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February 2016

Are you a disrupter?


Recently a real estate agent got mad at me during one of my speeches. He was furious because I talked about a new company called feeDuck that is disrupting the real estate industry in Canada.  The company sets up 24-hour auctions where real estate brokers bid on listings by lowering their commissions.  The service can save home-sellers thousands of dollars in commissions.

The agent was mad, of course, because feeDuck and other services like it, are disrupting the status quo in the real estate market.  I acknowledged his concern, but told him that getting mad wasn't the answer.  The answer is to face up to the fact that disruption is happening, and then do something about it,  preferably by becoming a disrupter yourself. 

Think about the taxi drivers who are livid about UBER and want to shut it down.  They're protesting in the streets, setting cars on fire, and doing a lot of whining.  But it isn't going to do any good.  UBER and other ride-sharing services are revolutionizing the taxi industry.  Even if they ban UBER around the world to appease the taxi companies, other disruptive options will take its place. 

So what can you do in an age of disruption?  Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that disruption is inevitable.  New technology and business models, plus volatile market conditions are destined to disrupt your business.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, but it's going to happen sooner or later.

That's why it's fatal to build your business around specific products or services. Using a product-first approach makes you extremely vulnerable to disruption.  If your product or service becomes a commodity because of increased competition, your profit margins will be undermined.  If new technology makes your product obsolete, you will likely go out of business.

That's why you need to organize your business as a value hub built around a BIG Idea.  The BIG Idea is a universal concept that is future-proof, and the value hub is an integrated array of value components that is constantly updated and augmented.  Structured in this way, your company is more impervious to disruption, and more likely to disrupt the competition instead.

For example, you might create a BIG Idea to help trucking companies improve their efficiency by 500%.  With this big idea as the central concept of your company, you then focus on developing a value hub to achieve this result.  You closely assess the efficiency issues in their current methods, and propose improvements.  You develop new processes, new technologies, and new educational programs.  You might even spearhead the development of driver-less trucking.

With your mind focused on this kind of continuous value creation, you are less likely to be blindsided by disrupters.  You will see them coming and proactively figure out how to co-opt them or co-operate with them.  You are also more likely to be on the vanguard of new innovations.

Disrupt or be disrupted.  That's the future of business.  That's why we've created something new, an online publication called Disrupter Magazine.

As a subscriber to our mailing list, we will link you each week to this exciting new magazine that features stories of companies and entrepreneurs who are disrupting the business world.  The hope is that these disrupter stories will inspire and empower you to create new and profitable opportunities.

Visit Disruputer Magazine

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