Marie Kondo has an X factor.
Image via Flickr / RISE
As the author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and the soft-spoken star of Netflix's "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo," Kondo brings more than home organization to the table. Her clients know they won’t feel shame or embarrassment in the process of tidying up, but instead, have some big a-ha moments about what's really important to them.
Kondo realizes that getting organized can create “life-changing magic” and “spark joy,” which are much more compelling and inspiring concepts than "clean out your closet.” Doesn’t sound quite as transformational, right?
What is an X factor?
Your X factor is what sets you apart from your competition. A well-defined X factor helps clients see what you do and how it will benefit them in a specific way. For Kondo, she makes cleaning up and getting rid of junk fun and transformative.
You might also see it referred to as a Unique Value Proposition or Unique Selling Proposition, but we find X factor, much like the hit TV show—and your business offering— far more compelling!
Benefits of knowing your X factor
Most large brands have X factors that you can probably easily identify. For instance, Toms (casual, comfortable shoes with a social impact), or services like Amazon Prime (get anything in one day). But small service businesses can also benefit from defining and clearly communicating their uniqueness and in turn, capture the attention of their ideal customer.
When you’re clear with potential customers about exactly what you do and why it’s so valuable, you’re connecting the dots for them.
For instance, when starting Pepperlane, we did hundreds of interviews and found that when moms look to work more on their terms, they are met with skeptical HR departments, deceptive get-rich-quick schemes, and networking groups that act as therapy sessions.
In contrast, at Pepperlane we focus on empathy and action. We’re developed for moms by moms, and provide simple tools to get moms started, a proven step-by-step method to help them progress, and a marketplace to showcase their talents. With Pepperlane’s help, moms build a business for themselves but not by themselves.
Photo Credit: Katie Bourgeois
By getting specific about our offering we were better able to define the unique value we bring to our members and also describe it in a way that is relatable.
Now that you know you need this strong differentiator, how do you figure out what the heck yours is? Start by taking some time to ask yourself these six questions to help you (which we’ve modified from famed speaker and business coach Tony Robbins).
- Why did you go into business? What are the passions and achievements you envisioned?
- What makes your offering stand out?
- What do your customers really want? What are they willing to pay for?
- What is your business great at?
- What makes you stand out as an individual?
- How does your X factor benefit your customers?
Hopefully, after completing this list you’re able to identify the intersection of your passion and your ability, and can better clarify what it is that makes you unique.
For example, maybe you realized that your client’s problem is that they don’t have time to cook healthy meals for their family during busy weeks. Your solution is to create easy to reheat meals that are also healthy and filling. You’re also a health coach so you’re sensitive to and knowledgeable about creating meals for specific dietary preferences like Paleo or Keto. Boom! That’s your X factor.
Remember that this is an ongoing process, so if you didn’t have this lightbulb, a-ha moment right away, that’s okay. Give yourself time to think about how these components fit together.
Ask yourself a few more questions:
- Are you standing out because of a certain skill you have?
- How does your personality play into it?
- Do you do something for each of your clients or customer to go above and beyond?
Important tip: never make lower prices your X factor. Competing on price is a race to the bottom, and it hurts everyone in your industry, especially you.
Customer feedback is key!
Now that you’ve answered the questions above and have a better sense of what sets you and your business apart, there’s one more thing to consider…
How are your passions and skills matching up with the needs of your customer?
Pepperlane Fall Conference 2018
Your X factor is not just about what you do best, but also how you serve your customers and solve their problems. Ask yourself, “how did I fix my clients problems and were the problems I identified the problems they actually needed solved?” The best way to uncover these answers is through customer feedback.
As soon as you’ve completed work with a client, send them a quick survey or email with a few questions about what went well, what could’ve been improved, and a place to gather additional feedback, which is where you’re likely to gather the real gold!.
When you delight your clients, even in the smallest ways, you’re likely to create repeat customers and referrals galore, while further defining your X factor! A total win-win.
Get specific on who you serve
Sometimes your X factor is doing something very specific or for a very specific group of people. Take for example a fitness coach that specializes in helping moms heal their core (diastasis recti) after pregnancy, or a photographer who only shoots eloping couples.
Crafting an offer that only appeals to a (relatively) small subset of people can feel scary, especially if your client base isn’t building as quickly as you’d hoped. But, a smaller, more specific niche can be just as successful as a large one.
For example, when an eloping couple is looking for photographers, they’ll see that there is a particular photographer who knows exactly what they need, versus someone who shoots standard weddings. This is how you stand out in a wide and deep field. Further, other photographers will refer you to clients that may not be a good fit for them, but perfect for what you do.
Put it into action
#1SimpleAct: take a stab at unlocking your X factor based on where you are today. It won’t take long. Just take ten minutes to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and honestly answer the questions posed above, while also taking into account any client feedback that you’ve received.
Discovering your X factor is an ongoing process and will shift as your business goes through changes. Don’t be hard on yourself or feel like you need to have all these answers before you start. As always, it’s all about taking simple steps to move yourself forward day-by-day.
Looking for real-time feedback on your X factor or other business building advice? Join us for a free Boost session where you can bring your latest challenge to a 90-minute group call. You’ll get input and guidance from other smart, motivated business owners and a skilled facilitator. Make useful connections and walk away with new energy to get stuff done.