There is no “Secret Sauce”

In the recipe for entrepreneurial success one comes across an oft used phrase: “secret sauce.” Venture Capitalists talk about it, in fact they look for it. When we were fund hunting, we were asked about it…. hell I even wrote a post about it.

It even came up last week in the self-SWOT analysis… and if our meeting notes were ever leaked, you would see that someone said:

“If you can provide your customers with products that are solutions to their problems at affordable price points then you are adding value in a market place. As long as you’re adding value in a market place, you survive. You don’t need sauce, gravy or toppings for that.”

And forget “the recipe”, this is the reality. The real litmus test you should take, or the self-assurance you should seek when designing a “business plan” is: are you adding value to the marketplace? If you are, then you are in the same boat as 37signals, animoto and  Facebook… no secret sauces but real, meaningful value-addition to the marketplace.

No denying secret sauce has its value… odds of achieving success are increased. Secret sauce also helps (to an extent) to answer scalability, makes positioning easy, mitigates competition and exponentially increases profitability (G-O-O-G-L-E). And all factors you will find in those assessment sheets that VCs use to grade your business model.

But the “el dorado”dinian search for the secret sauce should not lead to paralysis. There are other ingredients that also help with increasing the odds in your favor.

Customer-driven development helps.

Short product development cycles help.

A good team definitely helps.

And adding value to the market really helps.

And all of that is scalable as well.

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