Corporations – Do you have USE?


“USE” is an acronym that our family business gave to express the idea “Unique Something Else”. In the entertainment industry they have a similar expression, namely “the X Factor”, and commerce uses another term “USP” which is the acronym for “Unique Selling Proposition”. There are however differences in the concepts.

If someone has the X factor, it means that the individual has a very unique talent. In Britain there is a very popular music competition which is aptly called “The X Factor”. A USP is what makes your business stand out from other businesses and advertises what is unique about it.

The Difference with USE

I believe individuals will apply different criteria when considering whether a Corporation has the USE factor. In my humble opinion, the criteria I wish to apply to USE is that which is given in the Book of books, namely the Christian Bible. Although the Bible certainly never uses the acronym USE, it does refer to something similar. This is what 1 Corinthians 13:1-12 has to say:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….”

The USE factor is therefore having and giving out “love”. This Chapter then ends in verse 13 to say:

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

If you apply the USE factor to the concept of love I believe it should be, then USE is far superior than the X Factor or USP, or anything else.

My Experience

USE is the rarest of all diamonds. As an example, my family and I were very fortunate to experience the USE factor at schools we attended. It’s my experience that once you have been touched by USE, there is something in you that always seeks it out, or it somehow finds you. G-d blessed me when I attended a USE School, and he blessed my children when He guided them to USE schools.

How Does USE feel like?

There is no one answer to this question, and it’s easier to identify in individuals than it is in Corporations or Institutions. Corporations can never have personality, but their history and facilities can project personality.

However, its only people in the Corporation that can give her some form of personality and work towards assisting her to the highest accolade of being a USE Corporation or Institution.  I need to rephrase from the Biblical quote above on how to identify a USE School:

Though we have produced many outstanding sports people, but have not love, we have merely become an award obsessed institution. And though we have the gift of intellect, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge so that we could attract the greatest minds, but have not love, we are nothing. And though we bestow generous grants to our students to help the poor, and though we give our time to intellectuals, but have not love, it profits us nothing. But if we treat our workers or students like one big family, then we have love, and it profits us immensely.

My daughter remarked the other day and said, “Dad, you know, my friends at school say the boys (my sons) walk very uprightly.” I duly replied, “Sweatheart, it’s because they are amongst family.” In essence, when you walk uprightly at your work, and you feel like this is an extended family, then you have found USE.

About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Jesus Christ as a child. He was awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials, failures and successes of commerce for 3 decades.

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