Starting your own business is undoubtedly a tough business and coming up with an idea that can change the industry and revolutionize every individual’s life is a challenge that not everyone can meet. Even with this million dollar idea, how can you make your dream come true?

A disruptive startup is a company that has the ability to revolutionize the way a society lives, thinks and works. This type of innovation should be able to break the norms and customs of life to replace the current conventional methods. Whether the disrupted industry is globally or within a local community, low costs and high accessibility are attributes that can make any startup successful.

High-profile companies such as Zoom, Netflix, and DoorDash have all found gaps in their respective industries and pioneered technology to revolutionize the way we communicate, consume media, and eat out. By identifying these gaps in your industry, you too can spearhead a startup that will transform the way we live.

Look for incumbents that neglect less profitable segments of the industry

While the current dominants in your industry of interest strive to grow and provide better quality products and services, they may make the mistake of neglecting the needs of the low-end and mainstream consumers in the market. This will leave a dangerous opening for competitors (like you) to gain a foothold in those less profitable segments of the market that current incumbents are neglecting.

In order to make your business disruptive, it is crucial that you take advantage of this opportunity to step up to the market and deliver functionality and performance more suited to the needs of the incumbent’s customers. When these traditional customers start to prefer your company’s offerings over those of the dominant company, you’ve officially turned the industry on its head! Congratulations!

Seize events, changes when they occur

A recent industry disruptor that you may have used before is Zocdoc. In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zocdoc realized it had a unique way of transforming healthcare accessibility, as people were being advised to stay at home because hospitals were overwhelmed. Although in-person medical visits were not going to become obsolete, the need for telemedicine and access to home doctors was higher than ever.

By understanding that the current telemedicine capacity was not sufficient to absorb the volume that usually goes through hospitalized patients, Zocdoc was able to take advantage of the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) decision to relax privacy requirements in telehealth situations. In a few weeks, the company launched a feature that allowed patients to schedule video visits with their doctors, which doctors would then conduct on platforms such as Skype and Zoom. With clear demand and market opening, Zocdoc was able to disrupt the industry and become a success in telehealth.

Disruption takes time

Rather than entering an industry with your main intention to be disruptive, scale your business to match the aforementioned recommendations and focus on the right business model rather than products or services. For this reason, disruptors are easily overlooked and can take hold unexpectedly. Be patient, and you too can end up like Netflix… you never know how technology will change.

Entering a market already dominated by a massive company like Blockbuster, Netflix’s prospects for success were bleak. Unlike the instant gratification of going to a store and buying the DVD of a newly released movie, Netflix entered the market with an online platform to buy DVDs that would be delivered via USPS (which would take several days to arrive).

As the world changed and technology transformed the way media could be distributed and consumed, Netflix had the platform and the technology to launch the internet streaming services that ultimately destroyed Blockbuster in 2010 when they declared bankruptcy.

Try to think about how the world has transformed since the pandemic began in 2020. Are there any industries you can identify that are in desperate need of revitalization? How can you use your current industry skills and knowledge to find those footholds and make changes from scratch? So go ahead!

Written by Cosmin Panait.
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