TMCnet Feature
April 29, 2021

Industry Disruptors/Entrepreneurs You Admire

The world of business is in constant flux, reinventing itself every day with innovation big and small. The most significant shifts come from disruptive entrepreneurs and innovators who see things in a new light and completely shift the status quo.

We sat down with several industry leaders to ask them about their personal favorite innovators in the modern business landscape. Their answers revealed a lot. Here’s what they said.

Personal Care Pioneers

Can you think of any industries that simply weren’t on the map until recently? Expanding audiences, reaching new demographics, and mapping out new market territory – those are the signs of real innovation.

“I am a huge admirer of innovators on social media who have made men’s skincare a thing over the past several years,” said Benjamin Smith, Founder and CEO of Disco. “For a long time, men had no idea what was good or bad for their skin. We now live in a time when guys can openly discuss products, routines, and all things self-improvement.”

Real disruptors look beyond the current landscape and create opportunities for themselves that never existed before.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

In many industries, it’s a game of David and Goliath. Every business had to start somewhere, and there are often lessons to be learned from their ascension to the top.

“There are so many big-name jewelers who paved the way in our industry, but I really appreciate the small businesses that bring quality jewelry to people for better prices with superior service,” said Omid Semino, CEO of Diamond Mansion. “It’s us versus the big-name retailers, and the competition is stiff. Anyone fighting for the little guy is approved in my book.”

We all love a good underdog story, and our favorite businesses inspire us to take our own professional lives to the next level.

Challenges Await

We often think of disruption as beneficial, and this is usually the case for small businesses on the up-and-up. However, many companies are on the receiving end of the disruption, and things aren’t always so easy.

“The reason why it is so difficult for existing firms to capitalize on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business model that make them good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing for the disruption,” said Clayton Christensen, former Harvard Business School Professor and the foremost authority on disruptive innovation.

Always consider both sides of the coin when it comes to disruptive tech – there are going to be winners and losers in every scenario.

Marketing Mavericks

The fundamentals of marketing have remained the same for decades – get the products in front of the customers and position them in the best possible light.

Of course, countless innovations have taken place in the marketing tech arena, and these advancements give small businesses a huge advantage in the modern marketplace.

“We should all give respect to the marketers who bring small businesses to the forefront and put them in direct competition with major corporations,” said Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder of WOW Skin Science. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without forward-thinking online marketers who excel at targeting, advertising, and sales funnels.”

What are the marketing tools in your arsenal that you can’t live without?

Modernized Supply Chains

Perhaps the biggest disruption in modern business is the revolution against the middleman.

So many small businesses are skipping that step and getting great products to customers at better prices and with superior service.

“In the world of fashion, digital information by way of data analytics is allowing the direct-to-consumer model to flourish and disrupt the traditional retail model,” said Dan Potter, Co-Founder of Craftd London. “We view ourselves as a disruptor, eliminating the middleman and excessive markups common in our industry. Through analytics, we can predict consumer demand and in turn, modernize our supply chain.”

Look at your favorites brands of the current moment and you’ll likely see the power of the direct-to-consumer model on full display.

Logistics Heroes

Even without the middleman, it takes a huge logistical capacity to orchestrate the behind-the-scenes operations at any business.

From back-end databases to payment processors and everything in between, every company has an army of support from across industries allowing them to grow fast and sustainably.

“There’s an unbelievable amount of technology and logistics behind any online business, whether you’re selling a digital or physical product,” said Brent Sanders, CEO of Wicksly. “We all need to respect the remarkable innovations that go into the small things we take for granted in our daily operations.”

The next time you order a simple product online, think about how many third-party programs and inputs go into the overall experience.

Empowered by Analytics

Take a glimpse at any modern analytics platform and it looks like something out of a science fiction movie from the 90s. Just a few short years ago, we couldn’t have even dreamed up the incredible tech that is now at our fingertips.

“The sheer power of today’s marketing technology is really something to behold,” said Jeff Goodwin, Senior Director of Performance Marketing and Ecommerce at Orgain. “Just a few years back, we didn’t have this level of insight and analysis into our campaigns or operations. Those are the innovations that push the business forward on a macro level.”

It’s no longer just about analyzing the past, but predicting the future and anticipating the needs of a new generation of online customers.

Shortcuts to Success

Business has always been about risk and reward, and introducing a disruptive technology is truly the ultimate risk. Entrepreneurs put their livelihoods and reputations on the line to achieve great things, and that’s how monumental success stories begin.

“Meaningful innovation does not need to be based on outright invention,” said Innovation Expert Gabor George Burt. “Rather, there is an exhilarating shortcut. It is based on bold, new combinations of already existing components that simultaneously unlock heightened levels of consumer value and reduce costs.”

Remember – not all innovations need to be completely revolutionary. They often just move the dial a little bit, with the effects compounding massively over time.

Athletes and Entrepreneurs

Why do we hang posters on the wall or keep inspiration boards on our desktops? Simply seeing the imagery of our favorite figures gives us a boost of motivation when we need it most.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple sources of inspiration on my entrepreneurial journey,” said Rachel Geicke, Founder and CEO of Snow Monkey. “I’m incredibly close to my father, who’s an entrepreneur as well and instilled many entrepreneurial values in me from an early age. I look up to powerhouse entrepreneurs like Sara Blakely, who paved the way for the next generation of female founders and business owners. My biggest source of inspiration, though, is probably female athletes like Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Lindsay Vonn, and Lisa Leslie.”

Your favorite icon doesn’t even need to be in your own industry to inspire! Look around the world of business and beyond to find your idols.

Captains of Capital

We usually look at the final products, the victory laps, the celebrations. Little do we realize that there are people working tirelessly to even get a business moving in the first place.

With so many moving parts in modern business, it’s important to acknowledge all the pieces of the puzzle.

“Shout out to all the VC soldiers grinding it out each day and giving small businesses the shot they deserve,” said Roy Ferman, CEO and Board Chairman of Seek Capital. “This is an industry that takes a lot of work and dedication, and so much of it happens behind the scenes. They all deserve some extra credit for making things happen and bringing dreams to life.”

When your business is in need of a boost, you too will understand the importance of raising funds and getting the fuel required to take off to the skies.

AI Tech, Real Results

There’s been more than enough talk about AI in current business circles, but it’s always refreshing to see the technology actually applied in a constructive, meaningful way.

Many AI inventions are still coming to life, so be aware of which ones are making waves and changing the way we enjoy products and services.

“Using AI to create customized skincare formulas as we do is extremely rare,” said Ming Zhao, CEO and Co-Founder of Proven Skincare. “In this sense Proven Skincare is a disruptor in the skincare industry. Furthermore we only sell through e-commerce unlike many other skincare brands. We have broken the mold within the skincare industry in terms of our business model and in valuing the utmost integrity with what we promise to our customers in terms of accommodating their particular skin types, rather than promising the same results with the same skincare product for different skin types.”

Whether you’re an AI advocate or skeptic, you can’t deny that these innovations are making waves in the modern marketplace.

Creative Powerhouses

Those designs, logos, websites, and workflows all had to come from somewhere. Creation always precedes consumption, and we can’t forget that in a world that puts so much emphasis on intake and personal enjoyment.

“Designers, content creators, coders – anyone who builds things from scratch,” said Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands. “Without the people putting in work to generate original material, we’d have nothing to work with in the first place. Credit to the creators who make magic happen out of thin air!”

Creation doesn’t just happen by accident. Years of effort, engagement, and trial-and-error need to converge and make something special.

Automotive Innovators

It’s been about 100 years since the first production vehicles hit the pavement in the United States, and the automobile has certainly come a long way since then.

However, the way we research, shop, and use cars in the modern era completely rests on tech innovations from the past few decades. These days, it goes way beyond the old-school taxi service.

“There are not many other wheel and tire rental companies with the flexible payment options we offer, let alone a company like ours with over 135 locations in the U.S.,” said Matt Seaburn, Partner and President of Rent-a-Wheel. “Our unique niche within the automotive industry has allowed our business to continue to thrive.”

Getting from A to B has never been easier or more affordable, and we have brave disruptors to thank for these modern conveniences.

Scientific Groundwork

Some of us think of science as something removed from the market and reserved for research or academia. The truth is that science forms the foundation for so many things we enjoy each day.

“The doctors, scientists, and engineers behind our technology are the true innovators,” said Travis Killian, CEO and Founder of Everlasting Comfort. “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants, as they say. Without extensive research and rigorous testing, our favorite modern products and conveniences wouldn’t exist.”

From your office chair to your favorite thermos and everything else you rely on to get things done and stay comfortable – these are the culmination of science over thousands of years.

Home Sweet Home

Searching for a house or apartment is never straightforward, but imagine how much more difficult it used to be! Thanks to tech-based advancement in real estate, we can find a place to live across the country without even closing the laptop.

“Real estate is one of the oldest industries around, but there have been so many astounding innovations in just the past decade, especially online,” said Tyler Forte, Founder and CEO of Felix Homes. “Things happen so much faster, customers are more satisfied, and everyone makes money. It’s an incredible time to do business, and it’s only going to get better.”

Disruption of any kind is exciting, provocative, and yes, a little scary at times. However, it’s what keeps the fires of progress burning hot and pushing us towards a better tomorrow.

Who are your favorite modern innovators, and do you have what it takes to be the next big disruptor in your space?

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