Why disruptive thinking is essential

“What keywords that have been uppermost in business commentary so far this year?” In searching for a topic for this article, I asked this question at the recent Franchise Expo in Sydney. And there were three clear favourite responses – ‘change,’ ‘innovation,’ and ‘fear.’

Change because we hear it constantly, innovation because it is ‘the’ buzzword, and fear because business seems to be preoccupied with it, stifling change, innovation, and so future growth. It was even the topic of a recent Tony Robbins podcast.

I am convinced the world is gripped with fear, a post-GFC hangover that is ‘rusted on and businesses have to work together to right the ship or we face an economic and social Titanic.

Interestingly, change and innovation are the two key drivers that account for the phenomenal success of franchising.

My next question was “What’s the topic that’s having the biggest impact on business right now?” It’s my favourite, in fact my hobby – ‘disruption.’

Change is our way of life and we have to use it as a driving force for growth, and disruption is the new ‘black’. It is not going to go away.

Disruptive marketing is trending and I have found examples across the spectrum inevitably impacting every business very soon if not already. If you doubt this look at the impact worldwide that Irish minnow Ryanair had when launching super cut-price fares in 1991. They put the industry in a spin and today they’re the biggest and most profitable in Europe.

Business needs to respond super-quick and not get caught out like the taxi industry with Uber or B&Bs and hotels with AirBNB – and there are new ones launching every week!

But you don’t have to be a biggie to launch new ideas–-take the classic disruptor Richard Branson, a student launching Virgin with the scatty idea of his magazine followed by his record shops. And look at him today!

So come on – how can you be a disruptor in your industry?

Here are my 10 Simple Rules of Disruption –- start NOW, just by focusing on what the market wants.

  1. Reject Fear: if you can’t accept that everything will not work and you need to take the things which don’t on the nose so you can celebrate the things that do work, then you best accept the inevitable decline and burial of your business. See footnote.
  2. Ignore the knockers: listen not to the negative soothsayers and gremlins in your head. Do not be afraid to be different, take on the challenges with relish, because this is that where the opportunities lie.
  3. Don’t Be A Loner: no one succeeds on their own. Mix with positive people, work with entrepreneurs and cultivate a group of people who are excited by the challenge both inside and outside your business. This critically includes your supporters and your critics.
  4. Niche, Niche And Re–Niche: continually focus on ensuring your demographic relates to what you offer, who you are and what you believe in. You are looking the people who do not need selling to, people who ‘just get it.’
  5. Simplify Everything You Do: Play dumb. Who better to listen to than Albert Einstein saying “The art of simplicity is genius. Simple people see as simple what others see as complex.” Big takeaway here is the simpler it is, then the easier it is for people to understand and implement, and for them to help you grow.
  6. Be Flexible: It’s all about continual change and hunting relentlessly for refinements. It worked for NASA and in the same way it will work for you. The huge blessing of digitisation mean so many things can be fixed so quickly.
  7. Be Creative: Make everything you do a true work of art and your tribe will follow you –- just look at Steve Jobs and the mistakes Apple’s followers have willingly forgiven! Looking at VW’s recent sales growth tells me they are going still growing after their mea culpas.
  8. Embrace Risk: Growth makers are risk takers – it’s really that simple, nothing to add. Be a rolling stone and deny moss room to grow.
  9. Kill The Ego –- To embrace change accept your mistakes and encourage honest and valuable contributions from others. You need to let go of ego and be more accepting of criticism as a leader. See footnote.
  10. Do It: Don’t linger. If you wait to get all the ducks lined up and aren’t brave enough to light the blue touch paper, then have the common sense to give the decision to someone who will. Or join the expanding queue at the gates of the business cemetery!

For best practice, when it comes to disruption and growth, franchising is frequently mentioned. It’s a classic crucible of innovation and disruption, always has been and always will be. But mysteriously, this great value within the industry is ignored by business and government alike. The truth is, there is nowhere that such a low investment can get you to market so quickly, so simply, and so effectively. And often it is through embracing change and refining the franchise by embracing the collective intelligence that comes from the unique dynamic of franchisor and franchisee sharing the common good.

Still have doubts as to which way you are going? Read Jim Penman’s book about lifting himself up and founding Jim’s Group after previously going broke, Tom Potter’s on taking dough made in store to regional Australia. Lesser known. fresh examples include Xpresso, Mobile’s thriving coffee shop on wheels, New York Slice authentic NY craft pizza, and more recently National Drones CASA approved UAV’s, Base Zero mobile rock climb, and coming soon ‘Soothe Mobile Massage’ franchise servicing the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes.

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