What’s in the Secret Sauce of Your Small Business?
What comes to mind when we think about secret sauce? There’s the unexpected flavor, adding a kick to any ordinary recipe, and the mystery of the sauce itself. What’s all in it that makes it taste so good? Some of us may wish that we knew so we could duplicate the sauce for ourselves and add it to our own creations, but we know that the inventors will never tell all. They’ll keep the secret safe and leave us all guessing and coming back to them for more.
Every small business has its own secret sauce, even if you don’t realize it. This is that special little touch (or touches) that make what you do stand out from the crowd and give you a leg up over the competition. For the first time ever, we’re revealing some of the ingredients of our secret sauce—some of which you might recognize as part of your own special blend of offerings!
Excellent customer service
This is hardly a secret for most entrepreneurs who will tell you that great customer service is one of the best investments you can make for your business. We recently had one of our customer service reps receive an incredible online review that we passed around for the entire office to read. Part of that was because it was so complimentary about what a great worker he was, but the other reason was that it truly summed up our mission. We want the customer experience to be a positive one that’s a win-win for the customer and the business. If a customer is happy, they’re more likely to return and refer their friends and family through great word of mouth. Our secret sauce approach means hiring devoted team members, assisting customers with a can-do attitude to fulfill all of their needs, and following up for their feedback on the experience so we can learn more about the customer.
Paying attention to the little details
Quite a few businesses already do this, whether it means complimentary samples included with purchase, clever packaging for orders placed in the mail, or even just remembering the name and interests of a particular customer. It’s all in the details. Make sure that you’re asking questions and taking notes on the details surrounding your own customers. This shows that you’re paying attention to their needs and establishing the groundwork for a good working rapport together. If you need a few places to get started, handwrite a personalized thank you note instead of sending an email or highlight a customer’s experience or review via social media or in your company newsletter.
Finding and working with strategic partners
You know what’s better than one like-minded company? Two like-minded companies working together. Seek out and form a strategic partnership with another company that mirrors your values and can provide a service or product for your audience that you cannot—and vice versa. This is a great strategy for not just gaining more customers and credibility, but showing your customer base that you are listening to what they want and are working towards those needs. Partnerships are actually a secret sauce of their own, if you think about it. All of the key ingredients are here including engagement by partners, customer engagement, and a mutual benefit for the parties that works for each company and its customers!
Did we leave out a key ingredient in your startup’s secret sauce? Leave a comment and let us know!