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Five ways to build a Google-style ‘X factor’ into your business

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 | By Marc Peskett

The X factor is the edge in your business that will give you a significant advantage over your competitors.


The X factor is the sweet spot, where you achieve perfect synergy between what you're passionate about, what you can be best at, and what the market really wants and is willing to pay for.


In his ground-breaking book, Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to this as the ‘hedgehog concept.’


The discovery of your X factor provides you with the clarity and momentum to produce the best long-term results and build a truly awesome business.


You then have the framework to make informed decisions and the power to say no to opportunities that don’t fit with your direction.


All great businesses, large and small, have an X factor. Businesses such as Google and Apple found their X Factor early and now dominate their industries.


In 1998, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page started a business with a deep passion to, in their own words, “change the world”.


They developed a search engine that would organise every piece of information on the web for free.


We now know Google as the most powerful media company in the world. The Google story is a great example of how the passion of the founders, aligned with a huge untapped and emerging market created a truly great business and economic powerhouse.


Whilst Google is one of a kind, small business owners can learn a lot from the likes of Google and Apple and create their own remarkable business.


Here are my five tips to discover and build your X factor.


1. Ask yourself why you went into business


Make a list of what you are really passionate about and what you really want to achieve. I can guarantee it will be more than just to make money. Read Simon Sinek’s book Starting with Why, it will help you discover the driving purpose behind your business.


2. Analyse your strengths and the market opportunities


As a business what are you really good at. Look at where you have achieved the most growth. Is there a particular product or service or market niche that is driving that growth?


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3. Get feedback from your customers


Look for unsolved problems or unmet needs. If you solve those problems or meet those needs will customers pay you? Is there an alternative revenue model such as paid advertising that you can tap into? Look for a match between your key strengths and the opportunities.


4. Own a segment of the market


Become famous for something. Analyse the market and identify a niche that you can control. Whilst the niche might be small it can be used as a springboard for future growth.


5. Align your passion


When you have gone through the first four steps look for the alignment with your passion, what you are good at, what market you can own, where the growth opportunities are and what you can get paid for. If there is an alignment, congratulations, you have just started to find your X factor. If there is no alignment keep on looking.


Finding your X factor is an evolving process. It may not happen straight away, so build the discovery process into your planning.


You’ll know that you’re getting closer to your X factor when you align the answers to three pivotal questions:


  • What do you really want to do?
  • What can you be best at?
  • What does the market really want and is willing to pay for?


Answer those three questions honestly and you will see your X factor emerge. Your business will begin to fly and you will start to achieve the reasons why you went into business in the first place.