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Clean toilets can make a difference

Inspiration and valuable lessons can be found inside your industry by comparing yourself to competitors. But, they can also be found outside of your industry and country.

As part of my continuing research on what makes businesses successful I came across a chain of gas stations in America that are doing really well by doing something remarkable to differentiate themselves. Their entire business and marketing plan is based on their toilets!

They pride themselves on how everyone is spotless, how big they are and how each one has a team of full-time attendants, who never stop cleaning, to keep them in tip-top shape. They even go to the trouble of putting artwork on the walls.

What’s interesting is that they have a third more toilets than petrol pumps.

And, crucially they know how to shout about it and focus on the toilet message. Texan motorway signs are full with Buc-ee’s billboards carrying clever slogans such as “Restrooms you gotta pee to believe” and “only 262 miles to Buc-ee’s – you can hold it”.

Buc-ee’s opened their first outlet in 1982 and by 2013 they had 28 stores, employing more than 1,000 people. At the time of writing they have 278 thousand Facebook fans and hundreds of YouTube videos. Remember, this is not a 5-start hotel, it’s a motorway station.

They have not achieved this success by offering the cheapest fuel; it’s all down to having the cleanest bathrooms. They’ve built an entire business on the fact that people need to the bathroom.

This is really smart and well worth paying attention to. Buc-ee’s have focused on what people dread most about stopping at a petrol station and transformed it into a positive experience.

Crucially, they have created something that people will talk about. They have created the remarkability factor because people “remark” about them. And, they have given people a good reason or people to drive a few miles just to see if everything they’ve heard is true.

What can you do in your business to get people talking?