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An Extraordinary Business, Defined by Numbers

“Extraordinary” is a word that gets thrown around a lot to describe something that may be special, or otherwise interesting. But like many superlatives, its meaning has been watered down through overuse. There’s something special about being extraordinary, though. Something not inherent to many other similar adjectives.

What makes something extraordinary? Or ordinary for that matter? And why should you want to have an extraordinary business? Let’s learn.

Dissecting the Roots of Extraordinary

Speaking etymologically, to be ordinary is to possess qualities related to the ordinal scale. That is, something ordinary falls in line with what you expect. Think of ordinal numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5, etc. Ordinary is good. Ordinary does what’s necessary. Ordinary doesn’t attract attention, but it gets the job done.

Following from that, something extraordinary stands out from that ordinal scale. It literally breaks from the spectrum. In data analysis you might think of it as an outlier. Extraordinary is by definition uncommon and unrivaled, since it can only be measured by how far away from the ordinary it is. You can’t help but notice the extraordinary, for better or worse.

The Curse of the Extraordinary Business

With all that said, there are two ways to be an extraordinary business. You either fall so far below expectations that you can’t even come up to the baseline of adequacy, or you supersede what’s expected and provide a truly remarkable experience. Both will make people take notice. Only one will keep people coming back for more.

Of course, an outlier when factored into the average does have an effect on all ordinary data points. It will raise or lower the mean, so over time your extraordinary business becomes more and more ordinary. How do you combat this? Always try to outdo yourself and provide an extraordinary experience.

In reality, to run an extraordinary business is to constantly strive to attain a product or service that defines the class of the industry. What was once special can become routine very quickly. As your competitors try to creep closer, you have to maintain your distance to retain your position as an extraordinary outlier. Continue to find new ways to improve on what you do. The business that can do that truly is extraordinary, for it’s harder than it sounds.

So if you want an extraordinary business, you have to commit to it. Start by asking yourself a few questions. What defines an ordinary business in my industry? What am I doing differently than anyone else? Do my customers notice the difference? How easily can it be copied? What else can I do that’s special?

Don’t get me wrong; you can do very well with an ordinary business. You’ll blend into the background and make the same money as your competitors. It’s not bad, it’s just average. But don’t you want to try to be extraordinary?

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