In school we learned the basics of business. Build a quality widget then sell the widget at a mark up that covers your cost of manufacturing, distribution and marketing with a little left over for a profit. During the dot com boom of the late 90’s that model seemed to morph into find a angel to fund you, build something…. anything, sell it at an inflated price and move on.
As we all look back, we have learned that half-baked also means half-eaten. Many of the dot coms were born with the seed of a great idea but built on a foundation of quicksand. The attrition rate among dot coms was staggering. The overnight millionaires soon became overnight paupers and half baked ideas were thrown out with yesterday’s leftovers.
I often network with other small business owners. Some are just starting out and need some advice and others are well seasoned and can offer me valuable insight wrought from years of experience and the hard earned knowledge gained from success and failure. The business intelligence exchanged during these networking sessions is invaluable. Often times I am given new ideas about how to do things more efficiently or occasionally I am told that I have innovated and I get the satisfaction of a slap on the back.
So, in the 21st century I would offer that perhaps the business model that might help small business succeed is not based upon a modern formula created in a business “think tank” but perhaps if we look back we might rediscover the way in which our predecessors like Ford and Edison changed the world. Disruptive Innovation.
A new idea is only the spark. To grow the spark into a flame one must consider if they idea truly is new, unique and innovative. Consider present day innovators like Amazon and Netflix. Each of these companies have innovated, disrupted and succeed with stellar results.
Amazon almost single handed began changing the way we consume products. They understood that consumers want fast and convenient service. Amazon allows us to price shop without crowds, without spending gas money or wasting time standing in line. Today, we can order everything from underwear to unicycles from Amazon. From low tech to high tech Amazon has set the consumer world on its ear.
Netflix has driven the brick and mortar video stores from the face of the planet. About 10 years ago there were five video stores within a 20 minute drive of my home. Today not a single one remains. Instead with the push of a few buttons we have access to millions of videos via Netflix or pay per view offerings from our cable providers.
What are you doing in your business model that is disruptive?
Whether you are a painter or a voiceover artist innovation/disruption can can make the difference.
Your disruptive behavior might include providing new opportunities for your customers, new value propositions or client focused innovation that helps them run their business for efficiently or affordably. Understanding the needs of your clients and how they run their business will provide invaluable information so you can be ready to disrupt and innovate.
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