Businesses all over the world steadily grow and try to compete against each other every day. While taking the slow and steady approach is certainly viable, it’s not what most entrepreneurs set out to do when they first launch their operations. Entrepreneurs typically understand the value of taking calculated risks, and of making an impact. Rather than simply surviving, they dream of disruption; of building a business that seemingly comes out of nowhere to permanently change an entire industry, and to leave its mark on society.
Disruptors don’t just slowly edge out competitors to set themselves up as industry leaders, they break into new markets, develop brand new solutions, and change the business environment around them in a way that forced their competitors to follow. They set a new standard that renders traditional competitors obsolete. While many entrepreneurs theoretically set out to do this, few will ever succeed. That’s because it’s incredibly difficult, and requires businesses to have the financial security, the skills, and the creativity to develop and implement disruptive ideas.
Creating financial security for a startup
Most startups today are still funded by the business owners’ own savings, personal loans, and informal loans from friends and family. In light of this, most new startups are forced to operate on a shoestring budget until they can begin generating sufficient profit to drive growth. Often, something as minor as a late client payment, equipment breakdown, or financing hiccup can interrupt operations, and cause further cash flow issues later on.
This kind of financial insecurity is a bad environment for innovation. Disruption isn’t a simple process, and often requires extensive brainstorming and experimentation that takes up valuable time and resources. Worse, that research and development won’t always pay off, and if it does, it might not do so very quickly. To manage setbacks, and to pursue disruptive innovation in the longer term, businesses need access to great financing.
Build a relationship with your alternative finance institution
Traditional banks are a great source for a long term business loan, but they aren’t designed to help manage the daily cash flow needs of a startup. Alternative institutions like Fifo Capital work directly with small businesses to provide custom-tailored financing solutions using invoice financing, supply chain finance, trade finance, unsecured business loans, and other great tools. These allow businesses to immediately come up with additional funds, whether it’s to deal with a cash flow shortage, or to fund a potential growth opportunity.
Get the skills your business needs
Because of the financial insecurity that many startups suffer from, many also find themselves dealing with a significant skills shortage. This is a serious issue, because improperly skilled or trained workers frequently need support from managers and business leaders to be effective. This creates an environment where everyone is focused on managing underperforming workers, instead of redefining their industry.
Disruptive businesses need workers who can not only perform well in their primary role, but also understand the broader context of their role in their industry to help develop novel solutions that support the business’ greater innovative goals.
Leverage diversity to boost innovation
Disruption is built on transformative changes, rather than more traditional incremental improvements. To facilitate this kind of change, innovators need to find new and different ways to approach problems. In addition to securing the skills they need to operate efficiently enough to allow for innovation, businesses also need to take steps to boost the creative resources they have access to to drive that innovation. After all, if a disruptive solution were obvious, it would already be an industry standard set by some other disrupter decades ago.
Experienced industry insiders, while essential to the smooth operation of your startup, are unlikely to bring those fresh ideas. Instead, startups need to invest in developing a diverse team of innovators with a broader range of professional backgrounds. This allows your team to combine orthodox industry expertise with skills and knowledge that haven’t previously been applied to the challenges your business faces. In this way, even businesses in older, well-established industries can generate new ideas and innovations that haven’t been explored by competitors.
Launching a startup can be a tough job on its own, and creating a business with the potential to be a disruptor is a task that requires an order of magnitude more dedication and planning. Fundamentally, it requires a more innovation-focused approach to doing business than most startups will ever achieve. To achieve this, businesses need to plug the skills gaps that keep their businesses from focusing on their future, and the financial issues that limit critical investment in innovation. By taking this strategic and comprehensive approach, entrepreneurs can create a more innovative environment with a much greater potential for disruption than their competitors.