Whether you want to build the next billion-dollar unicorn startup or monetize your idea to impact the world, disruption is your ally. By disrupting a market, you can readjust its landscape and place yourself as the leader. Netflix is an excellent example of entertainment rental disruption. The movie-rental business put Blockbuster out of business quite publicly with its streaming service. “If your business will be an inspiring story like Netflix or a cautionary tale like Blockbuster depends on how well you understand the concept of disruption,” says Antonio T Smith Jr, the CEO of ATS Jr Companies.
The Two Types of Innovation.
Businesses can innovate along two paths:
- Sustaining innovation.
- Disruptive innovation.
Sustaining innovation is safer than disruptive innovation because the customers’ feedback drives it. “Sustaining innovation is like trying to cook a new dish but with a recipe in hand. Disruptive innovation is creating the recipe without knowing if it will work,” explains Smith. “All you have to do is make sure the recipe works, and you get yourself an Uber, Airbnb, or Facebook.”
Why Choose Disruptive Innovation Over Sustaining Innovation?
From the perspective of strategy, it makes sense for newcomers to choose disruption over sustaining innovation for one key reason.
Corporations design an efficient system to please the most people the best they can for the lowers cost. This strategy leaves behind a portion of the customers who are too expensive to please.
“If you figure out how to please the customers ignored by mega-corporations, you will have the market share you need to get started,” shares Antonio. He further illustrates his point by citing one of his businesses’ example, “universities are always trying to improve their accreditation score and relations with corporations’ careers departments. That is because their best customers want jobs. The minority of the people who are interested in current knowledge are ignored. It costs too much to redesign the curriculum every year to be up to date. Even Harvard does not do that. That is where I employed disruptive innovation to build The ATS Business University. It provides up-to-date knowledge of current subjects.”
Trying to out-innovate Harvard and Stanford at name-recognition and networking would be mismanagement of Antonio’s resources. Similarly, to make the most out of your innovation, you should focus on areas ignored by the current market leaders.
“The best way to find out an ignored audience is to sort reviews by lowest rating. You can almost see the pattern. The customers are practically telling you what they want. And the only reason big businesses aren’t catering to that is that it’s too expensive for a large system to adjust to that. But as a small business, you can totally cater to this audience,” Antonio says, laying out his game plan. “If you pitch this strategy, I recommend building a business model that can serve 1 million customers. And every time you get a customer, pivot the business just a little to improve their experience with you.”
Look at “Method Businesses” and See the Result.
Kodak had the idea of a digital camera. However, they did not lean into it and became irrelevant to the market with the disruption that came with digital cameras’ release to the mass market. There is an important lesson here: if a company provides a tool, it is too attached to the tool to abandon it even when a better tool can serve its’ customers.
Therefore, if you look at a massive business that offers a specific tool, you have the opportunity to invent a different method to give its audience a better result. Chances are, the company is not actively looking to abandon its main product, and you will be left alone to innovate in peace.
To summarize, you can build a disruptive business around unsatisfied customers of established companies or create a better method of satisfying the customers of a business that offers a tool. The key is to build a model that can handle at least 1 million customers. And in your journey towards the first million, you should consider feedback from the customers you acquire and evolve your business accordingly.
If you have any questions about this subject, text Antonio directly at 409-500-1546.