21 Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Tips In Being Disruptive

Building a customer base now goes beyond offering cheap substandard products. Improvement and ease of marketing have made this all possible thanks to the rise of social media platforms. On the other hand, this also creates an environment for a hyper-competitive market across various sectors even those that looked immune to technology such as Healthcare. How can one stand out?

Here’s what entrepreneurs and business owners had to say on their best tips on being disruptive.

#1- Reach out

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

Keep an eye out for promising, hard-working talent. Reach out. Offer them the opportunity to go the distance. If you are in the position where you can help identify talent and offer them the chance to make, and leave, their mark within a specific organization do it!

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney,!

#2- Highlight the value of your brand

Photo Credit: Chris Riley

Our competitors have massive treasure chests, VC connections, and are sporting billion-dollar valuations. Talk about a challenge! The bottom line is we have to be super creative with regards to all aspects of our business, but particularly marketing. What I suggest to our marketing team as well as other small businesses, is to really highlight the value of your brand and how hard you worked to get it there while also mentioning that you are a small business. Dig into that small business narrative right now! These are challenging times for managing small businesses and the market is aware of that.

Thanks to Chris Riley, USA Rx!

#3- Stay ahead of the curve

Photo Credit: Derin Oyekan

A disruption is a radically new idea that creates a solution or provides value to a customer base that has been overlooked. If you want to be a disruptor in your industry you first have to start with looking at your own business and it’s structure. Analyze the market and gather data, always have your finger on the pulse when it comes to market shifts. Be willing to pivot and use innovation to your advantage. Changes in industry occur everyday, you have to be prepared to stay ahead of the curve. Building your business model to reflect your ability to use innovation in your favor will propel you to be a disruptor in your industry.

Thanks to Derin Oyekan, Reel Paper!

#4- Ask questions

Photo Credit: Dave Rohrer

Ask a lot of questions. Internally at a company a person could ask a simple question about why do we do X the way we do it?. From there you can keep asking questions and once you get past because that is the way we have always done it or because so and so showed me to do it that way and that is how I have done it. If you were in a new city 10 years ago you would walk out of your hotel or where you just had dinner and hope you could catch a cab. Now you open an application on your phone and have a car waiting for you.

Thanks to Dave Rohrer, NorthSide Metrics!

#5- Get objection

Photo Credit: Travis Peters

Employ a team of people that don’t think like you and give that team the freedom to make disruptive decisions. Leaders should make an effort to surround themselves with a team that likes to ask “why” and occasionally, when appropriate, likes to say “no”. Disruption happens as a result of objection and you have to give your team the creative freedom to reject ideas in order to disrupt them.

Thanks to Travis Peters, EightPM!

#6- Take strategic think time regularly

Photo Credit: Katharine Halpin

Ask yourself during this uninterrupted time behind a closed door, what red flags have we missed recently?  What did Bob mean by that comment the other day?  What should we be measuring that we are not currently measuring?  What does this dashboard really tell me?   When you give yourself this gift of time to take a step back and look at the big picture and ask yourself some tough questions that get you out of your comfort zone, you will start to see thousands of opportunities to disrupt.  Make a list and then sit with those for a day or so. Then prioritize and strategize.  Who would be interested to know this pattern or trend I'm seeing?  Who owns this issue?  Now that I've circled back with Bob and gathered more information, who needs to be briefed on this risk? Most people today are moving with so much intensity they are missing the red flags that are ever-present.  By being known as the person who can predict and see around corners, you will be recognized as an invaluable person in your organization. Plus, you'll be ensuring your organization addresses issues when they are only a burning ember instead of waiting until they have a bonfire to put out.

Thanks to Katharine Halpin, The Halpin Companies, Inc.!

#7- Cut the FOMO

Photo Credit: Ben Hopf

Sounds counterintuitive, but quit paying such close attention to the noise of what everyone else is doing. “But how can I be disruptive if I don’t know what to disrupt?” Yeah, I hear you. And it’s easier said than done, especially in today’s age of the never-ending distraction of notifications or pressure from investors to fit into a “proven model.” But the truth is, disruption stems from creative vision and it’s near impossible to incubate unique ideas if you don’t commit to the mental focus required to mature them. While transparent marketplaces and access to (effectively all) information can lead to faster innovation cycles, it can also obliterate disruptive ideas that originate too far from the “norm” of what everyone else is working on… or claiming to work on. If you have a creative idea–– uncork it, let it breathe, and stop worrying so much about the glass everyone else is sipping from.

Thanks to Ben Hopf, Atticus!

#8- Find a specific niche that has not been catered to

Photo Credit: Ivan Fatovic

In our instance, we disrupted traditional family forming options through the creation of Modamily, since beforehand no one really thought about using an app to find someone to co-parent, be a surrogate or even be a sperm or egg donor. By providing a specific service no one had cornered the market on, we were able to pave the way for our brand.

Thanks to Ivan Fatovic, Modamily!

#9- Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo

Photo Credit: Gerry Miller

Before Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile in 1954 doctors and scientists touted that it was physically impossible, stating that the human body would collapse under the pressure. After he broke the 4-minute mile, suddenly dozens of athletes began breaking it too. This represents the entrepreneur’s mindset which drives disruption. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. It is our job to break the mold, set new standards, and subsequently inspire and elevate humankind, allowing us, as a people, to accomplish more than we once could otherwise.

Thanks to Gerry Miller, Cloudticity!

#10- Make your organization distinctive

Photo Credit: Kimberly Rath

Becoming distinctive is not just differentiating your brand. Differentiation only makes incremental gains, while becoming distinctive offers the ability to lead the market. Understanding what makes your organization distinctive and provides an ability to see blue ocean opportunities in the marketplace. This is when you have a vista to be disruptive.

Thanks to Kimberly Rath, Talent Plus!

#11- Utilise live video

Photo Credi: Dan Vetras

The most effective and disruptive CEOs are those who stand in front of their companies to assert meaningful change. Businesses undergoing digital transformation take note – if you want to be increase adoption of new technologies, it must come from the top. While not a new innovation, live video is key to helping business leaders enforce impactful changes and sell in key messaging to colleagues and teams, especially during a time of mass remote working. Executives must support this by visibly reinforcing the behaviors and values that make new ideas stick. Whether you need to energize your company’s culture, navigate through challenging times or are trying to achieve buy-in for a corporate initiative, live video lets you leverage emotion, bond with a distributed workforce and be a disruptive leader.

Thanks to Dan Vetras, Kollective!

#12- Develop a culture of constructive challenge

Photo Credit: Simon Dannatt

Disruption comes from looking at what is happening and asking ‘if we did this (instead), what would happen’ in a really open and honest way. Getting teams to be comfortable with challenging the accepted norm by asking why? why not? and what if?.. and learning how to be comfortable having that question asked of you, a lot!

Thanks to Simon Dannatt, The Sound: Exploration, Strategy, Innovation!

#13- Do not quit

Photo Credit: Romana Kuts

Look at this phrase, delete a few symbols, and leave only the first two and the last two letters. As a result, you will get the most important advice – Do It. If something feels hard you should understand that it is right. Only while destroying something old, you can build something modern and new. We are not talking about physical objects, we are focusing on technologies, healthcare, companies, teams, and even relationships between people. The most important tips are to never give up because a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

Thanks to Romana Kuts, GTM Plus!

#14- Learn to say “No.”

Photo Credit: Michael S. Seaver

Our days can quickly be filled with interruptions and distractions. Americans often equate being busy with being successful and wear it like a badge of honor. The more stress, pressure, and responsibilities we have, the closer we are to accomplishing our goal. Is this actually true? Thankfully, stay at home orders are teaching us it's okay to slow down. In the stillness, clarity can be found. How about we make it societally acceptable to hustle less and align more? Align our actions with our strengths, our core values, our personal brand. By saying “no” to requests for our time that drain our energy, don’t help us learn something new or prolong the accomplishment of our goals, we disrupt the status quo. Every choice, no matter how small, alters your life’s trajectory.

Thanks to Michael S. Seaver, Seaver Consulting, LLC!

#15- Think like a beginner

Photo Credit: Ruggero Loda

If you do what everyone else is doing, you get what everyone else is getting. This means that disruptions rely on you thinking like a beginner instead of repeating what’s already been done. I find that one simple question helps here. Just ask yourself, “how would I do this if I couldn’t do it the “regular way”?”. Take the established way of doing things off the table and you’ll find it easy to think up new solutions together with your team.

Thanks to Ruggero Loda, Running Shoes Guru!

#16- Improve the new normal

Photo Credit: Shayne Sherman

Clients, customers, and associates alike are asking how they can adapt to the raft of changes that have already occurred this year, while preparing for what's next. You don't need to be a virtual reality startup or a biotech firm to be a leader in a changing global economy. Start with finding your footing with the tech and workflows you'll be using, then look at your current offerings with more scrutiny than you ever have before. What are you doing now that can be improved – or changed entirely – to mesh better with the way we work now? A lot of companies are going to resist this change and be swept up in it rather than swimming with the changing waters. A few will ride the wave and show the rest of us where it might end up. Being disruptive means being willing to stand out.

Thanks to Shayne Sherman, TechLoris!

#17- Find a strategy to stick to

Photo Credit: Mike Allen

A strategy that will not only turn all marketing rules upside down but shake the perception of the whole industry you’re working in for the better. Your motive should be to encourage brands to rethink their structures more than just their marketing and advertisement plans. If you wish to make a change, start by conducting random market experiments. Add an element of surprise by collaborating with different fund-raising services to get a grip on what’s new and trending in the market. So, now when you produce your product, you will be better aware of what the customer is truly looking for, along with who your competitors are. Conducting these in-house experiments will give you control over the new products you want to launch, especially over the costs and the risks attached to them.

Thanks to Mike Allen, The Fashion Jacket!

#18- Take more risks

Photo Credit: Oliver Bravo

When you study companies that have been disruptive, you notice the same pattern over and over again. The company that caused a disruption did what everyone else was too afraid to do. It's not about what brilliant ideas you have, it's about how you execute your ideas. And to execute any brilliant ideas, one must be a gambler, one must take risk. It's understandable that companies don't want to be reckless. That's human nature. But taking calculated risks is what separates the disrupters from the rest.

Thanks to Oliver Bravo, Best Lawsuit Loans LLC!

#19- Conduct a goal root analysis

Photo Credit: Gregory Offner

You've decided to make a disruption, and you want to avoid being on the wrong end of the 70% failure rate, as reported by Harvard Business School, of corporate disruption & innovation. Enter: Root Goal Analysis (RGA). Let's say you want to make a disruption that will position you or your company to be the market/industry leader. Can you answer the question: Why do you want to be the market leader? That question may seem inane, but to be the market leader isn't a root goal. It's actually an incomplete goal; a surface goal. Root goals drive us through the inevitable setbacks and challenges that will arise with any disruption, and the RGA process seeks to identify why you want to be the market leader (or whatever your goal is)…then takes THAT answer and asks why again, and again, and again, until we arrive at what philosophers call an autotelic goal – your root goal – which is defined as that which, of itself, is the goal. Since asking why (repeatedly) may feel too confrontational for some, there are two other phrases you can use in this process: – What will achieving (surface goal) enable me to do, to be, or to feel? or; – I want to (surface goal) so that I can _____.

Thanks to Gregory Offner, Global Performance Institute!

#20- Impromptu brainstorming

Photo Credit: Chris Gadek

If you want to ensure that your company is promoting a culture that embraces disruptions in the market, never hold back from an impromptu brainstorming session! These can occur in the middle of a Slack channel, in a structured meeting or during lunch – the place is irrelevant, but the attitude is everything. For disruptions to occur, innovation and creativity must be at the forefront of the strategy, and there's no better way to experience this than through tossing around a few ideas with others. What may begin as just a spark can break into wildfire once everyone begins to fan the flame.

Thanks to Chris Gadek, ADQUICK!

#21- Pick your moments

Photo Credit: Harry Anapliotis

Look for catastrophes in business or just another business trying the same idea, yet failing again. You don’t need to have a unique mindset or business to be a disrupter, you just need to pick your moments. Learning from your own mistakes is a long road to success, however, learning from others is a much quicker and less stressful way to the top. The information on every company – past/present, successful or not is at our fingertips; on the Internet. Finding out all the things that went wrong gives you all the tools and information to go with what will work.

Thanks to Harry Anapliotis, Rental Center Crete!

What’s your best tip for being disruptive? 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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