The term disruptor generally refers to entrepreneurs that are outsiders to their industry. They don’t follow any specific formula, other than to shake up business as usual with their ideas and visions. One notable disruptor of our time is Netflix. They looked at the business model that Blockbuster built and totally disrupted it by using technology to offer consumers the same services as Blockbuster- in a way that was more user friendly and customer focused. In most cases, fast moving technology is the car that drives disruptors, making their offers almost irresistible.
You may ask, “why should I be concerned about being disruptive?” After all, the term “disruptive” was never linked to anything positive. However, in this new age of entrepreneurship, being disruptive means finding a creative way to give consumers the most convenient and out of the box experience ever! If you are an entrepreneur, you should be asking of yourself, “how can I possibly be as disruptive as possible, while fulfilling the voids of my consumers?” You are now assuming the role of a positive disruptor.
The most beautiful thing about positive disruption is how it makes consumers behave and think differently about products/services they’ve encountered a million times. Take for instance the music industry and how drastically the way we consume music has changed over the past 10 years. It was just 10 years ago that we listened to music on our iPods and frequented retail chains, like Target, for physical copies of CD’s. Today, we stream music and most listening experiences happen through our cell phones. What was the disruptor to the music industry? The internet.
In any case where disruptors have entered the marketplace, it has definitely had its benefits. In the case of the internet disrupting the way music is received and experiences by consumers, the artists have become more in control over the distribution of their music. This has led to more exposure of local artists and the retention of profits from record companies that were the normal beneficiaries of the profits. Consumers also benefit in many ways- one being having access to an array of artists music without having to invest in an entire album. We are now able to purchase one song at a time and take our one device (smartphone) and play music from our homes, cars, office, gym- wherever we want, without needing multiple pieces of equipment to do so.
As we, entrepreneurs, are growing our businesses, it is so important that we are constantly evaluating how our products and services are creating positive disruptive experiences for our customers. Here are some key points to consider as you evaluate the disruptor within:
- Disruptors face fear and do not try to avoid the fire- they go through it. You must be tenacious enough to conquer fears by working hard and investing in yourself to be among the brightest in your industry.
- Failures are wins. Yes…failing is a mere illusion to a positive disruptor. They understand that failing is a part of the game, so they embrace it and use it as a means for the overall WIN!
- Be strategic! Disruptors are strategic beings. They invest, market, and align themselves in the most strategic ways possible. Strategic entrepreneurs know when to say yes (the opportunities that are in alignment with their goals) and when to say no (the opportunities that aren’t a good fit for core values.)
- Find creative and simplistic solutions to consumer problems. Disruptors are looking to use current technology to improve existing products.
- Flexibility is a must. Technology pushes the world to move faster and change rhythm quickly. A positive disruptor must be able to be flexible in achieving goals, if they are going to compete and give their audience amazing experiences over and over and over again.
- Disruptors understand that data drives success. Data helps entrepreneurs understand their customers better and gives them a foundation for taking calculated risks.
Entrepreneurs, take notice to your industry. Examine your products/services and observe the experiences that they are offering your customers. Do you have opportunities to disrupt your industry in a positive manner? Are you ready to challenge your vision by disrupting “business as usual?” The beauty of being a disruptor is not about how successful you can become, how much money you stand to make, or how popular your business may become. While those things are undeniably gratifying, nothing is more amazing than knowing you have the power to change the culture of society and how people live in their everyday lives, simply by being disruptive!