By Jason Bangerter
Some oppose industry disruption – I embrace it.
It’s true that sometimes disruption forces companies out of business, and thus forces people out of their jobs. But the innovative minds that cause change are what we, as entrepreneurs and consumers, should want. People that shake things up make their industries better, and give consumers what they want.
During my years in the workforce, I attempted to challenge the status quo three times. Through industry knowledge, a customer-centric focus and thinking outside of the box, I’ve been able to start three companies that are trying to make life easier for people through innovation.
- Understand your industry and customers.
Without this knowledge, industry disruption is near impossible. The best advice I can give you, is to look at your industry or at your product or service through your customers’ eyes. This helps you know what motivates customers, what makes them happy, why they’re not buying your product, etc. The greatest chance at challenging your industry and making it better is having a deep understanding of your industry and your customers; knowing the aspects that work well and those that don’t, so you know what needs to change.
- Make the customer experience simple.
People want simple. We want to push a button when we run out of laundry detergent and have it appear on our doorstep two days later (thanks, Amazon). We want to order groceries online and have them brought out to us in the parking lot so we don’t have to deal with crowded aisles and spending 10 minutes at the checkout. Simplicity works. I learned that with NUVI, the second business I started. We created a product that made social media marketing monitoring, analyzing, reporting and publishing simple for businesses in need of an easier way to receive actionable insights to make better business decisions.
Simplicity eliminates customer pain points and makes life easier for everyone. I’m just surprised that more brands in various industries aren’t doing this more.
- Create a digital solution that doesn’t exist.
Awhile back I started flipping houses. But soon after the market changed, and rather then sell those properties I had to rent them out. That brought with it several stressful challenges. I’d tried being a landlord before, a story that doesn’t have a pretty ending. I realized that I needed a dependable landlord management product—but once I started looking it was nowhere to be found. So, knowing full well that there were others out there like me, I created Rentler. It’s the digital solution none of us could find, but all of us desperately needed.
The technology is out there. You just have to know the right way to use it to make life easier and better for you and your customers, like creating a new product, developing a smarter service or cutting costs in your industry.
- Combine innovation with like-minded colleagues.
I love to draw, and my passion for design began at a young age. After studying graphic design in college, I decided to start a design company. After taking on my first project for an international company based locally, I realized this wasn’t something I could or should go at alone. So I decided to combine creativity with a classmate of mine from school and we formed Struck Design. A few years later, after we’d made a name for ourselves as a two-man team, we decided the best way to make a difference was to expand our scope even more. In order to disrupt the industry and give current and potential companies what they needed and more, we merged with advertising agency W Communications and became creative agency, Struck.
It’s human nature to want to go at things alone; to try and solve problems and conquer the world by ourselves. But I can tell you, it’s easier and smarter when you combine innovation. Working together with other innovative minds, whether in your field or a relating one, is how you can make the most difference and change your industry for the better. While these are ways I challenged the industries I’ve worked in, they may or may not be the way for you. Disruption is different in each industry—but it IS happening in every industry. My advice to you is choose to be the disruptor, rather than the disruptee.
Jason Bangerter is an entrepreneur and founder of multiple companies including: Struck, an award-winning digital-forward creative agency; NUVI, a next-generation social media data visualization firm; and Rentler, a powerful online property management tool.