What if people stopped buying your core product?


22nd August 2016

Gavin Preston

Business Growth


That is inconceivable surely?  You may have heard yourself saying: “Sales revenues have been steadily increasing, well maybe slowing a little, but our product has had such a strong history of demand it is going be in demand for the rest of my working life.”

We are growing our businesses in times of fast paced change.  We cannot afford to make that assumption.  The Boards of Kodak and Nokia did so at their peril. The pace of change has picked up significantly in the short years since those corporate demises.

Market revolutionising disrupters are taking place all around us – for example, Uber’s trials to bring a fleet of self driving cars to the streets which they envisage will bring the cost per mile down to such an extent that it could threaten the whole notion of car ownership.  This is a space in which all major motor manufacturers, Google, Apple (allegedly) and, of course, Tesla are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to take a share of a revolutionised world of transport.

Elon Musk, through his involvement at Solar City, is also revolutionising domestic solar power generation and storage solutions.  The development of a cost effective domestic power generation and storage solution will have a significant impact on the business models of power utility companies.

These are just two industries.  What about the industry sectors in which you operate?  Who are the disrupters?  What are the disruptive technologies impacting your industry?  3D Printing? Augment Reality? Artificial Intelligence? Virtual Reality? Robotics? Nano technology? Sensors and Machine Learning?

If all of this sounds like I am speaking a foreign language, the simple truth is that if we do not come up with a more innovative way of solving our customers’ problems/fulfilling their needs, someone else well.  It may well be the problem our product or service solves today will be completely solved through a totally different solution in the future.

We have to be prepared to not only innovate our own products but to listen to our customers’ changing needs, the changing needs of the market place and changing technology. We even have to be prepared to disrupt ourselves and ‘pivot’ (current buzz word) into solving a new problem/meeting a new need.

Jay Samit in his book ‘Disrupt Yourself’ has some great advice:

  • Kill your big idea. If you can find a problem that will derail an idea, so will the marketplace.
  • “Speed to Fail” should be every entrepreneur’s motto.  When you finally find the one idea which can’t be killed, go with it.
  • If you can imagine a solution, you can make it happen.
  • Most discoveries come from the simple act of identifying life’s problems.
  • A disruptor finds opportunity and profits from his misfortunes.

The good news is that a few insightful questions can uncover hidden opportunity in your market and open the door to you setting yourself apart from the competition and playing a very different game from your competition.  One that will give you the first mover advantage.

If you would like the insight of some of those revealing questions mentioned above, then let us know and we would be happy to jump on a complimentary call to give you some pointers of where to look and where to start to disrupt yourself so that customers keep buying from you for years to come.

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