What is your secret sauce? Is it time to add a new ingredient?

OK, I'll admit it. I can still sing the lyrics to the McDonald's Big Mac commercial: two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. Ta da! Did I get that stuck in your head, too? For McDonald's - and the rest of the kings of fast service restaurants - the key to success is consistent, quality delivery. You get what you ordered, what you are familiar with, whether you order a Big Mac in Big Sky, Montana, or in the Big Apple. That's why, on any given day in the US, one-fifth of the population eats fast food. If your business is following a consistency model like McDonald's, now's the time for extreme quality control. No slips, no skimps and you'll keep your customers coming back for more.

But what if your business is based on unique products or specialized services? Maybe now is the perfect time to mix up that secret sauce. (Another way to say CHANGE is good.) If you're a clothing retailer and you've broadened into too many lines, cut back and refocus on your core strengths. Tap into your emotional intelligence and let go of the fear. You can do this.

If you're in a service industry - say homestaging or wardrobe consulting or running a yoga studio or financial services - it's imperative to treat each and every existing customer like she is the most important. Cut back on your advertising focused on new client attraction and spend those dollars keeping your existing customers as raving fans. What could you do for your existing customer today?
It's tough out there. It breaks my heart to see small businesses struggling, across the country. You can make it through this. Remember, hurdles are for jumping and being open to change - especially if you've lost sight of your primary business strengths or products - will make sure you're still standing when the brighter days arrive.

And, you'll be stronger than ever, as long as you remember your secret sauce!