The 10X Factor

So you’re launching a new business.  Or pitching to a new potential client.  Or trying to snag that promotion.  What will it take to bring home the win in today’s hyper-competitive environment?

You need to be better by a factor of ten.

Breaking through inertia to disrupt the status quo can feel more daunting than a swim across the English Channel.  In order to achieve at the highest levels, you’ll need to do something so compelling, so remarkable, and so brash, that it simply can’t be ignored.

As a consumer, you already have a “solution” to many things in your life.  You have a life insurance solution, an orange juice solution, and a favorite burger joint solution.  Sticking to these familiar patterns is safe and easy.  You don’t have to think much, allowing you to focus on the zillion other things happening in your life.  There has to be a juicy reward to entice you to buy a new digital camera, shun your favorite grocery store, or switch lite beers.

If you’re on the other side – selling instead of buying – you need to realize just how much force is needed to shake things up.   Your new mobile app that is only slightly better than the market leader isn’t going to be enough for you to reach the Promised Land.  It’s going to take a sonic boom of innovation to grab attention.

As a venture capitalist, I hear startup pitches every day.  When deciding which ones to back, we ask ourselves, “Does this new solution solve a customer problem ten times better than the current market leader?”  Unless you are bringing a profound improvement to market, going head to head with a giant that has deep resources, a substantial customer-base, and market leading brand equity is a surefire path to doom.  To bust through startup gravity and slay those dragons, you’ll need something that will truly draw a “wow.”

Is your sales pitch 10X better than your competitors’?  Is your theater performance 10X stronger than the others auditioning for the same part?  Is the software code you just wrote 10X better than last year’s version?

If you want to remove chance and luck from the outcomes in your life, focus on the 10X factor.  If you shoot for 10X, you’ll still win consistently even if you fall a bit short or hit an unexpected speed bump.  The ones that set records, make history, and change the world embrace the factor of ten.  It’s time for you to do the same.