A major mental roadblock that Michael Hall and I discussed is the realization that you are not the first to market. Uh-oh! You know that great idea you had! It is sure to be an industry game changer, set you up as a millionaire, AND make you famous! Only problem is that it already exists. Someone’s beaten you to it! Rut-row… Time to walk away, right? Hold on… not so fast!
Getting over the roadblock of not being first to market requires a “disrupt and tweak” mindset. As Michael said, “Sometimes when you tap into something, you don’t have to OWN the whole thing. But, if you disrupt something enough and take your piece, you can live a happy life.”
I’ve shelved many ideas–too many to even think of them all–simply because I heard someone else had already done it. Grrr… So, how do you manifest the “disrupt and tweak” mindset? Here are some tips (using Uber as an easy example):
1. What are they doing wrong?
Who listening remembers either calling up a random taxi company or standing in the street with your arm raised for a ride? (Don’t you love it when I ask questions like that, lol?)
I remember the process being such a to-do. First, there is the wait for the ride to arrive, which no idea how long you will really be waiting for. (NOT convenient!) And, the rides were always so costly that you always had to factor it into your overall budget for the day, try to squeeze as many people into the taxi as possible, like a clown car. Ugh…
So, while the availability of taxis has made them a valuable option for decades, there were shortcomings in terms of convenience and cost, and Uber recognized them. That is the first step.
2. What can you offer that is better?
There are no two ways about it… Services like Uber and Lyft are killing the taxi industry right now. And, that is because they figured out how to cure the taxi thorns in many people’s sides: the aforementioned monsters, convenience and cost.
By, embedding the ability for users to watch their ride approach them, Uber saves customers significant time and convenience (and stress!). Additionally, their rides are FAR cheaper than your traditional taxi service. I don’t know how they do it, but they do!
3. Get creative with the tech!
Ask yourself what technologies have sprung up since the last person did this idea that you can now use to make the product/service better. Did apps exist when this type of idea was first started? If not (as in the case of taxis), how can introducing an app change the opportunity? Or, what social media services are trending that can create a new spin? Can the advent of shared workspaces change the service your offering? How? Think outside the box!!
In the case of Uber, now ANYBODY (who can pass a background check) can become an driver and make extra money on the side. That means, they not only solved issues for the customers, but also created new opportunities for drivers. (I know any taxi drivers hearing this right now might be fuming. I apologize. Please send your complaint emails to JaimeIsAnIdiot@CurveTheCube.com. I should actually make that a real email address. That’d be pretty funny…)
No, full disclosure, I’ve never used Uber or Lyft myself. So, I don’t know they specific areas of difference between the two. However, whichever came to market SECOND certainly didn’t let their time to entry hold them back in being intimidated not by taxis, but by the other service. Both companies are hugely successful. So, what a missed opportunity THAT would have been. Whichever came second certainly has happily taken their piece of the ride services pie.
So, don’t give up on your idea just yet! What can you do to disrupt and tweak?