Are you a Disruptor or a Disruptee? In the corporate world, these terms can indicate the difference between true success and utter failure. To understand what a disruptor business is, first we must understand the ‘most influential business idea of the 21st Century’; Disruptive Innovation.
What is Disruptive Innovation?
Disruptive Innovation is a business theory, introduced in 1995 by American Professor and business consultant Clayton Christensen. Basically, it’s when a business creates a way to deliver cheaper, simpler or unexpected products and services that have the power to bring big companies down.
Unlike breakthrough innovation, the disruptive innovation process sees businesses entering at the bottom of the market and steadily moving up and eventually displacing established market leaders. By creating a new market and value network, it transforms a product that, historically, was so expensive and complicated that only affluent and skilled individuals had access to it, by making it much more affordable and accessible that a wider demographic have access to it.
Disruptor brands who’ve shaped the world we live in
Often linked with the fast-paced technology industry, disruptor businesses can be found right across the businesses stratosphere. The most disruptive brands in the world include:
Disrupting the way we buy products online, Amazon has become the ultimate global ‘one-stop-shop’.
Changing the way we listen to music, Apple introduced the first iPod & iTunes to the market.
Netflix changed the way we watch films and TV shows, eventually making the likes of Blockbuster obsolete.
The disruptors of tomorrow, today?
The latest CNBC Disruptor 50 list includes forward-thinking start-ups who have identified unexploited niches and are already billion-dollar businesses. The top 10 disruptor companies of 2019 are:
1. Indigo Ag
A Boston-Massachusetts-based agricultural technology company that works with plant microbes, ‘to help farmers sustainability feed the planet.’
2. Didi Chuxing
An ‘uber-disruptor’ in China, Didi Chuxing describes itself as ‘the world’s leading mobile transportation platform.’
3. The We Company
An American company that provides shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises.
Rapidly growing across Southeast Asia, Grab offers everything from transportation, financial services and on-demand groceries, including its own digital-payment service ‘GrabPay.’
5. Rent the Runway
This subscription fashion service allows fashion lovers to rent unlimited designer styles at a fraction of the price that purchasing new garments costs.
A website and mobile app that tracks prescription drug prices and offers drug coupons in the US.
Airbnb is an online marketplace that lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. Beginning life as a low-cost solution to low-value customers, as its popularity has steadily grown, its business model is evolving to address the needs of high-value customers.
Casper is a US-based e-commerce company that has dismantled the way people purchase mattresses.
New York-based company Peloton has shaken up the fitness industry with high-end stationary bikes, treadmills and subscription based, live-streamed fitness classes.
Translating to “little red book”, Xiaohongshu is a Chinese start-up that’s become China’s leading social e-commerce platform; offering overseas premium quality fashion and beauty products.
How to successfully grow a disruptive solution
One you have identified an unexploited niche, overcome some of the toughest challenges of being a disruptor by following these helpful hints:
• Differentiate your product or service and market it as a user-friendly alternative
• Offer a ‘try before you buy’ option
• Test the market
• Be consistent with your brand message
• Create ‘shareable’ moments that future customers can relate to
Now that you understand what a disruptor business is, don’t settle for adjusting to change – be the change.