What are the risks to your business? Do you think about those and plan to disrupt yourself before competitors do it to you? Did anyone see the demise of video rental stores coming in the 80’s? How about the decline of drive-in movies? There is a single Blockbuster location in Oregon and a drive-in showing movies with enhanced picture, 4K quality, in Kansas. Those are long shots with a bit of a cult following strongly based in nostalgia. The question is what will a new competitor or technology do to your business now or in the next few years. What if they provide a better customer experience at lower costs? Will you be reactive or proactive?
Business never stands still. If you are making money, you can be sure there is competition wanting to get a share of your market and displace you. If you are making a comfortable amount of money, it is easy to become complacent. Let’s look at a few areas to dig into for your business. Begin to brainstorm and map out areas for consideration below:
1) Alternatives – If you were not in business, where would you customers go to solve their problem or get an alternative service or good? Would it be do it yourself, a web application, or just do without?
2) Competition – If you have a restaurant, is your competitor next door, or the local grocery store’s deli department. Could it be frozen meals delivered to a person’s house? Dig deeper into what your current and future competitors can and will be.
3) Competitive advantage – What is your competitive advantage? How hard is it for a competitive to copy it? In technology, are you the fastest or the cheapest? How long before a competitor release a better product? Do you have a long term sustainable differentiator with service? Think about some of the big names in retail that built their business of exceptional customer service but failed to remain cost competitive and where they are now.
Every business and industry is unique. It is important to take time out of the day to day to periodically look at where your business is relative to competitors, market trends and possible disruptions. No business is immune to disruption. It is not a matter of if but when and how.
One final thought, be careful using cheapest or fastest as your unique advantage. Those are both hard to sustain for the long term. Look at the overall value you provide and build on that.
Tell me about how you disrupted a competitor or a challenge you are facing today. Small business – keep disrupting and growing!
About the Author:
Gregory Woloszczuk is an Entrepreneur and experienced tech executive that helps small business owners grow their top and bottom line. Gregory believes in straight talk and helping others see things they need to see but may not want to with a focus on taking responsibly for one’s own business. He and his wife, Maureen, started GMW Carolina in 2006.
Gregory has been fortunate to have been part of building teams for companies that went through hyper-growth as well as his own company. He also has experience in working through economic downturns and taking responsibility to fix what is in his control. The focus has always been working with partners, customers, and building a successful business channel. His range of experience includes marketing, sales, support, training, and operations. Gregory holds an MBA from Nichols College.