the importance of planning ahead in business. Think ahead for the best outcomes!
What tools do you need and when? For example, you may need to ramp up marketing or beef up your sales team before a product launch, just like you have to precook carrots so they aren’t too crunchy when your onions are ready.
What do you have to work with? Before I start cooking, I assemble all of the possible ingredients. How can you make a killer dish – or strategic plan – without knowing all of your available resources?
In business, start with people first. Evaluate your team’s skills. Be sure you have the right people performing in the ideal roles. Don’t expect an onion to do what carrots do!
Assess and Adapt
You’ve got a plan and things are revving in the kitchen. Stay on top of things. All chefs do taste tests. So should business leaders.
Never assume you can walk away from the kitchen and things will be just fine. Pay attention to the many influences on outcomes so you don’t get burned.
Assess and adapt as needed. As you go, you’ll want to season and taste test your recipe – and your strategic plan – so that you know how things are progressing. I personally prefer to deglaze the vegetables with mirin (similar to sake, but has more sugar and less alcohol content) before adding the rice. I also like seasoning with some sesame oil and soy sauce near the end. Then I taste and may add more.
Your venture needs a comparable check in process. As COVID-19 taught us, we have to adapt to circumstances to survive and thrive. When the stove top is too hot, you have to take your pot off the burner and let it sit for a while. Sometimes you have to simmer on an idea until it’s just right. You may need to bring things to a boil and stir things up to make your company do better!
Good cooking and business management hinges on watching trends and adapting to conditions. Be nimble and willing to adjust your plan!
Balance and Diversity
Like fried rice, staffing needs diversity and skills balance to be excellent!
You may need to grow your team, or reassign people, even let some go. (Do you REALLY want to add liver to your fried rice just because you have some leftover?! No!) Having a great team composition is by far the most important and underrated tool in your kit.
Without the proper combination of flavors, the fried rice is quickly out of balance. Taste test – assess – your team skills so you progress toward your goals. This can be a challenge; let me know if I can help you avoid a recipe for disaster when it comes to staff changes.
Ready to Serve
At the dinner table, before you taste a dish, you see and smell it. All of your senses are at play! It’s a big part of the dining experience. Dish appearance and appeal is like effective, targeted marketing. Hopefully your clients will want seconds!
Make a point of having your technical and planning teams work with the marketing and sales teams. The better the servers (sales and marketing) understand the dish, the better they are at answering diners’ questions or recommending what’s best on the menu!
When you serve fried rice, it helps to pack it into a bowl so it forms an elegant bowl shape on the plate (MUCH better than served as a blob or pile!). Shape your marketing messages for optimal appeal.
Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Are you cooking for two or catering a 500-person event? Know your channel strategy.
To reach (serve) your guests (clients) you should know what they want. Your channel strategy should factor in customers’ habits and how to reach them to invite them to the table. This plan should be flavored with considerations like market competitors, costs and growth capacity. Your fried rice may need a little like wine, kimchi or sriracha to make the dish stand out. Spice things up!
How is Everything?
Get user feedback! We have all had a waiter come by just a few minutes after serving us to ask, “How is everything?”
When you launch a new business plan or product, ask your customers, “How is everything?” Track the feedback. Make margin notes in your “cookbook.” Share documents with your teams to track ideas, feedback and progress.
Retrospective helps us do better next time:
No matter what stage of development your company or product is in, it is never too late to improve processes and procedures.
As a business consultant, I am expert at giving advice, whether it is how to fill your sales pipeline, cut costs, staff up or down, and grow or adapt to a changing market. I can also teach you to make really delicious fried rice!
Want to learn more about either or both? Let’s talk!