As Fall approaches and wonderful smells of fire pits and baking start to fill the air it brings to life images and taste memories of all sorts of food. For Barbecueing and smoking meats just as with turkey and dressing later on, everyone has their special recipes. Many chefs or grillers have their own “secret sauce” that makes their food memorable adn truly unique. This begs the question…what is your “secret sauce” for your company? What is the thing you do that sets your business apart from all othres at least in your area if at all. During a recent new service training I was asked to provide this and it took me longer to think about it then I anticipated. My company, JKL Works ,has amazing products and services which are geared to bring customers ready to buy which we bring to bare for our customers every day. In fact, helping small and service businesses inspires us because we were, and are, one of them. We ahve tools second to none, yet it took me a little while to determine where we stood out.

If you don’t have this answer already, you should spend some time over the next days and weeks seeking it. While this should not paralyze you or prevent you from doing the work your customers need, knowing what your secret sauce is and putting it into action will dramatically increase your drive to succeed and help your company to stand out in a crowd. We as humans work so much better when we have a purpose to live for and work toward. Such is the theme of author Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Life.

Here are some secret sauce examples you may be aware of and others you might not, yet. The McDonald’s Big Mac “special sauce” is 1,000 Island Dressing. Chick Fil-A says 80% of what they do is being done by every other fast food place. Yet the 20% remaining makes all the difference. We believe this is the way they scale to deal with larger groups of people through excellent customer service but not totally sure. Finally, a Texas-based group of convinience stores called Buc-ees has the best solution by far to help them stand out. Though going through a Buc-ees store is a cultural experience with food and gifts everywhere of all shapes and sizes, the real reason for their sucess is the restrooms. Early on Buc-ees discovered that if you have clean, available restooms you will attract people in droves so they do. Restrooms are cleaned once per hour or so, the food and snacks are terrific, and shoppers buy everything from Buc-ees merchandise of all sizes to grills and porch swings outside.

Unfortunately, there is no secret sauce to discover your secret sauce. It takes time and dedicated thought or the discovery of a purpose that drives your purpose. See what others in your industry do, ask trusted friends or even customers about what sets your business apart. Consider tying proceeds to a cause which is important to you as Firehouse Subs and MOD Pizza restaurants do. The possibilities are numerous but in the end it has to be something reflective of you or your company culture…even for a small business. Perhaps write down five to ten things which make your company special. Then narrow down that list until you reach the true one and figure out how to enhance it. You will find that once you have the one stand-out it becomes strangely motivating and energizing to turn it into actionable items to make your business great.

If we can help discover this simple yet profound difference for your company we would be honored to help you think through it. Oh, and ours is empowering our entire family (including kids) to start and run a successful business which may include supporting organizations like “Lemonade Day” and others.

Secret Sauce
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