The Next Big Thing: Building an Industry instead of a Single Product (or Service).

Sometimes we all fall into the trap of building a better mousetrap: a “thing” or a single “service” we hope people will beat a path to our door to discover. All too often, however, the result is that we spend lots of time, money and energy only to find the consumer really didn’t want our hot idea. This process although entrepreneurial, is a path to frustration and a pattern from which to break free.

An alternative route to growing a business is to build your idea upon a preexisting set of behavior events that the consumer is already engaged in, and innovate the experience in a way that is more satisfying.

Let me give you some examples:

Starbucks: Consumers already drank coffee when Starbucks came along. In fact, drinking coffee was part of our culture. What Starbucks did was step into the behavior of the consumer and altered the experience to be more satisfying. Instead of selling another coffee brand, they created an industry around the coffee and the experience. They not only sold coffee, they sold pastries and other items but more importantly, they sold the franchise that catapulted the company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.

The iPod: Nice gadget yes, but instead of selling another device, Apple sold a system: a new method of doing something consumers did already; finding, evaluating, selecting, listening, storing and of course playing music. Instead of just a single product, they created a sub-industry that encompassed all of the experiences of music interaction.

Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club™: Kennedy’s is our venture into building onto what the consumer is already doing — getting a haircut. A small group of us joined “the club” to change the experience of getting a haircut from a perfunctory one, to a positive experience we actually looked forward to. The consumer client is going through the process anyway, so why not change the process so that it is now something relaxing, enjoyable and, hopefully, habit forming? It is no longer just getting a haircut — it is a way of living.

What groups of existing behavior can you build upon to change the experience in such a way that it eliminates the issue of price and time?

Think about these everyday behaviors:
Grooming/brushing teeth
Paying bills
House chores
Medical attention
Buying a house
Grocery shopping

…and many, many more. If you can discover alternatives to all patterns of behavior (including sub-patterns), that save time, or create a more enjoyable experience for the consumer,, the experience will lead to a new business system that offers immense opportunity.

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