The business world is full of successful disrupters. Have you wondered how you can become a successful disrupter with your small business too?
Start a business using what you are naturally good at they say. It’s easy to generate income doing what you already know how to do they say.
But what they don’t say is what exactly does that mean for YOU.
For some people it might be easy to figure out.
But if you are anything like me it takes some trial and error along with lots of thinking to figure it out.
I did A LOT of thinking. Much of it based on a quote I heard at a conference where Tamara Ghandour with LaunchStreet spoke about innovation and disrupters.
Become a Disrupter as a Small Business
The title of Tamara’s speech sounded a little cliché “Moving at the Speed of Innovation” and I honestly debated using that time to return emails and calls.
Other conference attendees and I expected her to talk about how autonomous vehicles, robotics or disruptive companies like Uber and AirB&B are taking over the world. Something we already know.
I’m so glad I didn’t judge this book by the cover! We were all totally wrong.
Early in her speech Tamara talked about a quote she’d heard that went something like “in the past disruptive companies would create big earthquakes and everyone would wait for the dust fall then move toward the new normal but today it’s more like micro disruptions happening all the time.”
She went on to talk about how anyone can be a part of a micro disruption by “thinking about what’s right in front of you to create an advantage.”
“What’s right in front of you to create an advantage.” When she said that, I had one of those awesome moments where everything clicked.
Tamara went on to dig into Innovation Archetypes. How different personality types innovate in different ways.
She gave us an interactive exercise to do with the people at our table to help us find out what archetype we were.
Not surprisingly I fell into the collaborative archetype.
Some of the other innovation archetypes include fluid, futuristic, inquisitive, intentional, risk taker and the tweaker.
Tamara kept coming back to the point that the best innovation comes from having all the archetypes working together and not siloing innovation to just one department in a company.
What struck me as she spoke, is that even though solopreneurs don’t have a company full of every innovation archetypes to pull into a room to innovate with, her theory still holds true.
With today’ virtual work environment, productivity apps and automation apps you have the opportunity to become a micro disrupter by combining the traits of all of the archetypes into your process.
Innovation requires being collaborative with others, being fluid in adapting to changing conditions, curiosity and willingness to take risks and tweak plans when they aren’t working or could work better.
That’s also the definition of a successful solopreneur.
Tamara closed her speech about innovation with another great quote that I thought a lot about on my drive home “Instead of stepping outside the box rearrange the box you have.”
(You can learn more about Tamara and Innovation Archetypes on her website.)
Small Business Disruption Success Story
Imagine for a second that you enter your product in a contest and win $800. Just enough money to start your dream business.
Imagine next that just over 10 years later that company will sell for over $200 million.
Sounds crazy, right?
It happened to Maggie Cook.
Maggie came to the US from Mexico on a basketball scholarship. After college Maggie became homeless.
An acquaintance opened her home to Maggie who started making and selling fresh salsa while working at another job.
Just over 10 years later Campbell’s Soup bought Maggie’s Salsa.
Let’s just pause here for a second.
Maggie used what she knew how to do – what was right in front of her – to make salsa in a new and innovative way.
Maggie sold her salsa fresh and cold in the refrigerator section. Not cooked, bottled and room temperature how everyone else was selling it.
Maggie disrupted the salsa industry.
I had the opportunity to hear Maggie speak during a Small Business Week event where she credited her success to her resourcefulness and her never give up attitude.
The FDA inspector inspecting her first production facility told her she was crazy to sell fresh salsa. That no one would buy a product with less than a 10 day shelf life. She ignored him.
When Maggie asked her state workforce office for help finding 20 employees quickly to fulfill her first Whole Foods purchase order, they sent her all convicted felons.
She treated those men like gold and they returned the favor with an extraordinary work ethic.
Maggie is inspiring and her story is even more powerful. I’ve only touched on a small part of her journey of innovation and disruption.
I wanted to share Maggie’s story with you to illustrate that anyone, you too, can innovate using what’s right in front of you too. Anyone can become a disrupter – even a small business.
And to quote Maggie “every woman is a gladiator.”
Get out there and show the world the resourceful, innovative and determined Superwoman you are!
What’s Right In Front of YOU?
Is what’s right in front of you your photography skills, graphics skills or a set of professional skills and knowledge comes naturally to you?
Or is it the curriculum you create to home school your kids or is it the trials and tribulations of your life that you can share to bring comfort to others?
For me its a set of professional skills and knowledge
Recently while on a working vacation I was feeling desperate to find MY something. It’s not that I don’t love my consulting work but I want to be able to give my daughter a vacation that includes 100% of my attention.
On a whim I pulled up my resume to see if it held any clues.
And wow, I had my Ah Ha moment.
Looking at my resume through this new lens I noted some overlapping skills that I finally realized I could generate income from.
I opened a new Trello board and started making cards for all the services and products I could offer. In just a few minutes the list was LONG.
I knew I needed to validate my idea before I put too much time and energy into it so I called a trusted mentor. I pitched my idea to her, and she loved it FOR ME.
And that’s really the key. Finding the right idea FOR YOU.
There are plenty of things we are all good at doing. And plenty of things that as resourceful hardworking women we could create success doing.
But to put in the kind of time and effort it takes to create sustainable income for ourselves and our families its important to find the right idea for YOU.
I hope you’ve already had your Ah Ha moment – but if you haven’t don’t give up!
Take a good look at what you are already good at. How can you use that to create an advantage?
You don’t have to be Uber or AirB&B to be innovative. Create your own micro disruption by “thinking about what’s right in front of you to create an advantage.”
For Maggie is was selling better salsa.
For me its using the core skills I’ve gained in my career and education.
What disruption opportunities are right in front of you?