Disruption – making it work in your favour
According to the experts, if you’re in business you’re either disrupting other businesses or being disrupted by other businesses.
The term itself started becoming prominent through Clayton Christensen’s 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma. It was a term Christensen used to explain how small companies were able to punch above their weight and make a splash within an existing market place occupied by a lot of established, larger players.
Not all disruption may be bad for your business. You may find that a competitor is entering the market to specifically service those that you cannot service profitably and you may not lose much sleep losing these clients. The danger, of course, is that this could just be a foothold into the market for the competitor doing the disrupting and is part of a bigger, longer term business plan that will eventually see their disruptive business model extended and expanded until it becomes a genuine threat to your business.
Of course, there’s nothing really new in this, and it’s been happening for years, but what’s accelerated the whole notion of disruption is the ‘access’ to resources and ease of implementation of these resources provided by the digital revolution that allows an individual with a good idea to make some serious noise and to efficiently and economically hit ‘hot’ spots in the market. Get too comfortable and complacent and you’ll have the rug pulled from under you before you know what’s hit you.
So what do you do?
Staying close to your customers is vital. Let’s call it identifying dissatisfaction before the customer is even aware of it.
Pre-empting what they’re looking for or even asking constantly what’s missing from the experience, service, product you’re providing should be a regular road trip your business takes. How can you make this transaction easier for the customer? How can you make this transaction quicker for the customer? How can you make this transaction cheaper for the customer? Then try to answer the questions through the filter of technical innovation. If you don’t ask these questions and seriously explore them, someone else will.
When you’re under attack from either an existing competitor or a new disruptive competitor entering the market place, it’s important to make sure that your response is strategically sound and not to panic with a knee-jerk reaction that may end up hurting your business and brand in the long-term. For example, a threat from a new disruptive competitor entering the market place may provide the perfect opportunity for you to redefine the space in the market you occupy in order to clearly differentiate yourself to your customers and to further consolidate their loyalty and to reaffirm in their minds why they chose you in the first place.