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Expert Feature: Do This And You’ll Separate Yourself From Your Competition

disrupting your industry

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Gain an edge over your competition?”

This popular phrase talks of having a slight advantage, which can translate in to big gains over time.

This is a good thing, but what if you want to separate yourself from your competition in one fell swoop?

It’s going to take more than an edge to do that.


Real-World Examples

Let me give you a few examples before we talk about the actual strategy.

Amazon Prime is a service I use. Why? Because when I order something from Amazon I don’t want to wait for it.

I want it asap. But, I don’t want to pay rush charges.

No one likes rush charges, but everyone wants their items fast.

Amazon didn’t stop there though.

They also include lots of free on-demand video programming for people who have a Prime subscription.

Can you name a competitor that offers this?

The Livescribe Echo smartpen records audio with handwritten notes in a synced fashion.

It’s an incredible tool for students or business people who want to record meetings and have notes that can be shared and stored easily in digital format.

Name their competitor.

The fact is that Amazon and Livescribe don’t just have an incremental edge over their competition.

Instead, they have separated themselves.

They are disruptive forces in their industries.

While pen companies battle over which pen writes smoother, lasts longer, or looks cooler, Livescribe is selling pens that solves a different set of problems.

They turned the idea of what a pen is on its head.

Samsung did something like this with the Note device.

Here’s an awesome truth: All industries can be disrupted. All industries need disruption.

Forget the edge. Go bigger.


A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

My kids are in grade school. Recently they had their class pictures taken.

A few weeks later we got printed proofs along with an order form for various sizes of photos in varying quantities.

You know this drill, right?

I said to my wife, “How come he (photographer) doesn’t sell the digital version so we can just print it ourselves?”

She said, “I don’t know. He doesn’t get it.”

No, he doesn’t. You can’t even buy a digital version.

Now who scans printed photos and then shares them on Facebook?

Hardly anybody.

Why is Kodak bankrupt?

Because printed photos have left the building.


My son recently got pictures taken for his soccer team.

That photographer won’t even provide a proof. We were expected to order prints sight unseen. Really?

In 2013? You’re kidding me, right?

The kicker? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, home of Instagram.

And these photographers still don’t get it.

We want digital photos now. Please, no more 8×10’s and 5×7’s for $30.


Now Go Disrupt Your Industry

Do you see how this set of competitors could be left behind by somebody who understands what people want and will give it to them regardless of how it’s been done for the last 3 decades?

How will you be a disruptive force in your industry?

Think like Uber or Lyft.

Look at your industry and consider if you had to invent it now from scratch, what

would you do?

No sacred cows allowed.

Chances are if you think about this long enough you’re going to come up with something brilliant like a photo editor that asks you where you want to post your photo so it knows exactly what size to make it.

Instagram, this size. Pinterest, that size. LinkedIn, this size. Boy would I like that.

It’s time to move forward in one big leap.

Please post your comments and questions below about being a disruptive force in your industry.

I’d love to hear them.


Photo by Tsahi Levent-Levi

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About michael neuendorff (17 Articles)
Michael Neuendorff has been working with small business owners and independent professionals since 2008 to grow professionally. His areas of specialty are speaking, social, strategy and sales. Michael owns a Growth Coach franchise in the Bay Area as well as Speak Well and Sell. He is also adjunct faculty in the Business Division of Skyline College in San Bruno, CA. Michael has 20+ years of sales and marketing experience; extensive team building and leadership experience; teaching, training and mentoring experience and a proven ability to think creatively and listen deeply. Check the blog for business growth ideas. Attend an upcoming seminar or workshop. Read the latest issue of my acclaimed newsletter. * Michael is a 2BH contributor, so stay tuned for future articles from him.