A List of Ingredients Doesn’t Make You a Chef

Just because you have a list of ingredients, it doesn’t mean you are a chef.

Recently I gave a keynote speech to an organization called CCH, which is one of the largest providers of tax and accounting software. I gave a speech to 800 different accountants in a big ballroom also in Orlando. It went really well, fantastic. Talked about “Youtility.”

But you know, one of the questions I got at that event is the same question I get anytime I talk to organizations that are in professional services. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, anything along those lines, consultants, ad agencies, they always ask me the same thing, which is, “Jay, if you want us to create all this content and tell people what we know one bite at a time, then our competitors are going to know exactly what our secret sauce is.”

I have the same answer every time, which is, “The sauce that you think is secret is not secret. There is no secret sauce.” Somebody who worked for you at some point is already working for your competitor. Your competitor has probably already posed as a customer of yours, and they already know all your secret sauce.

Instead of worrying about your secret sauce, just worry about creating information that your customers and prospective customers care about. The reality is you probably don’t have any particular proprietary processes. Even if you did, the fact that you wrote a blog post about it here or there does not mean that somebody can piece that all together and replace you or take that to your competition or implement it themselves.

I’ve got to tell you I’ve been a consultant for 20 years, and if somebody’s decision is either (a) I can hire this organization, or (b) I can read their blog and do it myself, folks that’s probably not a client you wanted to begin with. Stop worrying about giving away information and just give away information. It will work. Trust me on that.


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