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dan sullivan unique ability 10x

How To Get An Unfair Advantage In Your Entrepreneurial Business (8 Actionable Steps And Download)

For 40 years, Dan Sullivan has worked with over 6,000 entrepreneurs and have over 10,000 members in his strategic coach network.

dan sullivan 10x multiplier author pictureHe defines unfair advantage as a new and successful way of thinking, communicating and achieving things that can not be claimed or achieved by anybody else, and especially direct competitors.

Most business owners ALREADY have an unfair advantage, but…

The key question is this: “do they actually take action on it”? Most don’t – and that’s the main issue. This is a principle of unfair advantage and is key to all success in business.

Let’s break it down, and we’ll share the 8 unfair advantage principles in this post. (Live-blogged from a recent webcast with Dan)

There are 7 billion people on the planet. But, only a group of people – the entrepreneurs – are the ones that can take advantage of this. They see that they can do it. They can become successful and profitable.

They have figured out a way to capture the raw talents from within themselves, not “outside”. They have belief systems or structures that others don’t seem to have.

The “10x” model becomes a way of life. They don’t think about “doubling” their business, but almost easier to go “10 times”.

The doubling of business is almost a loser’s mindset. The 10x thinking creates a different way of approaching business. Teams, clients, markets will support 10x, but the focus is too small. At it’s core, you just have to make a decision. The small choices can make big breakthroughs.

The model developed by Dan starts with “UA” (see diagram below). The model works for Entrepreneurs and other businesses, B2B, professional services.

Unique Ability (UA)

It all centers around Unique Ability, central to Dan’s philosophy on business after 40 years of working.

The passion is what starts it all. Staying true to this passion is key. Whether you’re young or old (Dan has clients in their 80’s) – what you love doing is central.

Don’t like at yourself. Look at the exterior. Become extremely helpful, and help clients transform their capabilities. This could be through a product, service or process. You should be seen as a hero, a long-term partner.  The staying power should not be undermined.

Plus, you get paid for your expertise.   Give a lot of thought to how you can improve your revenue stream. Artists may be great at their craft, but forget to monetize. They may not be good at it, or they may feel “bad” about charging for it.

You therefore are able to operate in an exponential world, instead of an incremental world (more common).

Organizing the future of your company changes very radically by the 10x model. It changes the value proposition in the market place. It changes the people who writes your checks. However, if you think about this every day for the next 365 days, eventually, this will be a “normal thought” for you.

There are obstacles of course. The passion is not enough, they say. Well, what if you could? What if you eliminate everything that is not a multiplier? They might say: “my business doesn’t allow for that”. How about you making that change for your industry, and be the first?

Being an entrepreneur in the Unfair Advantage Model:

1. how you organize yourself as an individual (unique ability with you, left side)

2. think about yourself as an organization – and that gets bigger and better (unique ability with your organization, right side)

Big leaps?

No. Just a series of decisions of time, money, skills and opportunities that are available to you. It’s really simple. For the rest of your life, and a lot longer than you think – “10x decision making”. Look at schedule. What enforces my UA personally? What provides UA at the organizational level? You decide what’s taking your forward – or not.

What are some examples of people who have used this 10x thinking, and propelled them forward?

1. One of the participants has an online service, connects high-school students with universities. Kinda’ like eHarmony. There are 1,500 private universities in the USA. They are looking for particulars, and he provides the ‘match-making’. Last year he was responsible for 50% of the freshmen in the USA, pretty tremendous.

2. Another started as a valet parking service. He noticed some cars parked better than others. He asked if he could clean the cars, and pretty soon – was asked if he could clean their airplanes (private jets). The cleaning services grew and is the most unique and private jet cleaning services in the world. Dealing with the most expensive private jets, and 16 locations.

These folks went day-by-day and become more capable, attracted other people into their business and grew. The radical thought is actually the future WITHOUT the unique ability. Most people would say “sure”, day-by-day, heard that before. The key is the UA focus, however.

Here are the 8 things you can think about and implement going forward. Consider these your steps to a new way to business improvement.

1. Teamwork

Everyone is focused on Unique Ability – with YOU in the center. Find people who want to work with things they love, and with your WHY (vision) clear at the top. No matter the size of the company, this will be key to long term success.

2. Self-Managing

Everyone operates in a simple, fast, easy, self-managing process. Everything starts with the UA. And, over time – the whole company becomes self-managing. Most entrepreneurs wants to manage the future, not the past, not today. Entrepreneurs like the “make-up” game. They don’t want to manage that. They need people to take existing things and move it to new levels. Each person and process has a UA profile that make up a self-managed organization. As you grow, the business almost becomes even simpler, not more complex. Consider using “UA” as operating and “10x” as the framework…what if everything got simpler and simpler? The compensation should be BIG and exciting, and they can work within their passion. Moral and motivation drives itself.

3. Productivity

Every activity becomes 10x more productive.  Each task or activity can be broken down into a process or methods. You can zero in on each function that produces results for your clientele.  Your backoffice or backstage is where you can really improve. Take any function, and work with your team. You can identify and address this in 20-30 minutes. “These 8 steps take too long”: Sit down, and make changes to do it in “6 steps”, for example. Everybody gets incredibly responsible. The business owner doesn’t have to know about all these details. They take more ownership, and self-police it.

4. Profitability

Transformed clientele become 10x more profitable. You want clients and customers who also think in the “10x” mindset. You have to be one, to attract these, however. They all of a sudden start appearing. Interestingly, they don’t care about price. They think about ROI, not costs – it’s in terms of “investments”.  Their mode of thinking is different, and will match yours. But, this is not everybody you can do this with.

5. Rejuvenation

You dramatically increase the quantity and quality of your Free Days. To continue to be excited in your 40,50,60’s and beyond, you must be working in a UA environment that supports your vision. The work doesn’t become tiring, it almost rejuvenates you. Taking time off is important. Get into sprint-and-relaxation modes. Take a 1 week vacation (completely off) every 6 weeks. (could you do it?). This is where you can get your million-dollar ideas and become extremely empowered and refreshed. Setting up your business to not be there all the time is a valued asset. Your staff should not be able to easily get a hold of you. They have to make decisions from the UA model. There is no chance for second-guessing, but constant learning is important. If things do go left, break it down, learn from it and continue. Really take time to disconnect and take the Free Days. It reinforces the self-managing concept, and you come back with a highly creative, rejuvenated and excited mind with new values your team and company can provide. Entrepreneurs are leaders, not managers – and need the creative breaks. “Get paid to take breaks”. Think about it.  Losing your WHY and not getting rejuvenated will make your business boring, and you’ll not be maximizing on all your knowledge. You think about “retirement” and start losing your spirit. A healthy, inspired business owner at 60 years old, will be even more inspired at 80, following these principles.

6. Differentiation

You create 10x bigger solutions with no competition. Instead of looking at the competitors, and copying the market, change that. Ask: Who are my best clients and customers, and what does their future look like? How can I innovate and do things for them to achieve 10 times their success instead? Think intensely about these things instead.

7. Innovation

Everyone creates new concepts, tools and processes. However, the big thing here is that you don’t have to pay too much attention to it. Pick your 5 best clients. Have a conversation with them. Can I ask you some questions. If we have this discussion in 3 years from now. What has to have happened to feel like you had great progress? The answers would surprise you, and make things a lot clearer. And, you would differentiate yourself from anybody else that you work with. That’s almost an innovation in itself – somebody they can talk to about future states.  The universities talk about competition and what everybody knows. It’s not unique. The entrepreneurial world is different from the corporate world. The team and the owner, clientele makes it unique and you’ll separate yourself. Innovation comes from the talent pool also, and have everyone feel like rewarded. Everyone can partake in the innovation.

8. Longevity

You continually extend your creative and productive work life. Retirement is a word that is dying out, and the concept is old (over a century old). The reason is that back then (industrialization) where they weren’t allowed to use the UA. They couldn’t expand their teams. It wore them out. No intellectual stimulation. The reward was that if you can stay with the organization, then you’ll get a reward at the end. It was a nice jump at the time. But now, in the 21st century – it’s a function built around UA. All the high-tech superstars (Jobs, Bezos, etc) – people instinctively know that this the model of the times. The cultural, economical, political model of our planet. In breakthroughs in healthcare, medicine, you’ll be active in your 80’s and 90’s. If this is true, then the passion, hero, organization experiences at 10x, well, you will not want to get out of the game.

HOW can you take advantage of this for yourself? There is a program available, broken down as such:

1. Four one-day sessions per year at 90-day intervals

2. Hundreds of unique multiplier concepts, tools, systems

3. Coached by one of the 15 successful entrepreneurs

4. Mid-quarter support and updates

5. Access to specialized programs for team members, spouse and children

The program is running 365 days of the year, and in online forums, website, booster sessions and lots of resources accessible 24×7.

Pricing for February 22, 2013, Los Angeles, CA – $7,900.

Call 1-800-387-3206 or

Download the Unfair Advantage Framework (PDF, opens in new window)


Chaosmap has online marketing, coaching and training available for those who are more ‘marketing centric’.