16 Entrepreneurs Share Ideas On The Right Time To Disrupt an Industry Ideas

Is it about timing? Is it technological factors?

What are the indicators that an industry is ripe for disruption?

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about the right time to disrupt an industry and here are the responses.

#1- Right now

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

I think if you have to ask the question, you likely already know the answer. The right time to disrupt an industry — for good purposes — is usually right now. There's no time like the present and you're already in it. Do what you can to help others in need, innovate, and create change with the tools, skills, and resources you possess.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney,!

#2- In four instances

Photo Credit: Milos Mudric

The ideal timing to disrupt an entire industry might be when: there is lack of understanding for the possibilities of an industry on other businesses or entire society (for example AI or Internet of Things), there is occurrence of a new specific need in high demand, there is an invention of a new technology that could change the industry, or disruptive situations such as economic crises, world war or for instance
COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Milos Mudric, SEO Brainiac!

#3- Focus on the business than the customer

Photo Credit: Kenny Trinh

Typically any industry is ripe for innovation when it focuses more on the business rather than the customer. If you see an industry leader talk about operational and financial issues more than the customer needs, that is your signal right there. Typically such hubris is found in markets where there are only a handful of “dominant” players or the market is being labeled as “mature”. Another giveaway is when the offerings from different players are the same/ similar, the way to do business is dictated by the supplier (and is rarely easy or intuitive), and frankly you as a user feel like “there’s got to be
a better way.

Thanks to Kenny Trinh, Netbooknews!

#4- When industry leaders are stagnating

Photo Credit: Zach Gemignani

I look at the leading competitors in a market. If the incumbents are fixated on adding more and more capabilities and targeting larger customers, then the market may be ready for disruption. These competitors have developed a static idea of what their core customer base needs and are pouring investment into filling every last requirement. These industries are ripe for a fresh approach to reach underserved customers.

Thanks to Zach Gemignani, Juice Analytics!

#5- When customers are frustrated

Photo Credit: Mark A. Cleveland

It's the right time to disrupt an industry when that's the way it is becomes something the industry believes. When at least 2 percent of customers are frustrated every year and churn. When 2 percent of a big company's customers could make a wonderful little business for someone else. In those scenarios, you need to fire people who think that's the way it is, or risk losing business to more innovative competitors.

Thanks to Mark A. Cleveland, Hytch Rewards!

#6- Prospects immediately understand the pain point you are solving

Photo Credit: Diana Ross

When prospects from multiple verticals in an industry immediately understand the problem your solution solves, and are eager to give you their time and money, you know it's the right time to disrupt an industry. In our case, we launched our new product (GetEmails) as a feature in our already existing email marketing platform. Our schedules filled up quickly, sales calls lasted under 10 minutes, and prospects were willing to pay us $125 to test the service. This proved that there was an opportunity to help grow revenue for customers online and motivated us to invest in building a full platform around the offering.

Thanks to Diana Ross, GetEmails!

#7- Always

Photo Credit: Marc Snyderman

It's always the right time to disrupt an industry. Why do I say this? Because there truly is no way to gauge the best time and doing that will undoubtedly cause you to miss the time to enter and move a market. Disruption is challenging – it's moving mountains sometimes and adoption will be much slower than you anticipate, but if you have a solution that is truly disruptive and makes a market better you can win. So I say, don't wait for the right time, make the right time.

Thanks to Marc Snyderman, Esq., Snyderman Law Group!

#8- During perfect competition

Photo Credit: Lohith Kumar

The right time to disrupt an industry is when you have too many companies that are too big to fail in an industry. When the whole market is divided among 3 or so companies, a saturation sets in and it becomes an environment of perfect competition. In such a scenario, each company is worried only in keeping it's market share and the product or service differences between them is minimal. Even if a company wants to innovate, it becomes easy for others to copy the innovation & the differentiating factor disappears. This is the perfect time to bring in a radical approach to the market and gain some of the market share. Also it is easier to get acquired in such a market where each company is unable to out innovate one another.

Thanks to Lohith Kumar, Blinkvisa!

#9- The Black Swan Events

Photo Credit: Rajiv Lamba

These rare and unexpected events have come and gone through history. And never failed to cause an ‘impact'. They lie so much outside the realm of your regular expectations, that they compel you to think outside the box. And as your survival instincts kick into gear, you realize that taking a step ahead and focusing on what's the current trend is going to be of most importance. In such scenarios, it's important to keep a long term perspective. Because only then you can make innovations happen. Ultimately every industry, directly or indirectly, is working in response to the customer demands.

Thanks to Rajiv Lamba, SurveySensum!

#10- Business practices are not changing

Photo Credit: Camilo Atkinson

The best moment to disrupt an industry is when business practices are not changing, despite customer insatisfaction and negative feedback. Uber is probably the best example. The majority of users were complaining about the Taxi service, the high fares, and lack of security. Despite customer insatisfaction, that was something the taxi companies were not willing to change. When Uber came, it disrupted the industry by giving the users an alternative that had corrected everything that was wrong within the private transportation industry.

Thanks to Camilo Atkinson, blimpp!

#11- When three things happen

Photo Credit: Jan Webering

Whenever paradigm shifts occur, established structures break down and things change on a large scale: That’s when new opportunities arise. This can happen through new competitors on the market; it can happen through new products, innovative services or changes in the legal situation – or, as in the present case, through a crisis. One could put on record – as the well-known saying goes: Every crisis is an opportunity for disruption“. And this one is no different at all.

Thanks to Jan Webering, Avenga!

#12- When players in the industry are consolidated

When an industry only has a few players, this means it is ripe for disruption. An entrenched mentality has set in. They are enjoying their success without much worry from and outside. Do your research how they are interacting with their customers. The technology they are using and business practices. If you're research find these are outdated, the industry is ripe for disruption.

Thanks to Andy LaPointe, Traverse Bay Farms!

#13- In case of a frustration or disappointment

Photo Credit: Ram Krishnna Rao

Ironically, you never really know when is the right time to disrupt an industry. A better way to see if a change is coming is when you start to identify a better, faster or cheaper way to provide a product or service. If you are feeling disgruntled with the current product or service offering then there's a pretty good chance that a few other people will also start to feel this frustration. So I would say, look for frustration or disappointment and that is where disruption will soon hit the market and the right time for you as a leader to disrupt the industry.

Thanks to Ram Krishnna Rao, MarketOrders!

#14- When you find the solution to bridge the digital divide

Photo Credit: Lukas Kinigadner

In an increasingly digital world, it can feel like every part of life is being optimized and automated. But surprisingly, there are still hundreds of moments every day when businesses grind to a halt – or reach a bottleneck – because they still use basic manual processes. I call them ‘digital divides'. From factories still using paper-based systems, to utility companies sending technicians to write down your meter reading, once you notice them, they are everywhere!  A great time to disrupt an industry is when you find the solution to bridge the digital divide that is holding your business back. Removing these simple inefficiencies can give you the competitive advantage that makes the difference.

Thanks to Lukas Kinigadner, Anyline!

#15- When there's a sustained period of cost growth versus stagnant value growth

Photo Credit: Shaan Patel

Put simply, consumers are paying more and more money for products or services that don't return increased value. The health care system has notoriously shown a hike in costs with little to no return in increased value. That's why entrepreneurs in telemedicine and other areas are swooping in now to counterbalance the situation.

Thanks to Shaan Patel, Prep Expert!

#16- It will never feel completely safe to do it

Photo Credit: Natalie Ruiz

The right time to disrupt an industry is when there is a problem to solve, and the available solutions just don't cut it anymore. For us, we sought out the right technology to support our endeavor, mapped out how we could experiment in an iterative way, and measure success and failure, and got to work. It will never feel completely safe to disrupt the upset quo; do it anyway.

Thanks to Natalie Ruiz,!

How do you know when it's the right moment to disrupt an industry Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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