Bruno Rojas Lopez 05/07/2020
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I have so many good ideas to fix everyone’s daily problems, if only I could bring these ideas to the market”? I bet you have, and like you, millions of people around the world have asked themselves the same question, with ultimately the same answer: “there’s so much competition nowadays, it’s impossible”. It’s true that in today’s world there’s a lot of competition, but it’s also true that there are a lot of new resources. In this article, I’ll be showing you how to share your ideas with the world in today’s markets and how to outmaneuver the big companies so you can be the boss of your market.
First, Identify yourself.
In this world, there are two types of innovators: User Innovators and Producer Innovators. User Innovators are those who detect issues in their own lives and quickly find the solution to it. User Innovators solve their problems, AND THEN, they may decide to diffuse their innovation with others. Producer Innovators solve other’s problems and try to figure out how to help them by using the tools and knowledge at their disposal. Normally, if you want to know your market well, it’s always better to be a User Innovator because you’ve been through the experience of others and therefore KNOW how others are feeling and how they may react to your product/service. User Innovators are in a better position to start innovative companies because they understand the needs better than producers.
As an entrepreneur, you have to analyze the costs and the benefits of starting your own company. Think about the abilities you bring to the problem; do you have the knowledge to fix that problem? Can you possibly modify it to fit the needs of others? How much time and effort will you be giving in exchange for the reward? All these things have to be analyzed carefully before trying to diffuse your product to the market. First things first: Your skill set should match the problem’s possible solution. “If your abilities and the problem don’t match then it could be impossible to give a solution to others simply because you can’t give it to yourself first! So, in that case, you must find a partner so both of you can use those tools to find a solution in the which best fits the needs of your customers.”(Eric Von Hippel, 2016)
Diffusing via “The Market” or “Peer-to-Peer”.
Diffusing through the market in 2020 can be very hard, that’s why Peer-to-Peer has become so famous nowadays. Peer-to-Peer is diffusing your product/service friend to friend for FREE. In this format of diffusion, you are decreasing the price for the adopter and increasing their value as well!
Despite its global use, Peer-to-Peer may not be for everyone. Diffusing Peer-to-Peer means that since you are giving your product/service for free, the benefits for the innovator may not be as high as the benefits for the adopter and therefore the benefits of both sides aren’t static. In the beginning, Peer to Peer diffusion might seem useless because of the effort and time put into the project, but in the long run, this method will attract a community of loyal customers who have tried your product and KNOW it works.
The second option for distributing your product/service is via the Market. Selling your idea for free is a great idea, but making money in exchange for your effort is also a great idea and has been for hundreds of centuries. Even today, selling ideas for money is the more widely used method. Distributing via the Market means that you have created a product of a certain value and have given it to your customer, you, therefore, are rewarded with resources which further allow you to build on the product and give your community greater value to the solution.
In case the User Innovator wants to further expand the brand or the company, they will have to meet the needs of a bigger population and may need to change or adapt the product/service so it fits the new audience. Distributing through the market also means the user has to worry about licensing their product as well as copyrighting, which is a cost Peer-to-Peer does not have to worry about.
Let’s get something straight- Big companies aren’t that scary
This is one of the best, if not the best advice you might receive about competing with big companies. First of all, as a “User Innovator, you know the market better than any other big company”(Eric Von Hippel, 2016). You’ve been through the actual problem, so you know exactly how the customers feel. The anger, the frustration, the small annoying details; you’ve dealt with all those problems and have solved them as well, therefore making and distributing a product which gives the answer is a piece of cake.
Second of all, “You as a User or Entrepreneur are typically serving a small and emerging market that may grow. Big companies don’t like small and emerging markets, they want to serve big markets that are established and stable” (Eric Von Hippel, 2016). Since your initial market is new and innovative, it may also be unstable and have either a positive or a negative engagement for the audience. You as a small company don’t have much to lose, but the big companies DO, and they won’t join that specific market until it has grown and has the potential to meet a bigger mass of audience to which they can sell to. This means that you have a certain period to develop and grow your market and audience before the big companies join the competition. You can use that time to grow and gain strength; you have advantages IF you use your time and resources wisely.
Eric Von Hippel, “Democratizing Innovation”, 2016.