Disrupting Industries in 2021

Let's face it. Disruption is the name of the game; the zeitgeist for our times

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

When learning about new industry, it's of paramount importance to seek to understand the systems in place not just for their utility, but also for their weaknesses, gaps and limitations.

Thomas Herd

Today's entrepreneurs who identify such weak spots and build turnkey solutions for them are generally the most successful across industry.

Fortunately, some see a cross-section of the biggest disruptors, always seeking to understand the gaps they found in their markets, and how they reverse engineered solutions to plug them.

Disruption does not occur overnight, although it might appear to. It takes a lot of research and calculated measures streamlining towards an anticipated yet flexible goal while preparing a value chain that unbalances the current equation to reach a higher equilibrium.

Build rewards into your business model

Considering that your existing customers will spend 67 per cent more than your new customers, an effective customer loyalty programme goes a long way in defining the financials of a business, especially a startup. Some steps that can be taken include cultivating a community, personalizing the communications, channeling the social media, providing proactive customer service, establishing different payment plans and most importantly implementing a reward system.

Utah tech entrepreneur Travis Bott's disruptive solution to embed reward models into his startups led to growth of numerous ventures in American multi-level marketing (MLM) such as Beyond Global and Lurra Life. Bott noticed that a major handicap faced by most MLM brands was the fact they couldn't retain customers. Bott solved for that by making sure that various reward partners were introduced into his business models. Effectively, the customers were constantly incentivized to stay on the platform, hit their targets, and introduce others to the platforms.

Benefits of a reward system include cost efficiencies in marketing, gathering valuable customer data, customer retention, measuring loyalty through engagement, luring new audience, building personal relationships and increasing customer lifetime value.

Leveraging the latest technologies

Technology is improving by the second in today's world. Being the age of "Internet-of-Things', disruption cannot be possibly imagined without factoring in the latest tech improvements as well as the anticipated researches. The door of opportunity lies in innovative implementation of newly found techs such as 3D printing which is expected to disrupt the mass-production manufacturing and goods transportation and grow to become an approximately $35 billion industry by 2024.

Other technologies to look out for include artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity advances, edge computing, headless tech, extended reality, cloud-based services, industrial Internet-of-Things, robotics, etc. Not that every technology will change the course of business or social science per se, however some of them can really rework the value pools, disrupt the state of affairs and alter the daily lives and operations of employees and customers alike.

Merge industries that share common attributes

Many industries are naturally interlinked, yet have—due to traditional practices—remained isolated. However, by thoughtfully combining them when it made sense, business owners could attain new revenue streams and equity sources previously not available.

Such was the discernment of LA-based entrepreneur Shyon Keoppel. Keoppel's fund SK Ventures is one of the first hospitality businesses to acquire the real-estate it sits on (rather than just lease it) so that it can accrue appreciative value on the real-estate while monetizing it as well from a cash flow standpoint with the business housed in the space.

Merging industries may lead to many benefits including vertical or horizontal integration, acquisition of pre-targeted audience, access to meaningful industrial connections, achieving synergies from research and development, efficiency achieved through economies of scale, increased competitiveness, faster strategy implementation, etc.

Bring today's issues to the forefront on the most prominent channels

The social media possesses huge power today. From launching new products to completing changing brand message, it is one of the most prominent owned platforms for a company which allows real time feedback, interactive discussions, C2C communications, along with improving customer loyalty.

Los Angeles-based social advocate and former United Nations employee Yasmin Tavakoli has disrupted online news and discussion forums all through her dynamic Instagram platform, where she frequently hosts newsworthy guests typically resigned to major media outlets. Historic highlights of 2020 including the coronavirus pandemic, the Presidential election, racial tension and social injustices were major contributing factors to her rise.

Since her first Instagram live interview with a doctor and a friend discussing COVID-19 went viral, she now frequently holds these "Talks with Yasmin" where she converses with pertinent public figures, politicians, social justice activists, business owners and media pundits. "I'm very adamant about remaining diplomatic across all of these discussions," Tavakoli says. "I always bring both sides of any stance to the table and I like to provide a space where people feel comfortable to voice their own opinions without being judged or misrepresented."

Thus, leveraging social media to talk about the right things with the right audience at the right time open several opportunities. In a time where consuming authentic and factual news has been more crucial, and yet a challenge at the same time, entrepreneurs like Tavakoli have been adamant about sharing new and diverse perspectives with her audience directly through Instagram.

Combine the best of old & new worlds

Disrupting doesn't always mean throwing out everything that was old. In fact, there are many aspects of traditional business models that can still be maintained through modernization. The traditional methods provide a safe-space while modernization brings the benefit of technology and creativity.

A salient example of that can be found in the modern city development paradigms set by real-estate thought leader Jason Halpern of JMH Development. Halpern, in fact, has become a leader in the real-estate field by gracefully fusing the best of historic heritage with tasteful modern elements to build the new generations of cities such as New York and Miami with his projects such as 184 Kent in New York and Aloft in Miami.

Through proper research and development, best of both the worlds can be achieved. From branding to product development, innovative fusions lead to out-of-the-box thinking and providing breakthrough solutions to the clients. It keeps the risk factors in check while allowing creative freedom to take place.

Drive greater sustainability without compromise to performance

Every industry over the coming decades will need to reduce its carbon emission footprint while still delivering quality results that consumers want. Sustainability is indeed the new bar. The industries that have been quickest to open opportunities include fashion industry, F&B, transportation, health and biotech, etc.

Prolific entrepreneur Michael Ball, the former founder of Rock & Republic Jeans is now at the helm of one of today's most disruptive startups in activewear, Ultracor. Ultracor fuses state of the art digital printing technology to create next generation designs with saturated colors with pixellation and bonding to deliver a fashionable, high performance product. The big kicker here is the unprecedented production efficiency Ultracor offers with no compromise to performance for the end user.

From taking small steps like greener office supplies and recycling the electronic waste to making operational changes like editing the supply chain, organizations across various domains are moving towards sustainable practices. The need of the law, increasing customer demands, technological innovations and the general increase in awareness are a few of the driving forces for this slow yet steady paradigm shift towards sustainable practices.