Written on March 3, 2011 at 8:03 am, by Steve Strauss
Great businesses might have many things in common – a great product or service, smart people running the organization, an excellent location – it could be all sorts of different things.
But I would say that one thing all great businesses share is that they have one unique thing that sets them apart from the crowd and makes them special.
Great businesses all have their own unique X factor (and no, we are not talking about Simon Cowell’s new show).
Take a look around this site and you will see what I mean. My friends at Concur seem to have cornered the market with regard to easily and affordably managing and tracking expenses. They do it better than anyone else. It’s their X Factor.
Here’s a small business example:
Not long ago I went on vacation in Mexico. We stayed in an idyllic, little fishing village on the Pacific coast where the locals were great, the beach was perfect and the vibe was just right. And every morning I went to the same place and had huevos rancheros for breakfast. But that is not the only reason I went there. Part of it was the great staff, and part of it was the fantastic view of the beach. But even those were not the main reasons I went there daily.
The main reason was free Wi-Fi.
An Internet connection was hard to find in that little town, but that taqueria had one. It kept me coming back for more. Free Wi-Fi in a town that otherwise didn’t have it was their X Factor.
If you think about it, I bet that the businesses that you frequent time and again offer something special and unique – something out of the ordinary. It could be free Wi-Fi, the best burrito in town, or a price cheaper than anywhere else. They have some X Factor.
There is a bookstore in Portland Oregon called Powell’s City of Books. It takes up a full city block, is four stories high, and sells new and used copies of the same books right next to each other. Some call it the greatest bookstore in the world, and it all adds up to quite an X factor.
In Los Angeles, there is a great sushi bar that plays nothing but reggae music. I don’t know the name of it because the only thing people call it is “Reggae Sushi.” Again, a unique X factor.
In Erie, PA, Pioneer Pharmacy is the most popular pharmacy in town. When I asked the owner what the secret of his success was, he told me about his great staff, loyal customers, and the like. But then he mentioned his X Factor: Free delivery. Every day he has two full-time drivers who do nothing but deliver prescriptions to his customers – for free. Another great X factor.
If you want to succeed in business, especially today, think about and cultivate your X factor. It makes all the difference.