Remember when we were kids building castles in the sand? They never lasted too long, though. The waves would take them out, or we would knock them down ourselves. We talked to Fred Cary, the CEO of IdeaPros, about what markets and sandcastles have in common and why we love to tear them down.
Tearing Sand Castles & Businesses Down
The current, the tides, the waves, and the passersby can all influence our sandcastles and tear them down. What do we do when that happens? We build a new, better one. Or it may be we don’t like what we built in the first place, so we decide to destroy it and start anew.
The same applies to business. You need that ‘’tear-them-down” mentality because you are trying to replace what’s already there. Don’t take a nibble out of the corner. Disrupt the existing marketplace by doing things WAY better than your competition. To do that, you need to understand the market and spend time on research.
“You don’t go into a football game without knowing everything there is to know about the other team.” – Fred Cary
Having limited resources means you have fewer players, worse equipment, and a lack of experience compared to the billion-dollar player you are confronting. But you can make up for that by pulling plays that no one has seen before. You are going to win by surprise and for that, you have to be prepared.
Being Ready To Change
There is a life cycle to everything we do. When IBM was making typewriters, Royal and Remington were making some amazing ones, too. But, when the tide came and took the typewriters away, IBM changed their mindset, process, and business which let them change the tide and the flow. They didn’t disappear. As a startup, you don’t have unlimited budgets to help you overcome the tide. Everything gets better and more complicated. You need to see it coming and build your castles away from it.
“You don’t get to see the view until you take the risk and jump into it.” – Tessa Ashford
Understanding The Problem
“You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is.” – Fred Cary
A lot of people create a solution to a problem that exists only for them. If you are the only one having the problem or you are a part of a very small subsection of consumers, then there is no legitimate need for your solution.
Once you do that, think about the pain points.
- What do people feel about it?
- What’s the psychological approach you have to take to go further?
“You are not just solving the problem. You are taking away the pain.” Tessa Ashford
When the first automobiles were invented, their competition was horses and buggies. They all solved the same problem: getting from point A to point B. The questions a car inventor would ask are:
- What does a horse do?
- How much does it cost to feed them?
- Can everybody afford a horse?
- How can I make this better?
- What about gas stations?
If there is a real problem, the chances are someone is already addressing it. So, your next question should be: How well are they addressing it?
Knowing Your Competition
Maybe it’s not being done perfectly, but someone is addressing that same pain. If you want to disrupt the market, you need to understand who your competitors are, and how they handle the problem. What are they doing well and what are they doing poorly?
“If you don’t understand your competition, you will come up with a marginally better solution. And marginally better is not good enough.” – Fred Cary
Especially if you have limited resources to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. There are many ways to research your competitors. Google is a great start. Some tools can help you with that, too, while Facebook has to be transparent about its ads. There is a lot of footwork before you decide you have a good solution.
Building Better Castles & Businesses
Once you understand the pain points and how your competition is addressing them, you need to make a solution better than the existing one. Not 10% better, but 1,000% better. You can’t disrupt a market full of billion-dollar companies by making something marginally better. If you have a great solution, you may get acquired, monstrously big, or fail. Because any time you are disrupting a marketplace, a lot of things will come at you. They will take you down a path full of pivot and potential, so don’t marry your ideas.
“ If you’re not prepared to win, you shouldn’t enter the battle.” – Fred Cary
There are no honorary prizes in entrepreneurship nor best effort medals. You are either going to win or to lose. So you better prepare to win.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.