Why I disrupted my business over the holidays
It all started when I read over December “Exponential Organisations” by Salim Ismail
I knew I’d gotten complacent about this. This book scared me silly!
I’ve seen so many new disruptive business case studies to know that whatever business you are in, you either have to disrupt yourself…or be disrupted, oftentimes by someone with little resources and little experience in your industry, but a technical advance helps them to find a niche that steals away your business right under your nose.
Secondly, because our new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first statement after being elected as prime minister that “Australians need to embrace disruption as our friend”
And thirdly, because the NSW government has been reviewing their take on Airbnb, Uber and Kickstarter. Last week, they announced that they released a position paper, and that they would be moving to regulate these three operators. – They are letting them in!
I knew I had to disrupt my business.
This was no longer something I could put off.
This was now a priority and I had to act with speed.
How I disrupted my business
The hardest part was to make the decision to do it.
I then set out a plan.
I would research what was going on in my industry, particularly regarding new disruptive competitors.
I would analyse my business for areas that could be digitalised and make a plan for that.
I would then put my disruption plan into action.
Researching my disruptive competition
There were a number of new disruptive competitors out there, who’d emerged under the radar, including a fully automated coach. “A robot coach?!” Yes there are at least two of those out there in the marketplace. “How come I’ve been ignoring this?!” I ask myself
I found a couple of people who were using this automated process and asked them enough questions to find out what this method’s strengths and weaknesses.
They even told me what two of my strengths are – that is:
- “Your one-on-one coaching keeps your clients accountable. The automated coaching doesn’t do that well at all. Group coaching allows me to hide out and get off the hook”
- “Mike, you don’t just listen well – you actually ‘hear’ what’s being said, you cut through the c–p and you let people hear what they are actually saying. You give your clients enormous clarity – robots and most people can’t come near to doing that!”
“Phew!” Mental Note: “Great to get that feedback. I must be more open and transparent with my clients. I must participate more online.”
There was much to be done…and fast.
My second step was to analyse my business
I analysed every part of my business and clarified all the areas I could transform into a digital format.
This was a surprising and amazing process.
I could see how I could add enormous value to my business offering by digitalising as many processes as possible. It simply made my product better…and my many resources readily available to my clients.
Not only that, I could see how I could reduce my fee to nearly half of what I’ve been charging.
What I have achieved
I’ve got a sharper, more competitive product out in the marketplace.
I’ve reduced my fees by 45%, I’ve tripled the value I offer to my clients and I’ve addressed operational inefficiencies I’ve been putting off improving for years.
In short, I’ve achieved a lot in a short period of time.
What I have learned
It’s simple once you make the decision (like everything worth doing well)
The threats are already out there…and I need to stay alert (ignore disruption at your peril)
The best defence is active offence (thanks again Sun Tsu)
The changes I’ve been putting off for years were easy to make within the context of disruption. I could no longer tolerate inefficiencies
I’ve made a start. There’s much, much more to come.
More about exponential organisations
The Six “D’s” of Exponentials
1: D is for DIGITIZATION
As soon as you digitize something, you have created the means for exponential growth.
As soon as you put your work in a digital format, you have the ability to send it out to a global audience.
You now have the ability to grow exponentially.
With the recent digitization of the human gene (2001), we now have exponential growth, not only in research terms, but in also the ability to scan and review individual people’s genes. In fact, in 2001, the cost of scanning an individual’s genes was $100 million dollars. In January 2014, the cost was $1,000. Experts are saying that this drop will continue, just like what happened with computer chips until a test cost mere cents or less than free.
This has happened over sixteen years – it’s fast – it’s exponential!
What this means for you
Whatever your product, whatever your service, there are parts that you can digitize.
As soon as you digitize those parts, you have the capability for exponential growth.
You now have a piece on the board. You get to play the game.
But, to do this, you need to have the will, focus, resources and time to do this, while you are busy making money from your old school business.
2: D is Deceptive Growth
Exponential growth is one of the keys to growing wealth. For example, by reinvesting profits back into your capital, doubling your capital, your capital grows exponentially. There’s a long period of slow growth, then suddenly, your savings multiply enormously.
It also happens in nature. The Tsunami is a good example of this. It builds up slowly, but then it reaches a point where a sudden leap in size takes everyone by surprise.
Example in business
The slow growth of digital cameras took Kodak by surprise. Digital photography didn’t seem a threat to their operations. The first camera phone was sold in Japan (the J Phone) in 2000 didn’t rate a concern with Kodak until the massive uptake in 2013 destroyed their business. They never saw it coming.
This is why Canabalising your own company works
If you aren’t trying to work out how to disrupt your own business, surely another company is on their way to disrupting your money making machine. It’s hard to see from which direction they will come from, because disruption comes from many disciplines.
All you need to know, is that it creeps up on you, then suddenly looms large before it engulfs you.
3: D is DISRUPT the field.
When the pure mass and force of digital cameras embedded in millions of mobile phones swamped Kodak’s monopoly on anything photographic in the US, When Blockbuster video hires and anyone one else making a living hiring DVD’s was hit by the digitization of movies exploding across the internet through Netflix, Stan and many others – this is disruption.
A new, more accessible, drastically cheaper, easier to use product or service is suddenly on your competitors shelves, walking out the door.
What this means for you
It’s when, not if, disruption is going to happen to your industry, your product or your services.
The Last 3 “D’s” Dematerialisation, De-monetisation and Democratisation –
Dematerialisation: Literally, new technology is dematerialising products and industries – your cell phone has dematerialised snap and shoot cameras, now you have one in your phone. Your gps is now on your cell phone, Whole industries like DVD rentals have dissolved because of digitalisation. There is an app now that you can take a picture of a room and your phone will convert it using CAD tools into a scaled drawing of the room. Not to forget how your trusty flashlight has been replaced by a free app. These products have been dematerialised into your phone technology.
Demonetisation: Exponential technology takes the money out of things, so you see with Google, how it de-monitised the research business. It’s free now. Wikipedia took the money out of encyclopedias. How many other examples? LinkedIn has taken the money out of recruitment, by making everyone’s CV digital. Exponential technologies like Craigslist take the money out of industries like the newspapers and put it into your pocket.
Democratisation: Exponential technologies enable you to change the world by giving you the tools you need to make a big difference.
So when you think about business, think about the Six D’s and how they can literally help you transform your business and the world.
This explanation has been derived from Peter Diamandis, one of the founders of the Singularity University, a resource dedicated to the teaching of Exponential Organisation theory and practice.
So, let’s hear Peter put it into his own words: