Posted Monday 20th April 2015 by Danny Bannister, Total Solutions Group

From Incumbent to Disruptor

How do you change a mind-set to transform an incumbent business into that of an insurgent that disrupts marketplace?

From Incumbent to Disruptor

For a number of years my business has traded from Jersey very successfully, with established products and services in the Financial Services and Healthcare marketplace. This was a great place to be and we worked very hard to establish and maintain fantastic business relationships with clients and suppliers alike.

As far as setting up and running your own business is concerned we were doing pretty well. It could be said that setting up and running your own business to operate successfully and show a profit is the “Holy Grail” and could be viewed as success. And it was. I guess we became, without realising it, the incumbent.

But what do you do when you can see an opportunity to export and disrupt a marketplace with products you have developed to suit a local need? You have to change that incumbent mind-set to an insurgent.

Suddenly we were delivering into a new market overseas and disrupting and challenging the normal ways of doing business. Our healthcare product is changing behaviours and operating practices in the NHS and our Fintech product is delivering new ways of working and recovering hidden money through analytics, redefining processes both within our product and for our clients as we go.

So what is an insurgent mind-set when delivering a product? For a start everything is measured in hours and days, there is no such thing as year-long projects - products need to be ready now and when client feedback is received acted upon immediately.  Every testimonial is worth its weight in gold and should be the most important sales tool you ever use, publicise it relentlessly. So many of our new sales come through referrals now, and we always say thank you.

A super high level of business energy needs to be installed and a sense of urgency needs to be reinforced daily and the best way of doing this is short consistent wins contributing to an overarching plan - continuous relentless momentum. There is no such thing as “business as usual” there can’t be when you are an insurgent as you are creating it as you go. Take a step, analyse, put in place procedures and move on.  

There can be no ego, there is no such thing as being wedded to an idea, how can there be when you have yet to decide if that idea is going to work or not? Be super flexible at all times and every idea brought to the table is a good one.  You always go with what you think is right, if it’s not, don’t compound the problem by letting ego get in the way.

Proper research is essential – never get stuck into a thought process of delivering what you think the client wants, make sure you know what the client wants, it’s like a good carpenter would say “measure twice, cut once”. Up front research saves huge amounts of time in having to reverse back and start again. But if you have to – do it and don’t be afraid, but do it purposefully.

And be honest, it’s impossible to get it right all the time for everyone. If something is going to be ready in 6 months say that, people understand and relate when they are communicated to honestly. I have discovered if you take the client on a journey with you and clearly demonstrate that they are buying into a product and a business that has a future and will only get better they understand if a piece of functionality is yet to come.

So here we are – 7 months into a launch and new clients are coming on board every week and that makes us feel fantastic. When those days are long and the worry levels high to welcome a new client on board makes it all worthwhile. And for those who follow our twitter feeds will know we celebrate every client that joins us as the biggest success in the world, and it is!

Our technology sales are gaining momentum across the UK with opportunities now into Europe and America but there is no time to sit still. I find the old cliché of “Roller Coaster ride” can be overused but it really is like that as an insurgent disruptor, up down and up again. But as long as you are consistently moving forwards, that’s OK.

As I write this on a Friday we have had an amazing week, new sales, and every day has presented a new opportunity and a new challenge. We will have a relaxing weekend, and we will need to, as the insurgency starts again on Monday morning and it will be the fight of our lives