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

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- There’s never a right moment

Photo Credit: Yang Zhang

Look for three-to-five competitors in your industry. If they're all doing more or less the same thing, it probably isn't the right time for disruption. However, if each product or service offering has at least one differentiator, then you're looking at an industry that's ripe for disruption. You can essentially create a product that takes everything unique about the competition and bundles it into one, creating unprecedented value along the way.

Thanks to Yang Zhang, Plasmic!

#2- When you master your industry

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Gabriel

You really need to master your own industry first before you consider disruption. Think of Pablo Picasso—we know him from his abstract work, but he spent years creating realistic portraits that resemble what we can see with our eyes. Only when he mastered a naturalist style did he break ground with Cubism, disrupting the entire art world. You'll know you're ready to disrupt when the constraints of what you're doing feel so limiting that you simply must go beyond them to create something new. The ideas come to you once you've reached that level of mastery.

Thanks to Jeffrey Gabriel,!

#3- When using outdated technologies

Photo Credit: Mikita Mikado

Disruption, while most noticed in flashy or buzzy industries, is often most effective in shaking up long-term business practices that keep organizations from evolving and scaling. When old methods are used because that is the way things have always been done, and not because they are the best solutions available, there is an opportunity to shake up the market. Document automation is one such example. Those who do adopt automated document workflow solutions see impressive gains in productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability.

Thanks to Mikita Mikado, PandaDoc!

#4- No innovation for a while

Photo Credit: Jared Stern

The presence of an active problem and no effort made to solve such a problem is a telltale sign of an industry’s disruption. If similar practices have been employed to solve customer problems and there has been no innovation in a long time, jump right in! First, it is essential to determine how many critical customer needs are being met. Is there an innate need that has not taken the spotlight? Dig deep in, and that will be the guiding factor to executing the disruption.

Thanks to Jared Stern, Uplift Legal Funding!

#5- When touch with customers is lost

Photo Credit: James Crawford

When an industry goes for years without any improvement (in products, processes, systems, etc.) and loses touch with its customers, it’s the right moment for a disruption. Sometimes it can be hard to detect that because customers can get used to the way this industry is run, and they get comfortable with it, but a good way to determine that is to look at the major players. If an industry’s major players are plateauing and doing the same thing over and over again, then it’s time to pump new blood into it.

Thanks to James Crawford, DealDrop!

#6- When it gets stagnant

Photo Credit: James Watts

From experience, the right moment to disrupt an industry is when it’s slightly stagnant. If the same players have been in the industry for a long time, having a new and interesting company work up the ranks can be exciting for people. As a result of this, you’re more likely to be noticed and cause disruption. While some people see disruption as a negative thing, it’s not. It provides healthy competition within your niche, and it helps to keep an industry alive. Disruption is always essential when it happens at the right time!

Thanks to James Watts, Own The Grill!

#7- When a solution is required

Photo Credit: Curran Van Waarde

The best time to disrupt is when you know that the market is ripe for a solution to an ongoing challenge. This is what sparked the creation and growth of my business, CallScaler. We disrupted the trend of not being able to measure the success of digital marketing campaigns by coming up with a solution for one client. We then used the prototype to develop a larger business venture, to offer this solution to many others. Disruption is offering solutions that will enable businesses to reach new heights of innovation and success.

Thanks to Curran Van Waarde, CallScaler!

#8- When there are no current technological trends

Photo Credit: Pauline Delaney

Any industry that is having issues and facing inefficiency and recession or wants to change because of technological advancement is ready for disruption. Disruption becomes necessary when we recognize that our business is lagging behind in the market and lacks current technological trends that are required to meet customer requirements. Any new product in the market that is better and superior to the existing products can easily shift the focus of consumers towards itself.

Thanks to Pauline Delaney, CV Genius!

#9- When the opportunity appears

Photo Credit: Rafał Młodzki

The right moment to disrupt an industry is when you notice and realize the “window of opportunity”. It’s the moment when some existing solutions are too complicated, and others are too simple. For example, consider software services. Imagine there is a product dedicated to pro users, which is too complicated for most people. On the other hand, there is another product serving a similar purpose, but with only basic functionality to satisfy newbies. Here is the window of opportunity. That’s the moment to disrupt an industry.

Thanks to Rafal Mlodzki, Passport-Photo Online!

#10-  When not using the latest technologies

Photo Credit: Chris Gadek

An excellent opportunity to be disruptive is when your competitors are reluctant to embrace the latest technologies that drive social change. Cryptocurrency is just one example of this. While many of us have the assurance that our paychecks are deposited into our bank accounts, there are more than 3 billion people across the globe who do not have access to reliable banks. This need for expanded payment options is causing a surge in the global cryptocurrency market.

Thanks to Chris Gadek, AdQuick!

#11- Whenever you are ready

Photo Credit: Danielle Bedford

Going by the rule that the best time to do the right thing is now, the best time to disrupt an industry is now too. Of course, as long as you are ready! Disrupting an industry is not just about developing and introducing innovation or thought. It is also about gauging how this new development or idea will play out in the long run and whether it will truly impact the industry the right way. Once you get a grip on this, waste no time introducing the disruption through impactful channels.

Thanks to Danielle Bedford, Coople!

#12- When identifying current pain points

Photo Credit: Sheila Eugenio

A lot of people ask themselves how do you know when it's the right moment to disrupt an industry. The truth is that disruption is a constant. It's not just about creating something new, but about changing the way that things are done. The first step to disrupting an industry is to understand what the current pain points are for those in your target audience. What do they need and what don't they have? Once you know this, you can craft a solution that will be more attractive than what currently exists in the market.

Thanks to Sheila Eugenio, Media Mentions!

#13- When there is stagnancy

Photo Credit: Mary Jurgensen

Disruptions provide growth and momentum to the industry, so if it’s been a while since a particular industry has experienced any new spurt or innovation, the time is indeed ripe for some change. Every element in a business, and therefore an industry, can always be tweaked and made better, completely overhauled, or even eliminated if required if the result is a more refined business or organizational process. Without timely disruptions, no industry can beat stagnation or move forward to achieve and deliver more.

Thanks to Mary Jurgensen, Gary and Mary West Pace!

#14- When the business model is outdated

Photo Credit: Ruth Shin

Finding the right time to disrupt is guided by at least 2 factors: an outdated business model and the availability of technologies to innovate products and services to change customers' needs. In real estate, for example, using machine learning and AI makes finding a home easier and faster with listings that match preferences and financial requirements with available properties. This is beneficial for both nest seekers and real
estate agents. As it is a win-win for all, the time is ripe for disruption.

Thanks to Ruth Shin, Property Nest!

#15- When there are complaints

Photo Credit: Nathan Grieve

The right time to disrupt an industry would be self-awareness, for example, when you get similar complaints from your loyal customers. Complaints regarding a specific product and its limited functionality are some indicators that it’s the right time for disruption. Technology lies at the heart of innovation and can disrupt an industry operating on conventional methods. You would require in-depth industry knowledge if you wish to disrupt a sector.

Thanks to Nathan Grieve, Impersonate Me!

#16- When you have innovative solutions

Photo Credit: Jeff Johnson

It’s the right moment to disrupt an industry when you have an innovative solution for a problem. If you have a business model or a technology that can outperform the traditional suppliers, you should consider industry disruption. Identify the right industry before you jump in and do some research before pitching your idea to potential partners or investors. Remember, industry distribution does not have to be humongous; even a small change in layout can drastically change the consumer response.

Thanks to Jeff Johnson, How To Sell House Fast!

#17- When there is customer dissatisfaction

Photo Credit: Charles Hua

Industry disruption is most effective when there’s been a long period of customer dissatisfaction that hasn’t been addressed by business owners of that industry. At any given time, there are usually a few industries or services that are widely disparaged by customers, critics, comics, and media. However, those industries do not see a decrease in revenue. This is the perfect storm for industry disruption: dissatisfied customers of a financially stable industry that has no incentive to change will support a startup.

Thanks to Charles Hua, Poised!

#18- When customer expectations are not satisfied

Photo Credit: Adam Crossling

For me, if you conduct some industry research and find out that some major players in the industry are finding it tough to satisfy customers, that’s the time to swoop in with disruption. This is because you already know customer expectations are not being met, so they would be more likely to switch allegiances if a major competitor comes in and provides them with what they want. We should look no further than the example of the taxi industry in this regard. People were very unsatisfied and were only using cabs. The entry of Uber into this space totally disrupted the industry.

Thanks to Adam Crossling, Zenzero!

#19- When you analyze the current trends

Photo Credit: Carl Panepinto

The right time to disrupt any particular industry is to analyze the current trends and wait for the precise moment to introduce a new product. First, the important thing is to find the saturation point in any industry. This is an essential step as consumers need to be looking for a new product in the market. It can be the result of product saturation and the industry failing to fulfill customer needs. The need to invest in a unique product or service arises from the industry failing to function consistently.

Thanks to Carl Panepinto, Bumper!

#20- When there's an imbalance in market share

Photo Credit: Michelle Arnau

One of the key signs that an industry can be disrupted is imbalance or dominance by one side of the economic equation. This typically occurs when a few companies have
consolidated vast amounts of the market share either on the supply or demand side. When things change, those big companies are often too complex to adapt to new technologies. Enter startups, who can work fast and develop quickly. When you enter an industry with these dynamics, you’ll likely find opportunities to ‘shock the system’ and disrupt the industry.

Thanks to Michelle Arnau, Rowan for Dogs!

#21- When customers aren't served well

Photo Credit: Bobby Klinck

An industry is ripe for disruption when you see that customers aren’t getting the services that they actually need. We see this in the online business space, where a lot of gurus teach ninja tactics and solutions with short-lived results. Many entrepreneurs get a misconception that building an online business is easy, you only have to follow a guru’s step-by-step guide and you’re good to go, or that you have to pay thousands of dollars for information.

Thanks to Bobby Klinck, BobbyKlinck!

#22- When consumer feedback is negative

Photo Credit: Jordan Duran

When business practices aren’t changing despite negative consumer feedback—it’s time. This is one of the most glaring instances of an industry ready for disruption. Consumers seek solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. Their insight is extremely valuable, as it provides a guide of sorts to help better cater to their needs and also improve products, services, etc. When they speak, we listen and react accordingly. If nothing changes after consumers’ concerns are voiced, then the time is ripe to disrupt an industry.

Thanks to Jordan Duran, 6 Ice!

#23- When there are unsolved problems

Photo Credit: Natalia Sadowski

It's time for a disruption when an industry is going through the motions. There's been little to no change, and there are issues that no one is trying to fix. For example, the cosmetics industry faced a huge disruption when FENTY Beauty created an inclusive line of foundations available for all skin tones. Rihanna saw there was a problem in the billion-dollar industry and changed the way we look at skin moving forward. It takes one person to create a movement in the industry – it all depends on the timing and how the industry is currently operating.

Thanks to Natalia Sadowski, Nourishing Biologicals!

#24- When the market is dominated by few

Photo Credit: Isaiah Henry

When a market is either highly overserved or highly underserved, it could be time for disruption. If you want to introduce a new product or service to the market, ensure there’s a need and that the time is right. Are customers being overlooked in favor of stakeholders? Is the industry currently being dominated by large corporations? Or maybe the industry has become stagnant? If you can answer yes to at least one of these questions, then it’s the right moment for disruption.

Thanks to Isaiah Henry, Seabreeze!

#25-  Lots of big players with high barriers

Photo Credit: Lyle Florez

Pay attention to three factors; Timing: When there are multiple decades of the same business practices, and no, there is no major innovation. No Assets: can shift market share without the need for expensive asset costs. Friction: When customers have a sense of friction in their old experience. Disruptive solutions remove friction from the experience and product. When an industry is dominated by many big players with high barriers to entry, that is the most appropriate time for startups to stir some disruption.

Thanks to Lyle Florez, EasyPeopleSearch!

#26- Presence of negative consumer sentiment

Photo Credit: Zarina Bahadur

You can find tons of processes in the world that are readily despised by consumers for multiple reasons yet tops the list of a necessity in the world. This is why it's time for a disruption in the industry. Look out for the applications or tools used by consumers in their daily lives that do not bring them optimum benefits yet are used regularly for their
necessities in their lives. This is when a new alternative can be a savior to the industry. Not only will it be easier to market the new technology to the users, but it will also prove to be way more profitable as it focuses on most of the consumer's issues of their life.

Thanks to Zarina Bahadur, 123 Baby Box!

#27- When you find a simple solution

Photo Credit: Ansar Hammad

You know it's the right moment to disrupt an industry when you've found a simple solution to a very big problem. When I say ‘simple,' I mean that the solution is easy to use and easy to implement. It should feel like a no-brainer solution for the large set of customer segments that have been struggling for years. The best example is Uber. Today it seems like such an obvious idea, but 10 years ago people were still calling taxis. But then Uber came along and disrupted the entire taxi/transportation industry with their simple, way of booking rides from your phone.

Thanks to Ansar Hammad, Entire Looks!

#28- When service to customers is poor

Photo Credit: Michelle Devani

In this world, the only thing that remains constant is change. Change is necessary, even if we resist it. It is necessary for growth. I understand that disrupting a business is a huge step, but if it benefits the company, why not? The best time to disrupt a business is when it has failed to communicate with its customers, in my opinion. For instance, if an industry fails to provide the best service to its clients, unfavorable feedback is likely to follow.

Thanks to Michelle Devani, Lovedevani!

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.

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