For the best ideas on disrupting a market, fledgling entrepreneurs should look no further than their own career.
Share this article
Over the past decade, the UK has become known as a leader in business creation and innovation, particularly within the tech sector. According to an analysis conducted by the accounting and audit firm RSM, the number of new technology companies launched in the UK last year was almost 60% higher than in 2016.
More generally, the total number of startups operating in all sectors across the country is growing steadily, a trend being supported by high levels of investment. While the impending exit from the EU has dampened spirits somewhat across the startup economy, the future of the country’s young companies nevertheless looks promising.
Increasing competition within the startup space, however, means that entrepreneurs need to be prepared to overcome challenges and maintain their drive and creativity in order to outperform their competitors.
After all, the brutal truth is that roughly half of all new businesses cease to exist within three years; those that succeed are the ones that develop the most robust proposition for doing something better, faster or more efficiently within a specific sector.
Innovation from experience
One of the most effective ways of finding the best ideas for disrupting an industry is having first-hand experience in that sector.
Working in the field before launching a new business gives budding entrepreneurs the advantage of having an intimate understanding of the market, as well as building valuable contacts that give you opportunities for finding mentorship.
An intimate knowledge of the market comes from observing the habits of consumers or businesses and understanding their needs. It also comes from having observed competitors and their strategies, particularly in terms of how they approach and overcome challenges.
Together, these insights give entrepreneurs a competitive advantage over their rivals. They provide the knowledge base needed to spot opportunities for growth and development, and to find the strongest concept for disrupting an industry.
Without the experience that I gained from working in the food industry, it is unlikely that I would have succeeded in founding and growing my own business. Indeed, the vision for my startup – GoKart – was born out of my experience of previously running a convenience store and also working for a large national food wholesaler.
Through owning the shop, I was confronted by the challenges faced by many small, independent establishments trying to keep pace with large chains. Namely, I saw first-hand how expensive and difficult it was to order supplies quickly and reliably when operating on such a small scale.
Unlike big chains, our margins were not as competitive, and thus a seemingly simple process turned out instead to be unexpectedly cumbersome.
I was inspired to find a solution to this problem, which was common across the food and drink industry, particularly for restaurants where the challenge becomes even more acute.
The difficulty of sourcing ingredients and arranging deliveries was a hindrance faced by many, and a simple way to overcome this challenge was desperately needed. GoKart was my solution to solving this gap in the market.
With increasing costs of ingredients and labour, as well as the rising business rates and rents, GoKart meets the needs of small independent restaurants that require support in this uncertain economic climate.
By digitising the process of ordering supplies and offering restaurants competitive discounts on ingredients, GoKart has provided a tailored solution to meet the needs of small businesses.
Understanding people’s struggles
My vision for supporting independent establishments would have been difficult to execute had I not myself previously been in a similar position of ordering stock on a small scale.
The idea that inspired GoKart was therefore planted and cultivated over the daily struggles I faced within the industry – long before the service was initially developed.
While it is possible to carry out market research to try to gain an understanding of any current challenges facing an industry, personal experience can uncover struggles that would otherwise be extremely difficult to discover.
Experience in an industry also provides a great head start when it comes to networking and business development. Any entrepreneur that has plied their trade within the same sector that they then launch a startup in will typically boast a network of valuable connections.
When planning to start a business, the more insight you can get from different perspectives the better.
Moreover, strong relationships with businesses in the same industry can give a recently launched startup an immediate pool of potential early adopters. This is hugely important when looking to get the product or service off the ground, not to mention when you are seeking to refine the business model in the initial stages.
Entrepreneurs looking to make a mark on an industry and change the way people do business face many challenges in this pursuit. The drive to make a change, as well as intimate knowledge of the industry, are invaluable to achieving success and finding the best ideas to disrupt an industry.