Your business will fail in 2012 unless you do this

This will shock you. To succeed in business in 2012 and beyond, you have to do something dramatically different. Do this, and grow. Don’t do it, and die. Seriously- this is serious. It’s all about the ‘X Factor’. Here’s why, and here’s what to do about it.

The three traditional ‘must haves’ for businesses and individuals to succeed today are no longer enough. And in 2012, with the acceleration of change everywhere, this will be more true than ever before. To succeed, we now must also have one extra, all powerful attribute without which we will not reach our full potential. This is what it is, and how to get it.

At a conference in the Hunter Valley near Sydney, the dinner speaker knocked our socks off. First- because he looked about 12 years old (he was in fact in his mid 20s). Secondly- because of a competitive strategy and reality he shared with us that has been front of mind for me ever since.

This is – broadly- the story Peter Sheahan told that evening.


10 Years Ago- two out of three was good enough

Ten years ago, for businesses to succeed, they had to have two of three things. They had to be good, fast and/or cheap– pick two. (By cheap- this does not mean the lowest price- but the highest perceived value). You could be good and fast- but expensive- and succeed. Or good and cheap, but slow. Or indeed fast and cheap, but not very good. Two out of three was good enough to be in the game and be sustainable.

5 Years Ago- it had to be three out of three

Then about five years ago, just to compete in our business sectors, the game changed. To simply be able to be competitive and hold our own, we had to be good at what we did, fast at getting it done, and cheap (great value) – pick three. We needed all three to be able to survive. Think about your competitive field- true hey?

Today- we have to have the X-Factor too

Today, to get one step ahead and become a leading competitive force, we have to have what Peter Sheahan describes as a 4th Dimension, an X Factor or WOW Factor which differentiates us from the competition.

“Tell me why I should hire your firm,” says the prospect sitting next to you on the plane. “Well,” you reply. “We’re very good blah blah, and very efficient and fast at what we do blah blah, and of course very high value (cheap), but when you hire us, you get something no-one else brings- you get our……(X-Factor).”

What is YOUR X Factor?

What’s the one thing about your firm (or indeed you as a professional) that differentiates you from your competition? The one thing that you can claim as your own?

Sheahan says: “Superficial is everything”– this X-Factor does not have to be profoundly deep. Just have something: something you can claim as YOURS and which you can hold up in lights.

Brainstorm. Give it a go. Is it technology? Client service? Creativity? Specialisation? Influence? Connections? Industry knowledge? Proven track record? Unrivalled client list? Ability to inspire? Talent magnet? Unique IP?

Just find something. Build it. Polish it. You have to be Good, Fast and Cheap (high perceived value) – and you MUST today also have a differentiating 4th Dimension: a “WOW” factor that sets you apart.  Go find one now. And claim it, loudly, as yours alone.


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3 Responses to Your business will fail in 2012 unless you do this

  1. Andy Price January 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Soooo true ! In a business world where quality,speed and good value are attainable more easily than ever, our main fear should be commoditization, see what has happened to mobile phone pricing around the world.

    Unless we can provide this X Factor we end up selling a commodity.

    Today this differentiator has to be AUTHENTICITY, a set of beliefs and values that match those of the client/customer, only then will a real , long-term, mutually beneficial relationship be forged.

    • Chris Savage January 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      Thanks Andy!

  2. Elliot Clifford January 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Amen brother!

    Our favourite question to ask our clients when we take on their copywriting and company blog duties is:

    ‘Should you be swearing?’

    It shocks them, suddenly they’re wide awake. They’re actually thinking about the power of language and the risks of being bland.

    Now swearing in your website copy, or your blogs and tweets is not appropriate for everyone – but for those who it is, it’s a tiny little tweak to their content that can have a huge impact. One strategically placed ‘s***’ or ‘f***’ can mean the difference between making a connection with the audience, or losing them altogether.

    The act of asking this shows that we’re not wanting to follow a safe, traditional cookie-cutter approach.

    So yeah, your X-Factor – the thing that they don’t see coming and end up loving to death. We’re with you all the way.

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