In recent years, markets have been crowded with more or less similar products, offering more or less similar functions, sold at more or less similar prices. It is therefore easy to see that the main consequence is a dramatic increase in stress. It increases the seller’s stress, and it increases the buyer’s stress.
For customers, this is the choice.
For companies, this is the competition.
In this scenario, it is tough to become a market leader by adding new features to your product or simply lowering its price. Or worse still, doing what others do but ‘better’.
Believe it or not, this is the pattern that drives markets, and you are in it.
If you want to break the pattern, you must first change how you analyze your surroundings to develop the ability to see what others do not see.
Only by changing the way you think will you start thinking in terms of disruption.
Stop thinking about your customers
How can I improve my product?
Avoid this question because it is wrong. The right question is: who is not buying my product? And I’m not talking about people who buy from your competitors, but people who don’t buy your product or your competitors’ products. For every person who buys what your market has to offer, thousands don’t. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do it with the right conditions. Before low-cost flights, millions of people would not have chosen a holiday abroad. Before Facebook, millions of companies would not have been able to advertise. Before Netflix, millions of people would not have rented a DVD. Before smartphone apps, millions of people would not have edited their photos.
Accessibility: the opportunity others don’t see
If you want to disrupt your market, you need to shift your focus from those who buy to those who don’t buy. Democratizing access to a market is one of the main drivers of disruption. Now, the thing to understand is that focusing on your customers by developing better and better products is absolutely normal. It is very complicated to change the mindset and make innovative decisions because it is too expensive. But it is the only way to go if you want to offer something new.
It is not a matter of price
The concept of democratization is often confused with lower prices. Accessibility to a product or service is first and foremost a matter of business model. For example, Nestlé, with its Nespresso pods, disrupted the coffee market. We all know very well that Nespresso pods are very expensive. Or Airbnb has disrupted the hospitality market, not because of price but because it allows supply and demand to meet without intermediaries through a user-friendly app. We could also talk about something more domestic, like the Swiffer. Everyone in the mop category knew that mop was a one-time purchase until Procter & Gamble introduced Swiffer. And Swiffer is a $Billion annual business.
Focus on restrictions
When talking about accessibility, it is crucial to focus on restrictions, i.e., those barriers that prevent people from using a product or service. There are four main restrictions:
If you want to disrupt your mind, you have to shift your focus from the product you are currently selling to the restrictions that prevent you from capturing a huge potential market. Focus on the restrictions, and you will be one step closer to disruption.
Business is a long game, not a short run
Changing your perspective is not easy. Just as it is not easy to change the way you run your business. The main effort we need to make to trigger this change of mindset is to understand that if something works today, it does not mean it will work tomorrow. Often economic success disables innovation because innovation looks to the future, while financial success is a condition of the present. Growth opportunities exist. If you change your patterns, your mindset, if you look at things differently, you will find that the success you are looking for is closer than you think.